The Plywood Hoods were formed in late 1984. Starting off as ramp riders, they called themselves the Plywood Hoods due to being considered hoodlums on bikes & riding ramps. The many midnight runs made to construction sites to acquire ramp wood also added to the name. Mike Daily thought up the name.
Mike Daily: We were really into ramps back then and we wanted a name that kinda suited us. Back then it was really bad with cops and everything, we were like hoods. We'd be ridin' and the cops would be killing us. Like 'Get outta here'.
Before the Plywood Hoods, there was a breakdancing crew in York, PA called The Cardboard Lords. The Cardboard Lords were a group of friends who all rode BMX in the early 80's and right before "BMX freestyle" became popular this group of friends discovered a new fad known as breakdancing. Soon after, The Cardboard Lords were formed and for the next year and a 1/2, the crew spent everyday and night practicing and learning new moves. Their leader; Kevin Jones was amazing. He could do all the power floor moves but his headspins were untouchable at the time. The Cardboard Lords consisted of 7 members: Kevin Jones, Mark Wales, Dale Mitzel, Mark Eaton, Jamie Mckulik, Barry "Bee" Markel, and Jake Sires. By April 1985, the Cardboard Lords had won all the big local competitions including a York Cable show called "The Great York Talent Hunt" and the overall buzz of breakdancing had faded.
Around the same time, Kevin & Mark bumped into an old BMX friend named Mike Daily. Mike Daily had a freestyle team called "The Plywood Hoods" (inspired by the Cardboard Lords name) and a Zine called Aggro Rag. Mike had a freestyle bike with all the modifications like pegs, potts mod, rotor, etc. and was showing them some trick that could be done with these new mods. Kevin was really impressed and immediately ordered a lavender Hutch Trick Star. Two months later, The Cardboard Lords disbanded. Jake and "Bee" started skateboarding and Kevin, Mark W, Dale, Mark E, and Jamie got back into BMX and started freestylin. Soon after, The Plywood Hoods; Mike Daily, Brett Downs and Brian Peters adopted these ex-breakdancer / riders onto their team.
The Plywood Hoods were a tight knit group of friends who rode together and pushed each other every day to progress. Eventually specializing in flatland, they continued to also ride all aspects of freestyle which went against the norm of specialization. Freestylin magazine featured this practically unknown team in a cover story and interview. The Hoods spoke about how they had fun riding and were not supported by factory sponsors or even their parents. The attitude was that they did what they wanted without concern for what might hold them back. The Hoods became heroes of the underground freestyle scene. They were average kids with less-than average bikes. Any kid could relate to the team better than the superstars of the day.
Beyond their riding, The Pylwood Hoods also took the state of affairs in freestyle into their own hands. Mike Daily published a zine called Aggro Rag. While most homemade magazines were about eight pages of photocopies of friends riding, Aggro Rag was up to fifty pages with color featuring uncensored interviews and commentary on freestyle.
In early '87 word started going around about this group of flatlanders in York, PA. They were coming up with some rad new tricks. A few months later, the "Plywood Hoods" show up at a contest in Austin, TeXas and Kevin Jones, their best rider, completely blew the minds of everyone in the place. People were going mad yelling, screaming, and bowing to him after his run.
Inspired by early skate videos, the Hoods took it upon themselves to make the first homemade freestyle video, humbly entitled Dorkin in York, and distributed through the underground Zine network of the late 80's. Dorkin' was a video version of Aggro Rag -A mixture of different riders, styles & music that the Hoods wanted to promote. Each year a new video was released featuring state of the art riding and increasingly better production quality starting a million dollar-a-year industry. In 1990 the AFA was in its twilight, the Hoods held the first York Jam, named after their hometown in Pennsylvania. The jam was a non-competitive riding session that was the first non-industry national gathering of riders that would set the precedent for other jams and independent contests.
Throughout the 90's many riders from all over the world became residents of York, PA to be a part of an "unfiltered/unique" riding scene. One of these riders was Chase Gouin. Chase moved to York in 1990 to pursue his goal in becoming the best flatlander he could be. Riding with Kevin & the Hoods was his jedi-like training that propelled him to break new boundaries in flatland.
In June 1992 was the first York Jam/video premiere. Dorkin' 5 was the video and it was premiered in a movie theater next to the parking lot of (The Pit) which was the new York Jam location. Dorkin' 5, Hypnosis, Wheelies, & Dorkin' 10 all premiered at York Jams & in this theater.
To this day, there is still a riding scene in York but the list of riders has changed. Like in everything, evolution has changed the scene. Some riders have stayed in York, others have moved on, and new riders have appeared. One thing is for sure, York, PA will always be known as a BMX flatland mecca because of The Plywood Hoods.