I first found Pump It Up in my freshmen year of high school - sometime between 2003 and 2004. I would go to Kahunaville at the Galleria Mall most weekends with my friend Ben, and then later with my other friend Jeremy to play as much as possible. It was a couple months later where I discovered DDR as well, and both of those dance games have just worked their way into the person I am today. That might be a little extreme, but even when I'd go a year or two without playing I'd always come back and play them even harder than I did before.
Around 2013 I discovered the Dave & Busters by my house had a Pump It Up machine and it had a lot of Kpop songs on it - that pulled me back in for a while. I've always thought it would be cool to own my own machine, but to find one used was proving to be very difficult, and buying new I was looking at upwards of $9,000... a lot more than I was looking to spend.
Towards the end of 2016 I pulled the trigger on some pads I had been eyeing up for a while - I bought 2x Precision Omega 5x Pads. I had setup a computer with a hacked up version of StepMania on it (skinned like PIU Prime) and it all worked. It wasn't the best setup - I was lacking a bar for support, and the software would sometimes crash or the songs were horribly out of sync with each other.
I got back into the game heavily a couple months ago in January thanks to the wonderful PIU Upstate Squad :D. After pushing myself hard on the machine and really increasing my skills, I decided it was time to create the machine properly. This meant getting the software working 100% (spoiler: I'm using StepF2 - It works great!) as well as an actual platform for the pads with real metal support bars to use.