Balancing life and fame

Marshall Gehrke is a famous BMX rider who attends ACHS as a freshman. Balancing school and sports can be extra difficult with the added pressures of internet fame.

Marshall Gehrke is a 14-year-old freshman BMX rider and basketball player. Gehrke has competed at the national level since he was 10 but competed at larger competitions before that.

With 10.1 thousand followers on Instagram, Gehrke gained internet popularity by posting clips of him riding along with numerous pictures of him with his bike. He keeps up with his social media presence by regularly filming and posting content.

“I just ride my bike a lot. Whoever’s at the skate park, they can help me film,” Gehrke said. “Since I’m riding so much it’s not like I’m aching to get clips.”

On top of his social media presence, he also has a sponsorship to keep up with. Vans started sponsoring Gehrke in late December of 2020.

“There are no certain things I have to do to keep up with the sponsorship, as long as I’m riding and I’m on social media a lot and kind of just keep up my presence,” said Gehrke.

There is also a heavy amount of pressure when on a TV show. Gehrke sacrificed his summer and some of the school year to film on the show “All -Round Champion”.

“It was an absolutely amazing experience. I met so many cool people and I learned so many new things,” Gehrke said. “[I made] a lot of memories that I will cherish forever.”

Gehrke also plays basketball. Gehrke’s coach used to race Motocross at a national level. His coach’s connections to Motocross gave Gehrke an advantage in BMX as well as basketball.

“He understands the kind of time it takes and what it takes to be at the level that I’m at. And he understands that sometimes I have to go,” said Gehrke. “He’s a very understanding coach and I’m happy to have him.”

The amount of commitments Gehrke is responsible for affects his home life, relationships and schedule. When he started competing on a more national level, he began missing more school; however, Gehrke’s teachers were very understanding and made sure he got his work ahead of time.

Gehrke avoids being the center of attention with his peers.

“For everybody besides my parents I try to keep [the fame] out of it,” said Gehrke. “I try to keep an eye out because I feel like I just want to be a normal kid. I don’t want to have this tag on me the entire time. I’m still human.”

His schedule is jam-packed. School goes from 7:20 to 3:15; After that, he usually goes to the skate park and then to basketball practice. He gets his homework done during school so he has time after to go to the skate park, basketball practice and spend time with family and friends.

Even though he races less now, none of this would have been able to happen without his amazing support system and strong work ethic.