BARSTOW • You never know what you'll find in a backyard.

Most consist of a patch of grass and a patio. Some hold a swingset to keep the kids busy or a garden to keep the family fed. Others may even boast of a pond or a gazebo. But if someone held a contest to determine the most unique backyard in Barstow, Gordy Toth's would take the prize.

Walking into Toth's backyard at 28969 Morro Street is walking into a BMX biker's dream — a maze of trails, jumps and berms that winds in and out of pine trees down to the fence at the end of the lot.

Toth, who got his training wheels off of his bicycle at age 4 and has been riding BMX bikes since age 13, said he turned his backyard into a BMX obstacle course seven years ago with the help of his friends and a lot of shovels. His backyard has also attracted riders from as far away as Afghanistan and Australia.

"It's got every jump, berm, wall ride and combination that you could ever dream of," he said. "There's not one way, but 100 different ways to ride the course in my backyard."

Toth was born in Canada, spent most of his childhood in Big Bear and moved to Barstow when he was in high school. As a kid, his dad would build wooden ramps and jumps in the front yard. But when he began competing, Toth realized he needed a better place to practice.

Bryan Close, a fellow rider who knew Toth when he lived in Big Bear, helped him build his backyard. Riding competitively both in amateur competitions and professional competitions since 16 years old, Close said he watched Toth develop into a professional freestyle biker, being paid to compete.

"Once he got his jumps he rode every day, learning a lot of tricks," Close said. "His riding accelerated by leaps and bounds."

Close said he and Toth would travel throughout the Inland Empire and Southern California searching for new BMX courses and competitions. There was even a time when he lived with Toth for about six months.

"If I could say anything about Gordy it's not only is he a great rider and not only does he have an amazing backyard, he's got a great personality," he said. "He's just a ridiculous character. That's what draws people to Gordy."

Toth, who became a professional rider in 2002, now designs parts for bicycles and clothing. Being a professional BMX rider isn't a career, he said. One goal Toth says he has for the future is to organize a BMX competition for local riders — something that would draw major BMX clothing and bicycle companies that could give away their products as prizes.

Despite the competition aspect of BMX, Toth says he makes friends where ever he goes.

"There's no rivalry — everybody gives each other hugs," he said. "If I go to a different town there's an instant connection. It's something you share with people from all over the world."

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4123 or jcejnar@desertdispatch.com