Has his own brand of bikes and sponsors
Broc Raiford’s mother envisioned the traditional life for her son, but at age two when he started riding a two-wheel bicycle she began to think this wasn’t going that way.
At age 24, the Destrehan native is a world-renowned BMX competitor and businessman.
“Broc is a gentle giant,” said his mother Erin Granier Incardona of Luling. “He’s a humble man who loves what he does and I’m so grateful that he is able to make his passion his profession. He gets to travel the world, gets to meet people from all over and continues to be grateful for the opportunities he has.”
Her son is considered a BMX rock star and there’s no better person to explain it than a proud mother.
Raiford is internationally known with the extreme sport. He has more than 118,000 followers on Instagram, which his mother is quick to clarify includes her and Nanna. At age 14, he was approached by a major bike company that offered to sponsor him if he went pro, but his parents didn’t allow it until he was 16 years old. By age 18, he moved to Long Beach, Calif., where BMX is big.
‘Things have been going great,” Raiford said.
Although he is recovering from knee surgery, he’s gotten to spend time with his family, will likely take another three to four months to recover, and has a solid plans for finishing the year strong. His father, Ryan, also moved to California recently and is helping him there, too.
“It’s tough, but I’m remaining positive,” Raiford said of using the time to work on his other passions, including drawing and painting, as well as working on his friendships. “It’s a blessing in disguise really because I’ve been having so much fun and it’s a good change of pace for me, and I think it will help me get on my bike stronger and faster.”
Raiford anticipates going to the X Games, an extreme sports event, this year in Sydney, Australia, if he gets the invite.
Prior to the injury, he competed in Estonia Simple Session, an annual event for international professionals, and placed third in the competition.
Over the years, he’s collected sponsors that pay him to represent their brand. He has had a line of bicycles, as well as signature products since he was 20 years old.
“It’s really been a learning process for me,” he said. “As a young kid, falling in love with this sport, it’s been really a huge learning process. When I was younger, all I did was ride and I was focused on riding and on contests. But now, when you bring money into the equation as paying sponsorships, you have to be super responsible, not only as a rider doing your best, but also off the bike and holding yourself to your actions.”
Raiford has done this, as well as taken seriously that he serves as a role model for younger riders.
But, despite the pressures, he is having the time of his life.
These are lessons, he said, you don’t learn in college, and then there are experiences his mother recalled about how this all became possible.
Incardona said it was hard saying goodbye to her baby as he left for California, but it was the best direction for Raiford to pursue his dream.
Both parents had willingly made sacrifices over the years to keep him in opportunities where he could pursue his dream. They’d been traveling with him to BMX races since he was five years old, and even bought him a skate park in Harvey for his early years so he could have a place to practice in an area with little resources for nontraditional sports.
“We needed to do that for him,” she said. “We saw his passion and determination, and knew we had to get in all the right spots to progress, and look at what it did for him today.”
Raiford started in BMX Park, which is riding ramps and flipping with big air tricks. He later transitioned into Street BMX, which is more technical with “grinding rails” and flip-and-stand-still moves.
But he also knows his body can’t withstand the rigors of BMX Street riding forever. He’s going to ride as long as he can and then try to apply his love painting and drawing to make BMX logos and stickers for his sponsor companies.
“It’s still so surreal to wake up every day and experience life as it is,” Raiford said. “I never go a day without being thankful to be a professional bike rider, as well as the memories I’ve created. I owe it all to my love for BMX.”