Part One of Bowl Bash 12

ohio

They call it Appalachia for some reason. I guess it might be the outskirts of Appalachia. It is southern Ohio. Near the West Virginia and Kentucky borders. There are tons of trees, tons of rolling hills, green as an Irish afternoon. Then you see many cars on blocks and shabby trailer homes on the side of the winding roads, and you realize where you are — I guess it is Appalachia.

I was heading for Skatopia, located on the outskirts of Rutland, Ohio. Rutland is rural. Skatopia is rural. Bruce Adams’ Skatopia compound is isolated. You drive forever it seems, through rolling hills, desolate clusters of houses and nice looking stands of forest. I saw a wild turkey on the way in the first time. There where many small ponds that looked like fishing fun.

While on the last leg of the trip off of loop 60 outside of rural Rutland I was following a few cars down the curvy country road. The car in front of me ran over a small squealing thing that shot right out from under its wheels and under mine. I ran over it with a thud and saw it squirt out from under the rear tires of my rental car. I was reminded of the line in “A Clockwork Orange” about running over odd squealing things while driving a stolen motor through the fury of the night. I did feel Dim even. Yarbles!

Finally, I arrived. The gate to Skatopia is cool as shit, massive steal structure announcing Skatopia to all that would enter. I drove up the hill side looking for a parking space. I finally found one, in a field of mud, next to some punkers from Tennessee. I claimed my stake, parked the rental mini-van and got out. I am not used to humidity. It hit me like a wave of stagnant airborne water being spit out of the mouth of an eastern European prostitute on a muggy Sunday night in Prague. I walked up to the outdoor concrete section with my skate and commenced to drop in. This section is very fun, offering endless lines and a cradle to boot. I managed to skate for about thirty minutes before the Ohio valley weather knocked me on my ass. I retrieved my viddycam from the rental and shot some tape. There were some people killing it. I would not have expected anything less. Airs, grinds, lip-tricks, style and over-vert coolness was the order for the afternoon.

As the afternoon fades into early evening there is a snake session in every skate area. There are people from all over the east coast representing. It is fucking humid as hell. I’ve been sweating like a pig, drinking Beam and being invisible. The bands started at around 6:00 PM. As I was walking down the hill to the indoor bowl/band area I was “wooed” at and thrown the “horns” by a fat girl driving up the hill in an old pickup truck. Word. There was non-stop fire works since around 2:00 P.M. The average age of the attendees is a lot younger than I expected. Lots of young kids and people in their twenties, peppered about with old fart skaters and local merry makers.

skatopia

While the bands were playing there was a good session in the massive barn bowl. Thirteen feet of bowled mayhem with a waterfall that would knock most novices on their ass. Bruce’s son, Brandon is a great skater. He was killing the bowl with airs, speed and style.

It seems though that Skatopia is more about excess in the form of beer, drugs, guns and fireworks for the majority of people attending rather than the actual skating. There was a core group of shredders, but they seemed outnumbered 2 to 1 by the 24 hour party people and punk rock performers. Word is that back in the first few years of this annual event it was pretty much only just skaters, their dogs, and their girlfriends. Now it has evolved into a skate-drink-anarchofest probably the likes of which have rarely been experienced on this scale in the world.

So, as I bid farewell to Friday June 29th to the sounds of fireworks and whooping and as the blessed nothingness of whiskey infused sleep took hold of my brain, I thought to myself, “self, this is a damn fine new sleeping bag you bought last week.”

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