This article was originally printed in our May 2018 issue of TransWorld Motocross.
Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg | The Journeyman
By Mike Emery
It's late Friday afternoon in sunny Southern California, and at a time that most nine-to-fivers are wrapping up their workweek, Jeremy "Twitch" Stenberg is pulling his Sprinter van up for our sunset photo shoot. As a veteran of the sport, what Twitch has been able to accomplish during his lengthy career has been nothing short of impressive. And he doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon! Focusing 100 percent on his riding in 2018 and beyond, Stenberg has found new energy through the new crop of free riders and continues to grow his social presence through his genuinely fun approach to it all. Take a seat and get some insight into ever-changing world of Twitch.
You've been at this for a long time, man. Do you ever reflect on the career you've been able to have?
For sure, and I feel like for a freestyle guy, I did it right. I have always tried to keep myself out there in the eye of just doing stuff. It's crazy because still to this day I have so much fun riding. Like I wake up and I'm like, "Hell yeah, I'm going to ride today." Even though I don't have to, I still just want to. Everyone is always like, "When are you going to stop riding?" And I'm like, "I don't know, when are you going to die?" [Laughs] Like, I don't know! When I don't have fun anymore that will be the day that I quit, but I'm still having a lot of fun.
Looking back at your career up to this point, what do you think a key factor is in success?
I've always treated people how I want to be treated, and I've always kept a pretty good relationship with everyone I deal with. So many people let this stuff get to their head, but at the end of the day I'm a normal person just like you, but I just so happen to ride a dirt bike really well and that's it. If you go burning bridges here and there, you never know--that dude may be your team manager next year. This industry is so small. I treat everyone how I want to be treated at the end of the day. I think that's the key thing in having longevity.
You've also become a family man. What's it like raising kids?
It's rad. I love having kids. I think if it wasn't for having kids, I probably would have ruined my career a long time ago because right when I had my first kid I started thinking, "Shit, it ain't about me. It's about being responsible and taking care of these kids and making sure they're set and that I'm there for them." I grew up in the era where everyone loved to party and do whatever they wanted and nobody cared. And I did that for the longest time, but when I became a dad I had to grow up, become an adult, raise a family, and be there for my kids. That's the stuff I look forward to, and I enjoy doing it. It's just a part of my daily routine now. I think it just humbles you and slows you down and makes you think about the bigger picture. Like, it's not about just me anymore. I have to take care of this now. I think I learned that at a young age because I had my first daughter when I was 19 years old. Thank God I did because who knows what the hell I would have been doing if I didn't have a kid [laughs].
One thing I like about you is that you are always talking shit to your friends. You just keep it fun, and it's entertaining.
I don't know. I’ve always been like that. I have always liked to get laughs out of people and have fun and talk shit; it's just something I've always done. Some people it takes them a little bit to get used to my humor, like, "Why is that guy talking shit to me?" But then people that know me are like, "Oh, the more shit he talks to you the more he likes you." That's just how my circle is. Everyone talks shit and no one gets their feelings hurt. I don't know, it's just something I've always done.
FMX is a pretty rad because everyone seems to get along well.
I think all the dudes in freestyle are pretty cool for the most part. And there are a couple dudes throughout your career that you don't like because you compete against them or whatever. But for the most part we all travel together and see each other all the time, so why not make the best out of it and just have fun? At the end of the day we're there to beat each other, but we can still be cool. I think that's something that Nate Adams and I realized early. Like, "Okay, me and you are like the number one and number two dudes right now competing against each other. We should ride together every day so we make our skills better, and then it separates us from everybody else. If we're the top dudes pushing ourselves every day, then when we go to a contest we know it's going to either be him or me that's going to win the contest. So Nate and I rode together for years, and I think that was a key thing in my career that we did that separated us, and we battled for wins every event we would go to.
If someone told you when you were little that you would travel to the North Shore of Hawaii with Weedmaps [LINK] to enjoy it with like-minded athletes, you probably wouldn't have believed it.
Yeah, there is no way I'd have ever thought that. Weedmaps does that every year for all their athletes and they're like, "Hey, let's go chill in Hawaii and maybe put on a demo, maybe do this, maybe do that. Let's just hang on the beach and have fun, and back this contest [Da Hui Backdoor Shootout] while we get some content." It was definitely one of the better trips for me for the one day I was there until I broke my collarbone on a scooter [laughs].
Shit happens quickly on 50cc scooters... [LINK]
Yeah, when you think you're a cool motorcycle rider and you jump on a scooter and get hurt. Professional motorcycle riders should not be allowed to ride mopeds on vacation in Hawaii.
One quick surgery later and you're already back. That trip was a good mix of a lifestyle-based trip that intermingles all of their different sports. It's a pretty unique perspective.
Yeah, it's fun and I think it's a smart thing to do honestly. More companies should take notes and get all of their athletes together to do trips and have fun. I think at the end of the day it just makes that brand way more solid.
You've stopped racing trucks and started doing more demos. Talk a little about that.
Yeah, I'm doing more demos now than I have done in the past six years because there was about three years there where I was just over it. I was having fun and I would ride during the wintertime, but then I would get bored in the summer, so I started racing trucks because that went from March to October and it gave me time to do other stuff while I kept my dirt bike stuff still fun. For me, racing trucks was fun, but the industry I come from is dirt bikes and you get paid to represent these companies. All the truck racing money when it comes in, you spend all that money and all of your money on top of that, too. I started thinking, "I'm not going to pay to represent these companies on my truck. They should be paying me to represent them." It was a hard thing for me to deal with because I thought I was going to make it work, and at the end of the day it didn't work. I kind of got screwed on a couple things where it could have worked out, but at the end of the day I have way more fun riding my dirt bike than anything. I took a step back from truck racing and decided to ride my bike and see what happens, and I started having the most fun I've had in years. It was almost like a blessing in disguise for me to quit racing trucks and go back to riding my dirt bike because I'm having so much fun.
What does the future hold?
We have some road trips planned for this year, which we are in the planning process now. I'm going to be dropping a bunch of edits for Monster Energy on their YouTube channel and stuff like that. I want to do some more episodes of Talking Shit With Twitch, too! I'm not trying to slow down anytime soon. I'm trying to keep having fun.
Talk about what it feels like to be called Grandpa by your boy Tyler Bereman.
[Laughs] He's a little prick! It doesn't bother me, because at the end of the day it just pushes me and motivates me more. That's what's cool about riding and hanging out with Bereman and Axell [Hodges]--I feel like they're kind of living in the era of what I envisioned free riding. I've always said, "Why can't a guy just be a free rider and get paid to do that?" And I feel like those two are following in the footsteps of what I paved the way to. So in a way it's cool to see that actually happening. They don't have to go ride contests and they don't have to go race, but they are still making money and having fun on their dirt bikes as they put out content through their social media. For me, I think that's cool to see, and I like riding with those guys because at the end of the day I can't let these dudes school me every time we go somewhere. I have to do something cool every time I ride, so they push me to ride and try harder. I am trying to keep myself motivated and young by hanging out with these guys.
And they will be there to support you with laughter anytime you bust your ass on a scooter...
Yeah, that's what true friends do [laughs]!
Follow Jeremy on Instagram: @twitchthis8