Today we celebrate the birthday of Jose Junior Polanco.
How quickly the years pass by yet it still feels like yesterday my brother and I were riding in the streets of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The year was 1988 and Danny Valentin was eager to introduce me to one of the best riders on the island. Danny kept spreading the word that Junior Polanco was by far the best rider on the island and that nobody could match his skills.
That year a contest was held at the “Cristo” spot and sure enough Junior Polanco alongside with Luis Lamarche and Robert Victoria crushed it on Flatland. Their smooth riding styles reflected many learned lessons from 101 Freestyle Tricks video which they studied daily. Inspired by Martin Aparijo, Dennis McCoy and all the big name riders featured in that video, Junior Polanco demonstrated that he too could ride like the American Pro’s. However what defined Junior Polanco was not his ability to learn the tricks shown on the videos but to build from it into a style of its own.
After winning that contest and several other local competitions he went off to take on a bigger challenge, to be the King of New York. Competing against riders like Adam Guild, Jim Dellavalle, Mike Wilson, Rodney Morweiser and John Silvestri to name a few was no joke. The Mullaly Skate park crew U.N.D. (Underground Never Dies) led by Luis Perez and Robert Ramos took a liking to Junior Polanco and indoctrinated Junior Polanco into the crew. Jim Dellavalle even drove in the rain with music blasting to JFK Airport in New York City to pick up the newest member of the family. Junior Polanco spent the majority of that first arrival at The Limelight nightclub as he waited for the U.N.D. busrats to finish their shift at 5am so that he could chill with the boys. 1994 was a fun year, and Junior Polanco lives to tell the tale much better than this short blog. A trip to Norway somehow ensued…good times!
Well Junior took the title of The King Of New York on Flatland that year and the next! He competed against local, national and international riders alike, ultimately earning the respect of the famed Chase Gouin of the Plywood Hoods. Folks I am jumping around in some timeline here but let me just say this…Junior Polanco is by far the most talented rider that I have ever had the honor of riding with! Today he turned 40 something…never really keep track of age…and to celebrate his birthday I have decided to share this moment onto the Flow Zine pages so that it could be shared by all the Flow Zine supporters.
Junior Polanco is not only an amazing rider, but he is often referred to as the KRS One of Dominican Hip Hop. His stage name “Mercenario” translates to mercenary because his technique is ruthlessly killer. Junior started MC’ing in the early 90’s with a group called Campamento then later joined forces with other Dominican rappers in “La Coalicion” (the coalition). They have produced countless tracks that many Dominican’s embraced, in a country where Salsa and Merengue music prevail. Junior Polanco raised the bar on diversity and undying passion for music and riding.
So as today we should celebrate this fellow rider for his 30+ years of passion to BMX Flatland, Vert, Dirt, Street, Park…
he is the embodiment of a “True Rider“,
living legend which we should all know and appreciate. Much of Junior Polanco charm stemmed from Don Octavio (may his soul rest in peace), and his elegant mother Dona Rhadys. Today is your day my brother Jose Junior Polanco Abreu! You have inspired many and have always been a true friend, a great motivator, a philosopher with interesting views and the best rider that I have ever known!
Happy Born Day Junior!
Fred (since 89 – sucka!)