You may have heard of Kip Williamson before.To his credit are a number of BMX videos, a lot of time behind the microphone announcing contests like the UGP Roots Jams and Van Triple Crowns, and he’s also spent some time in front of the camera for the folks over at 54321.

Kip and I are both into toys, so a while back I shot some photos of his impressive collection. Instead of talking about nothing but BMX I thought it would be cool to ask him a few questions about his toy addiction, as well as what he’s doing industry-wise these days. Here’s 10 Questions with Kip…

Kip and his toy room. This photo is months old, and he tells me there’s a lot more in there now.  credit: Keith Mulligan

1. How long have you been collecting toys?
I started collecting toys about seven years ago when I first moved to Orlando to work for UGP. Kenner Toys had just started releasing some of the original Star Wars characters to get fans pumped on the Trilogy, which was re-released into theaters a few years back. Lucas wanted to get people refreshed about the story before Episode 1 came out. Boba Fett and Yoda were two of the first ones I got and for some reason, I decided to keep them in the package. Probably because I had always heard how much the old figures were worth if they were in mint condition in an unopened package. I guess I didn’t want to make the same mistake again. I never bought the figures with the idea that I would start a collection, but somewhere along the way it went from being a hobby to becoming a lifestyle.

2. Tell me about your collection. I know you mostly collect Star Wars and Spawn stuff; what else are you into? What does your whole toy collection consist of?
My toy collection branched out after I started hanging out with this guy Harry Delprete, who lived with Dave Mavro and Chad Degroot at some point. He was into Star Wars, too, but he really liked the Spawn toys and always talked about how cool and gnarly they were. I ended up getting a couple of those, and the next thing I knew, I had 50 or more Spawn figures in my house. Once I started collecting Spawn, I started to appreciate the skill of toy making which included the size of the toy, how articulate they were, and how good the likeness was compared to the real person or character. Now I collect anything that looks cool to me. I’ve gotten into old school metal robots, Kubricks, The Muppets, Hellboy, Japanese style Anime toys, Matrix action figures, and a variety of other robots and science fiction items.

If you look close, you may spot an Ewok in those background trees.  credit: Keith Mulligan

3. How much money would you estimate you spend every month on toys? Where do you buy/find your stuff?
My toy buying has fluctuated over the years. When I have more money, which usually comes from having a job, I tend to buy whatever I like. Last year (2002) I probably spent an average of $250-$300 per month. This year I’ve probably spent around $500-$600 per month. About a year ago I made my first purchase on eBay, which was an inexpensive way to get better items. I guess I got hooked on it because I’ve made over 100 purchases now on eBay in the past year. It seems ridiculous when I think about it, but I enjoy the artwork behind the actual toy, and how it goes from being on paper to something you can physically touch. I guess it isn’t any more ridiculous than spinning circles in the parking lot on my bike for the past 17 years!

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for…  credit: Keith Mulligan

4. What is your most prized piece in your collection?
My favorite piece in my collection is a handmade life-size Yoda that my Mom made for me a few years ago. She made the entire thing from scratch including the clothes. She is why I collect stuff in the first place. Our house was always full of my mom’s hobbies. My next favorite piece is the UGP toy that Chip Riggs and I made as Ronnie Bonner’s Christmas present. We spent a lot of time to make that piece and it was probably the most rewarding thing I’ve done involving toys. I also just purchased a one-of-a-kind, fan-made, two-and-a-half-foot-long Sandcrawler complete with working lights. I paid $400 for it, but I couldn’t pass it up! Down the road I would like to make some toys based on my icon for ThaRobotFactory.com, but that’s a few years away.

5. What was co-hosting 54321 like?
Being a co-host on 54321 was one of the best and worst experiences I’ve ever been involved with wrapped into one. Just learning how things work on a daily show, and to be picked to host the show from all of these talented people was flattering. Once the excitement wore off a bit, there was still a show to do and and the show and I were always being critiqued by so many people. Communication problems seemed to be an ongoing thing with the show, which was pretty tough to deal with. I took my job very seriously and stayed in the house most of the time to rehearse my lines. Different producers would come up with the stuff, and I would print it out and completely re-write my lines so I didn’t sound like a complete jackass! I had to be up at 6AM quite a bit which is different from my normal 12 noon wake up call. I never got into the style of the show, and it’s hard to perform when you don’t agree creatively with something that has your face all over it. I promise you, I had no say on 99% of the content. That is someone else’s job! I did meet a ton of really cool people working on the show, and overall it was an experience that I’m glad I went through. It was also cool to be able to help flatland get some TV time after being shafted for so long by ESPN. I’m still helping out with the BMX stuff for the time being, so you will continue to see some cool stuff on there for BMX.

6. Will you be leaving the show?
I’m not sure how much longer I will be on the show right now. Sometimes how I feel about the show changes weekly. I miss Orlando a ton, and I dream about sleeping in my own bed. Everything I want in my life is there. I live in Hollywood and it’s just a tough place to live, but my roommate, Shana, has helped me out a ton with adjusting to a new city. I was just offered a contract extension, which keeps me on the show until the end of October. I really want to work out something where I could stay in Orlando, and fly out to cover events for the show. Events really come to a screeching halt once the summer is over, though. I guess I will have to wait and see what will happen.

Not your typical closet.  credit: Keith Mulligan

7. You just took over as the Osiris team manager. What does that involve and what else are you doing industry-wise these days?
Right now I’m just focusing on getting photos for ads, getting our riders the stuff they need, and working on the Web site which was neglected for quite some time. I’m really stoked on our team and the attitude of each one of the guys. I’m trying to get some feedback from the riders on what they want to see happen. I want to help the Osiris name get more recognition in the BMX industry, which takes a lot more than just sponsoring riders. As for other stuff I’m doing right now, I’m emceeing some demos for the ASA, which keeps me busy on most of the weekends in the summer. I’m also emceeing all of the bike events for the Gravity Games this year, which will be my fifth year. I also announced the sixth annual Roots contest this year and helped make the flatland contest a reality as well.

More of the collection…  credit: Keith Mulligan

8. What’s up with the new Web site you’re doing?
The Web site I’m doing is called ThaRobotFactory.com and it’s basically BMX, skateboarding, music and video reviews, video clips, toy reviews, giveaways, interviews, and photos. I will also be selling various products on the site from different rider owned companies. My buddy Zon is creating the site and he also did the UGP site. Every time I talk with him he is so amped on my ideas and turning them into a reality. He loves designing Web sites as much as I love BMX. Having my own site is something that has been a goal of mine for quite some time. It’s not going to be about where I will be, or what I will be doing. I like to be behind the camera more if you can believe that or not. I just want to highlight a certain style that is quite different from anything else that’s out there. I just like to create things, I guess.

Kip’s scenic spot by the lake. Who put those flashes there?  credit: Keith Mulligan

9. Any new video projects in the works?
Right now I’m working on my own pilot TV show called Urban P.O.V. which is a weekly 30 minute show containing good music and solid content. I want to do a show that is a more artistic and realistic show about BMX and skateboarding. I don’t plan on being a host on the show, even though it could happen a little, but that isn’t my vision for this project. If the show gets picked up by a network, I will be getting some help from Dave Mavro, Will Stroud, Bobby Carter, and Eric Abbadessa. I’m also working on some Osiris commercials for the Web site. I’m always doing something with video. Sometimes I just sit down at the computer and make something for fun. It’s all for fun!

10. Describe where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing in five years. How will you be a different person?
In five years I’ll be 34, so I’ll definitely be riding. I hope to have my Web site kicking ass and full of content. If TV programming continues to involve action sports, I think I will have some kind of show up and running. I usually don’t stop doing what I love, I just add to what I enjoy. I started doing tricks on my bike when I was 12, and I haven’t stopped doing that, or have any intention to. The older I get, the more I want to accomplish in my life. I really look at Ronnie Bonner as an inspiration. He doesn’t think in terms of what can and can’t be done, but rather, “How do I get that done?” If you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make it happen. Now go ride!

Kip’s favorite piecd the attitude of each one of the guys. I’m trying to get some feedback from the riders on what they want to see happen. I want to help the Osiris name get more recognition in the BMX industry, which takes a lot more than just sponsoring riders. As for other stuff I’m doing right now, I’m emceeing some demos for the ASA, which keeps me busy on most of the weekends in the summer. I’m also emceeing all of the bike events for the Gravity Games this year, which will be my fifth year. I also announced the sixth annual Roots contest this year and helped make the flatland contest a reality as well.

More of the collection…  credit: Keith Mulligan

8. What’s up with the new Web site you’re doing?
The Web site I’m doing is called ThaRobotFactory.com and it’s basically BMX, skateboarding, music and video reviews, video clips, toy reviews, giveaways, interviews, and photos. I will also be selling various products on the site from different rider owned companies. My buddy Zon is creating the site and he also did the UGP site. Every time I talk with him he is so amped on my ideas and turning them into a reality. He loves designing Web sites as much as I love BMX. Having my own site is something that has been a goal of mine for quite some time. It’s not going to be about where I will be, or what I will be doing. I like to be behind the camera more if you can believe that or not. I just want to highlight a certain style that is quite different from anything else that’s out there. I just like to create things, I guess.

Kip’s scenic spot by the lake. Who put those flashes there?  credit: Keith Mulligan

9. Any new video projects in the works?
Right now I’m working on my own pilot TV show called Urban P.O.V. which is a weekly 30 minute show containing good music and solid content. I want to do a show that is a more artistic and realistic show about BMX and skateboarding. I don’t plan on being a host on the show, even though it could happen a little, but that isn’t my vision for this project. If the show gets picked up by a network, I will be getting some help from Dave Mavro, Will Stroud, Bobby Carter, and Eric Abbadessa. I’m also working on some Osiris commercials for the Web site. I’m always doing something with video. Sometimes I just sit down at the computer and make something for fun. It’s all for fun!

10. Describe where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing in five years. How will you be a different person?
In five years I’ll be 34, so I’ll definitely be riding. I hope to have my Web site kicking ass and full of content. If TV programming continues to involve action sports, I think I will have some kind of show up and running. I usually don’t stop doing what I love, I just add to what I enjoy. I started doing tricks on my bike when I was 12, and I haven’t stopped doing that, or have any intention to. The older I get, the more I want to accomplish in my life. I really look at Ronnie Bonner as an inspiration. He doesn’t think in terms of what can and can’t be done, but rather, “How do I get that done?” If you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make it happen. Now go ride!

Kip’s favorite piece: a homemade Yoda courtesy of his Mom.  credit: Keith Mulligan

piece: a homemade Yoda courtesy of his Mom.  credit: Keith Mulligan