Skatepark

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Nothing like a new term in BMX – and it is a trick that is completely over the top. Here’s a photo, courtesy of @odysseyBMX of Jim Bauer and Rooftop attempting a 1-handed backflip on a sidehack into the foam pit. They were at Woodward West for the Old School BMX Reunion. Should be a ton of coverage on this event soon, and we’ll keep you posted here at the ‘Roots.

Ah, video as well, from ShredorDie.com check it out.

Knight Performer 24? Prototype Frame
Raw and fresh out of the jig. Photo: George Yang

The 24″ Retro Squareback Knight released last year was very well received by those looking for a cruiser with vintage styling. Modeled after the Redline squarebacks of yore, it was a fairly traditional cruiser frame, with some really nice detailing.

I think that the new 24″ jam from Knight will up the retro BMX game – other manufacturers should take note. In fact, it is only retro in styling, as it features all of the modern features of today’s BMX bikes – integrated headset, mid-bottom bracket and 990 brake mounts. However, look closer at the photos of the prototype – a coaster brake tab and a standing platform. Yeah, I said it – a standing platform, just like the GTs of yore – on a 24″ cruiser. Knight is calling it the Knight “Performer”, but I don’t know if they’ll stick with that name. They say it is a tribute to one of the most recognizable early freestyle frames, the GT Performer/World Tour, and Eddie Fiola – who helped make GT so prolific early in the freestyle game. Be sure to hit the link on Eddie’s name – there’s a great story on lifelounge.com, with some of Eddie’s personal photos.

If you want one, get a hold of Knight quickly. They’re going to be made in limited numbers, and available very soon. Damn, just like yesterday’s post – did I find yet ANOTHER bike/frame to obsess over? Check more photos over on the Knight blog.

BMX at the Kansas Action Sports Contest

Double foot-jam tailwhip at the Kansas Action Sports Contest – rider’s name coming. Photo: Jeremy Schutte

Alright, I’ll get the obvious out of the way first – August in Kansas is HOT. Not quite Texas hot, but we can get damn close. Heat and humidity combine to make some sweaty, exhausting times. So, first, props to the 12-15 riders who rode through the heat yesterday in the state capital of Topeka, for the bmx portion of the Kansas Action Sports contest – which also had skateboarding on Saturday and Inline skating on Sunday as well. It was pushing 100 degrees yesterday at the end of the contest, with 90+ % humidity. Ugh.

Ty from Topeka organized and announced the bmx contest, held at the Rip On Skatepark at Shunga Glen Park. Rip On is a small park with some big features – definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area. Seeing that I had my almost-4 and 6-year-old boys with me, I didn’t get to meet many of the riders, but I gotta say that, as always, the midwest guys easily throw-down with any rider out there. A nice mix of new and old tricks, with footjams, whips, big boosts, grinds and wall-rides all represented.

Rumor has it that they are considering moving the contest to earlier in the summer, and I gotta say that this, along with wider promotion of the entire contest, across all disciplines, would boost the contestant and spectator turn-out. Again, especially with BMX, we gotta evangelize it, and I was glad to see the amateur group available to the younger/less-experienced riders.

The contest was sponsored by Capps Bike Shop, Midwest Skateboarding, Topeka Parks & Rec, the City of Topeka and Pepsi of Topeka. Nearly every rider walked away with something in-hand from the sponsors – always a nice touch.

I’m planning on shooting some photos with some of the riders, in the upcoming months, so look for those here, soon.

City Battle 2 Flyer

I just found out about a skatepark jam/contest coming up this Saturday, July 12 in Topeka, KS. Teams of riders from different cities will compete against each other in a sort of advanced game of B.I.K.E. This is all going down starting at 10AM, at the Rip-On public skatepark.

From MySpace user TY! (sorry, I don’t have his real name – will update when I do), who is organizing City Battle 2:
“The first city battle was a game of bike. We had 6 cities/teams and about 23 riders…City Battle 2 will be more riding and less sitting around, more of a jam style. Lets say I turndown the 8′, Team Topeka gets 1 point but if Trent from Manhattan pulls one on the same obstacle the point is taken away. So basically its going to come down to which team has the biggest range of tricks and creativity.”

The Rip-On Skatepark is located at 23rd and Washburn in Topeka, near the Washburn University campus, by the soccer fields. Get a hold of TY! via his MySpace page for more info. Definitely check it out if you’re near the area.

Endless lines at Camp Woodward.
Endless lines at Woodward. Photo from the Camp Woodward site.

The Penn State Daily Collegian has a recent article about the BMX pros who call the area around State College, PA home, so they have full-time access to the Woodward sports camp. The article features interviews with Jamie Bestwick and Chad Kagy and gives some good history on the camp, with insights from Woodward main man, Gary Ream.

Interesting to read all of their thoughts on the popularity of BMX, and how Woodward helps this progression.

Check out the full article: here

They also have a couple of slide shows with audio: here

DVD Cover of Standard Video - Stronger Than AllMayhem and Metal from SBC. Photo by Jeremy Schutte.

As planned, I got the Standard Stronger Than All video in the mail this week from Goodtimes, and I’ve watched it three times since. That’s three times through both DVDs. See, the first one is all about the Standard Army, section after section of their riders, both US and European, tearing it up both on their bikes and off. The footage is cut with archival military footage and some home-grown destruction. The second DVD has separate riding sections from 13 of the guys in the videos. Street, parks and mini-ramps are well-represented here, with a small bit of trail action.

The footage spans a number of years, and you see it in the various styles of riding throughout. Front brake tricks, no brakes, boosts, foot-jams, lip-tricks, rail grinds, giant gaps, flairs, ledge grinds, whips, manuals; they all come fast and with abandon. Guys like John Rodgers, Drew York and Bommel throw down the latest tricks, with massive lines and flow. Vets like Rob Ridge, Jaimy Spreitzer and Rick Moliterno show just how they’ve been getting it done for years. None of the riders featured here currently have podium spots on the X-Dew-Action Tours, nor are they necessarily the riders blogged about or with multi-page magazine interviews. They rip anyway, period. And, there are a number who will be the riders generating the chat on a message board near you, soon.

In these times of HD and exquisitely shot bmx videos, with the bar being raised everyday, there is a certain beauty in the rawness that Standard has delivered with Stronger Than All. Some of the night riding is lit with flares, a couple of the edits appear to be self-shot, and the DVD menu, or lack therof, makes me crazy. Yet what matters to me is that STA makes me want to put on my headphones, crank the Dead Kennedys, and ride like hell. This video is purely about riding and pushing what can be done on a 20-inch bmx. Make notes when watching it – this video will remind you of how much fun you should be having on your bike.

Get it for $19.95 plus shipping from Goodtimes, now, though I’m sure it will be available other places soon. Check out the following promo videos that Standard put out in 2006-07 teasing the release of STA.




Local Exposure Tour Arizona
Local Exposure Tour 4. In Arizona, 2007. Photo by Ryan Fudger.

Hot on the heels of Alan Cooke’s RV Check over on Vital, there’s news from Allan’s brother Aaron, about the 2008 Local Exposure Tour. You can help them pick the places they’re going to hit in April. Not too many other sports allow you such access and influence with the pros.

Check it out:

2008 will mark the 5th year that we take Local Exposure Tour (LET) on the road. We have some amazing things planned for the pros and the participants! We are looking for your support to determine where we take LET in 2008!

Email us at letusknowwhatsup@localexposuretour.com and speak up if you want us to come to your local park! Based on where we have traveled in the past, 2008 is going to either visit the North West (Southern CA, Oregon, Washington) or the North East (Greater New England area).

2007 was an amazing tour with the most pro riders we have ever had on the road at once and the biggest prize for amateur riders who participated in the tour. “The Golden Ticket” Champion Marcos Torres received flight and hotel for the first two stops of the AST Dew Tour Qualifiers and he is still enjoying a full year of product from most LET sponsors.

Local Exposure Tour is a creation of pro BMX rider Allan Cooke that puts some of the top pros in BMX Park, Street and Dirt on a RV for a road trip before the contest season begins at the end of April. The purpose of the trip is to have fun, but along the way discover some of the best in unknown amateur BMX riders and give them exposure from the BMX Magazines, sponsors web sites, Fuel TV and year end DVD that we produce. The pros will visit six bike parks in the duration of the tour and at each stop pick one rider that impressed them the most. At the end of the tour an overall champion will be chosen by the pro riders and a huge package of travel money and product sponsorship will be won! On top of all the goods the Champion will also be invited to attend the next years LET on the RV with all the pro riders.

Hit the LET website for videos, photos and more from previous years…www.localexposuretour.com

Andy Shohara, airing at the Krause Family Skatepark in San Diego

Birthday Boy, Andy Shohara. Photo by John Leonard

As we noted a little over a week ago, a skatepark jam went down in San Diego, celebrating the 40th birthday of longtime rider, Andy Shohara. Sponsored by Black Lighting, about 30 riders plus some of their kids, showed up to the park which was reserved for this event. Andy (on his new Black Lightning bike), Brian Blyther, Dave Voelker, Todd Andersen, Lee Reynolds, Woody Itson, Xavier Mendez, Alvin Mullins and others all ripped up the park for a few hours. Mullins has posted about the event in a couple of places, and has a bunch of images John Leonard shot, on his Photobucket (note that you may need to be a member to see all of them).

Happy Birthday, Andy! Damn, California Dreamin’, indeed.

Mullins’ post on the OS-BMX message board.
Photos on Mullins’ Photobucket.
Quick write-up on the event by Lee Reynolds on Fat-BMX.

Flyer for Andy Shohara’s Birthday Jam

Just received this bit of news from Kevin at Black Lightning, a new BMX lifestyle/apparel/frame(?) brand, featured in the Cool Kids video I posted last month:

Black Lightning presents the Flyin’ Hawaiian Andy Shohara’s 40th Birthday Jam.
Where: Krause Family Skatepark, San Diego, CA. 8:45-10:45 sat. nov 24th
Riders attending: Eddie Fiola, Woody Itson, Brian Blyther, Dave Voelker, Lee Reynolds, Tony Murray, and more. Show up and have a blast with riders from the past.

Shohara competed in a number of the King of Skatepark contests in the mid-’80s and continues riding today. If any of you in San Diego go, send me pics and I’ll post them here.

I found an album with more photos from the Red Bull contest last weekend. Some nice shots from Mike Williams, passed along by “mtbjunkie” on the Kansas Freeriders forum.

Check out the Flickr album right here.

Thanks for the hookup, mtbjunkie.

Tom Dugan, toboggan
Major boost courtesy of Tom Dugan. Photo courtesy of Thad Allender.

Last night, Red Bull sponsored a BMX Jam at the Pleasant Valley Skatepark in Kansas City, MO, and it was fast, loose and everything a jam-format contest should be. Justin Mann, KC local, organized the whole deal and Red Bull provided the cash for the riders and the beverages for all. With as much Red Bull as was flowing, there were a TON of kids in the crowd who are probably still buzzed.(Editor’s note: I’ve been given more information on the contest, and want to pass it along, especially as it seems this crew has some big plans for next spring (more to come on that). Jesse McCollum worked hard to put this together with Kyle Munn and Justin Mann, mentioned above, and Ivy Melvin from Red Bull. Dig.)

The format of the contest consisted of multiple 10-minute open sessions with judges throughout the park giving $$$ for tricks pulled. Then, there were 5 or so 10-minute sessions on various features of the park, and winnings were given for longest jump, biggest gap, etc. At the end of the night, the riders turned in the funny money for cold, hard cash.

Personally, the contest was cool for so many reasons:

  1. The turnout was impressive – 25 or so riders competing, with many more all over the park, and a big crowd taking it all in. This all went down with mostly word-of-mouth promotion from what I can tell. My faith in BMX went up a couple notches.
  2. I brought my 5-year old (his first contest in-person), and he was so stoked about the whole thing, especially the gap session.
  3. I finally got to meet a couple guys whose work and riding I’ve respected for a while. Phil Wasson, FBM rider and now machine shop entrepreneur – he was one of the judges, and we talked about doing an interview about the work he’s been doing for Knight, Tree and others. Also met Thad Allender, an excellent photographer and rider, whose work I’ve followed for a while. He’s now a neighbor of mine, and I’m hoping to ride with him and his crew soon. Check out more of his photos of the contest at his Flickr site (need a flickr or yahoo account to view them).
  4. Got to make reintroductions with Dennis McCoy, as well as see him ride and introduce my him to my kid. I knew it was Dennis from across the park when I saw the full-face helmet (more riders should take note…), and the crazy-long hang-fives and nose-wheelies out of the transition and around the bowl. He said he was asked to judge, but was unsure of his schedule, with things like running and riding in the Dew Tour, for example. Instead, he just came to ride, watch and enjoy the level of riding from the locals.
  5. As I said, the level of riding was right-on, and the respect between the riders was evident. Technical and flow styles were represented, and both were encouraged by the judges and applauded by the crowd.

I hope that the organizers continue to put together events like this around Kansas and Missouri. With support from Red Bull and bike shops like Cycle City, (who gave a $600 gift certificate to one of the riders who was tearing it up on a beater of a bike for the unannounced P.O.S. award) I know they’ll continue to grow and pull in more riders, crowds, and kids wanting to give BMX a go.

If anyone has more photos or video, send me links, and I’ll post ‘em up.

Aside from all of the other madness in this clip, wait for the end… Scotty Cranmer and a front flip-whip. It looks like a videogame move or something. A couple of years ago, I remember Tony Hawk talking about the up-and-coming skateboarders, and the fact that they have been brought up on “Up, Down, Left, Right”. Hawk was referring to the fact that so many kids have learned skating through their game controllers. Totally what this clip of Cranmer reminds me of, whether or not he actually plays video games is something I cannot comment on.

From the FeltBmx site, Cranmer’s sponsor.