It’s rare that I can ever really remember my first time meeting someone but for some reason I can clearly remember meeting Seth Stellfox. I met Seth during week 4 at woodward camp in 1996. I was 13 years old and it was the first year Woodward had introduced the foam and resi pits. We were in Lot 8 and I spotted the H cut into the back of his homeless porn-star frame. I must have thought it was cool because I immediately went up to him and asked about it. I don’t remember the exact details of our conversation, but I’m certain this was our first encounter.
Through the years after Woodward I would see Seth most often at Ivyland skatepark, Vert planet or various east coast trail spots. He used to shred Ivyland, his local skatepark. I clearly remember him airing out of the back quarter nearly into the rafters - throwing barspins the wrong way. I remember thinking to myself, “Damn that kid got so good since woodward!” He was a year older and had a drivers license before me. Despite that he lived in northeast Philly and I lived in the suburbs on the other side of the city, he would sometimes pick me up to go ride Posh or Nam out in Bethlehem. If you know the area then you know it was totally out of the way for him. We used to blast bands like Blood for Blood, Madball, and Sheer Terror while he sped the whole way. I think that maybe the reason he tolerated picking me up so far out of the way was because we both liked hardcore music so much, I’m not really sure.
I remember he used to say a lot of crazy shit, it makes sense given the bands we were driving around listening to. One time he was driving on I95 going around 85mph in a 55mph zone. I asked him if he ever worried about getting a speeding ticket and I’ll never forget his reply. He told me it was okay if he got pulled over because he would just wait for the cop to approach the car and then reach under the seat in front of him and pull his hand out rapidly (pretending he has a gun) so that the cop would just shoot him. He told me this so seriously and bold faced that I believed it. Funny enough, on the same trip, we ended up getting pulled over and I clearly remember thinking as the cop approached, please don’t do it! Thats just how Seth was, he liked to talk crazy shit and he came across as kind of a hard ass. But in reality he was a genuinly nice guy who would bend over backwards for you if you were his friend.
Another thing I remember about young Seth was that he seemed to talk a lot about having bad luck and he had all the stories that could back up his claims. He loved to talk about it. One time he was really excited because he had just bought a Dodge Stealth (I think it was a stealth, I debated with a couple people over what type of dodge, but it was definitely something along those lines) So he buys this new sports car and he’s obviously excited about it because it looks cool and its a total one up from anything he had previously owned. He had the car less than a week before someone crashed into him and totaled it. I think it also ended up being an insurance nightmare. After knowing him long enough I agreed that he did have some pretty bad luck.
Somewhere along the way he kind of faded out of the BMX scene, I think maybe he just felt like he had to grow up. So he left the BMX behind and joined the Philadelphia police force. In the early years of Seth becoming a cop I never really saw or spoke to him. Not to say we weren’t friends anymore but we were obviously just going in different directions. But from time to time I would hear about how he voluntarily choose to work in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city of Philadelphia. He worked in the same district for 11 years. I probably lost contact with him for about 6 of those years.
We started talking again thanks to Facebook. He found out I was still making BMX videos and he posted something on my wall about me giving people nicknames in videos. He didn’t seem to like the fact that he was in a couple of different videos as “Angry Seth” So I had to explain to him that I didn’t actually coin the phrase, but I did use it as a title in my video. Then he took the nickname Angry Seth and applied it to all of his social media. Maybe he thought people would recognize him from videos easier this way, or he did just actually like the nickname - I’ll never know.
During those Facebook days it was obvious he was back into BMX. Without a doubt I believe all those years of police work in a rough neighborhood were taking its toll on him and that BMX was really becoming an outlet for him again. I never got the full details from him about much of his police activity because frankly, I didn’t want to know. I also don’t think I was the guy he wanted to talk to about that kinda shit. But I’m fairly sure he had been recognized by the Philadelphia Police Department on multiple occasions for defending his own life and the lives of others. A hero to some of his fellow officers.
Ironically enough, Seth worked the same part of town where we got robbed filming for Criminal Mischief back in 2000. One day he sent me a text and it was a picture of the spot we were riding the very same day we got robbed. I actually swore I would never go back to that spot, and when I got the text it read “Yo, you ever seen this? I drive by it every day, looks fun” The spot he was talking about is in multiple videos now, but prior to this point the only documentation (that I know of) was on the camera that got stolen that day. I’m sure people had found and ridden the spot, but as far as filming goes - nothing.
Sometime after the text exchange about this spot, I had the Cult Crew in town filming for Talk is Cheap. Seth made it very clear to me that he was a fan of Cult and I knew those guys would love that particular spot. I explained to the crew that we were going to meet up with a cop that I knew who was gonna show us some spots (imagine that). I have very fond memories of that day. Seth was the kind of guy who would have scolded me for riding in that area with an out of town crew and that much video equipment. The fact is that he knew these areas well, and he knew what we could have potentially delt with and he cared for our safety. In trade he got to hang out with some bad ass pro riders on an otherwise normal day at work. That first day he got a call and had to leave us at the spot. So he actually called some other officers who were patrolling the area to come and check on us.
Another time, months later, I got a text message from him. It was a picture of a spot with a crew riding there. “Yo, there’s a bunch of guys riding the banks and they are filming and shooting photos, you know them?” I immediately recognized people in the photo “Oh yeah, thats The Shadow team!” His response “I’m gonna just stick around and watch, make sure nothing happens.”
In August, 2014 Seth took a motorcycle trip around the US, starting in Philadelphia, going down through Texas, back up through New Mexico and into the Dakotas. It was a dream trip for him. On his ride back into Philadelphia he ran into some rough weather and made an Instagram post updating that he was stuck on the PA turnpike, he said that he was not feeling well due to running out of medicine for his condition but had continued on. No more than an hour from his home in Philadelphia, Seth lost control and hit a guardrail. He was wearing a helmet but was pronounced dead at the scene. It’s been a year since Seth has been gone and its taken me that much time to finish writing this. I really miss Seth and I wish we had gotten to hang out more and talk about his trip.
I believe that Seth was probably the happiest he had been in his life on that motorcycle trip.
The last time I spoke to Seth was via text message while I was back at woodward camp . He was making his way through Colorado on his motorcycle trip. Ride UK had released the cover of the article from a Mutiny trip to Philadelphia. Seth sent me a photo of the cover, excited about the release of the magazine. He had a couple photos in the issue that he never got to see.
“It’s not tragic to die doing what you love.”
Rest in Peace.
May 27, 1981 - August 12, 2014.