Skatopia: 88 Acres Of Pure Skateboarding Anarchy.

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Skatopia Bowl Bash 2003

I’ve been wanting to do a trip like this for some time now: living out of a van for seven days with no schedule, no showers, no hotels, and the only place we had to be was at Skatopia. I’ve heard many stories about this place, all the hillbillies, white trash, demolition derbys, drugs, naked girls, guns, fire, explosives, skating, I mean, how many more reasons do I have to list to convince you that it was worth going.

The two people I’d be travelling with were Scum Skateboards Benji Galloway and Transworld photographer Brendan Klein. I couldn’t have asked for two better people who were down for the cause as well.

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Skatopia is located in Rutland, Ohio on a farm owned by Brewce Martin. It’s pretty much 88 acres of skateboarding anarchy. You should definitely be prepared to work a little if you plan on travelling there and the only thing Brewce asks is that you put some time in to keep the ramps maintained and if you think about it, that’s not much to ask at all. Also, I’m sure you’ll get messed with somehow or another. Maybe getting shot by paintballs, potato guns, roman candles or some other home-made device. Just don’t be a kook about it and run home. Make sure you can dish it out as much as you can take it and you should be fine? Pack a tent and as long as work you can probably stay as long as you’d like.

The place has so much to offer you: a fullpipe, a pool that was just built, a mini-bowl, a vert ramp, and one of the gnarliest bowls ever. The beauty of it all is that everything is lit up at night too, so you can seriously skate anytime of the day. A few of the ramps are covered so rain is never an issue either. So just as long as you’re not worried about staying clean, sober, and working to skate, y’all will probably have a memorable time there. The place is like a drug, you just want to keep going back for more, and literally speaking, most people do!

Written below is all the events that were witnessed at this year’s Skatopia’s Bowl Bash.

Skatopia — Day One, Thursday.

Missing our flight was just a good start to the laid back attitude of the whole trip. No one cared, just get some breakfast and check out the Washington Street Park and maybe get back on time to catch the next flight out.

We arrived in Columbus, Ohio at 10 p.m. We got the rental van (with full coverage) and started the two hour drive down to Rutland. Of course we needed to hit a store for some beers and Benji made that clear right away. I’m not sure what the laws are in Ohio, but I’m sure quite a few were broken within the first thirty minutes of the trip.

I was told Skatopia was way out in the sticks and to be prepared for anything. Now, being raised in small town in Ohio, I wasn’t sketched at all — or at least I thought I wasn’t, but the butterflies kicked in about five minutes before we got there. I don’t know if it was from excitement or nerves? Regardless though, it was a fun feeling not knowing what to expect.

As we pulled in you could hear people yelling, skating, partying — it was good to be back home in Ohio! We walked up to check it all out, Benji met a girl and Brendan skated so much he vomitted. I met so many people there within the first hour and, they will definitely be some of my friends for life.

The first day was definitely a good one, seeing the sunrise was a small foreshadowing of the rest of the days/nights to come.

Skatopia — Day 2, Friday

After maybe four hours of sleep, Benji woke us up for a drive to town for some breakfast. We just needed to get towed out of the mud first. I love waking up in a new town and meeting new people. So after lunch we went to buy our necessities for the weekend: beer, toilet paper, snacks, beer, water, chairs, and beer. We should have bought more food, but as it turned out everyone camping there was very generous and Brewce had a food stand that went all night. The foostand was nicknamed the “Bowels of the Devil,” but the sign said “Vowels of the deevil.” I guess that’s what happens when beer and writing are combined.

A good session was going down at the pool. Maybe six or seven people were skating it trying to avoid the big puddle at the bottom. It seems no drain was installed and cracks have already formed that let water seep in. No one cared though, a few people slid out, but no one got hurt.

I kind of figured it out, maybe only 35 percent of the people that come the Bowl Bash actually skate. Maybe some have intensions of skating but they take the detour to the drink, which is a highly travelled road there!

During the day is a prime time to get your skating in, everyone’s hung over and the ramps are usually empty. No worries about fireworks being shot at you, or couches being thrown in to the ramp in the middle of a run.

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By about 5 p.m. some of the mayhem started. Dirt bikes, homemade cycles, 4 wheel drive trucks ripping through everything, and a 3 car demolition derby which ended in a blaze of glory. I’m glad to say that no one was seriously injured.

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The bands started playing at 7 p.m. and didn’t stop until maybe 5 a.m. This was the time when the bowl sessions go down. The bands play right next to the bowl and everyone gets amped from all the energy. That’s when Benji and Brewce dropped in to skate. It’s amazing to see how much all around skill Benji has on a skateboard. He’s one of the few that are progressing in all aspects of skating. Now Brewce: I’ve never seen someone skate so damn fast and be in control like that! Yeah, it may be his ramp, but I guarantee that if you had it in your backyard you would never skate it like he does.

It’s great; skate for a hour, party a little, sober up, and skate some more. That was the attitude I felt all weekend. Just don’t get mad if you get hit in the head with a flying beer can or get some kind of beverage spilled on you because it will happen!

Someone opened our door that night and sat down in the backseat as we were sleeping. He asked us if we had any weed. We were like, “No, dude! It’s cold shut the door.” But he continued to try to converse with us by saying, “So, what’s up, what are you guys doing? By that time we had to be rude and kick him out, it was like six in the morning. We learned to lock the doors at night.

Skatopia Day Three, Saturday

I have to say it was relaxing waking up to the rain, it gave me a reason to stay in the car and catch up on some sleep. I’m sure everyone had the same idea, an easy excuse to maybe nurse the hang-overs or cuddle with a girl.

I woke up a few times to see some guys trying to fix their tarp. The wind kept knocking it over and I felt lucky to be in the mini-van. The other time I peeped up just in time to see two girls with full face helmets on shooting roman candles at each other. They were standing maybe ten feet apart just nailing each other. You gotta love it!

The rain finally stopped, but it was a mud fest after that. Brendan came cack to the car in socks as his shoes sunk in the mud. I kept laughing, but I would soon get mine. Later that day I was filming and as I tried to climb the hill I fell flat on my face and the camera went flying in the mud.

The cars kept coming in, people driving from all over to make the last night of Skatopia. It reminded me of the movie Escape From New York. Cars burning everywhere, people smashing things, windows breaking, and explosives going off all night. As the bands were playing you had to stay away from the windows unless you wanted to get stung by a paintball.

The beer raid started around 6 a.m. The “lurker Dan Rae invited me along, but I snuck into the van for some sleep. The beer raid involves everyone who is up and still wanting the party to keep going. You may be awoken to people rifling through your stuff. “We don’t want your girl, just give us all your beer!” That is something you might hear. I watched as people ran around waking everyone up, shooting off fireworks. Brendan was laying in the back and told me maybe I should lock the doors. It seemed Brewce had given him a sandwich which had some funny fungus inside that was making him feel a little weird. He even threw a coat claiming someone in it was looking at him.

It sounded like a warzone as I fell asleep, total anarchy maybe! But such a comforting sound as everyone was having so much fun. Yeah, maybe at someone else’s expense, but if you cant take it, then don’t come!

Skatopia Day four, Sunday

A beautiful morning as the sun had dried almost everything up before we all awoke. I thought we’d have to get towed out, but was relieved to see that we didn’t. The aftermath of burnt cars and empty beer cans told the story of the night before, total chaos!

Everyone who was left went into town for breakfast where I learned that Brewce brings more business to the town of Rutland than any other company. I even think the city gives him money for that.

Everyone was excited as they had other places they were travelling to and that was some of the conversation. Sharing stories of the places travelled and trying to meet up somewhere along the road sometime. You seriously have to love skateboarding for the places it takes you and the people you get to meet. We had over seven thousand dollars worth of camera equipment in the car and not once were we worried about leaving the doors unlocked (except maybe during the beer raid). Skaters are some of the most respectful people that I know. We may be stereotyped differently, but y’all know what I mean.

When we returned to the farm there was one straggler throwing trash and breaking bottles. He even tried to get in a truck and drive, but Dan “the lurker” Rae pulled him out and proceeded to walk him off the property. Well, about ten minutes later the guy tried sneaking back through the woods and Brewce finally got angry. He brought out a gun and went after him. He fired a few shots in to the ground to scare the guy out and it worked like a charm. Bruce was more pissed that the straggler was creeping through his neighbor’s property. Love your neighbor as thyself, who said that again?

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The last hour was spent hanging out with Brewce and his friends. We checked out his skateboard collection which is probably on of the biggest anywhere. Truly amazing to see all the old boards and to hear Brewce talk about the history of certain boards was a bonus. I wanted to get a good interview going, but he was going on three days with no sleep and I wanted to do it proper.

I think I’ll be heading back to Skatopia later this summer, so look for the interview later this year. I’ve heard a lot of people shit talk Brewce and I can kind of see why. He definitely tries to get your goat and he’ll push it to the limits, too. So like my dad always told me, “If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out!” Maybe just go down to Rutland, Ohio, skate, and meet the guy before you make your judgements. And if you get called out to show up, it’s an honor, so don’t wuss out and not show. This is one of the best things someone has going on, take advantage of it while you can.

Thanks Brewce, we all enjoyed the mud, carfires, beer, fireworks, the naked girls, and I almost forgot, skating all the ramps.

Off to Louisville we went, Benji Galloway killed it, but that’s another story

For more Skatopia coverage check out the Skatopia site at www.skatopia.org or Dan Rae’s site which is www.fullpipe.com

awoken to people rifling through your stuff. “We don’t want your girl, just give us all your beer!” That is something you might hear. I watched as people ran around waking everyone up, shooting off fireworks. Brendan was laying in the back and told me maybe I should lock the doors. It seemed Brewce had given him a sandwich which had some funny fungus inside that was making him feel a little weird. He even threw a coat claiming someone in it was looking at him.

It sounded like a warzone as I fell asleep, total anarchy maybe! But such a comforting sound as everyone was having so much fun. Yeah, maybe at someone else’s expense, but if you cant take it, then don’t come!

Skatopia Day four, Sunday

A beautiful morning as the sun had dried almost everything up before we all awoke. I thought we’d have to get towed out, but was relieved to see that we didn’t. The aftermath of burnt cars and empty beer cans told the story of the night before, total chaos!

Everyone who was left went into town for breakfast where I learned that Brewce brings more business to the town of Rutland than any other company. I even think the city gives him money for that.

Everyone was excited as they had other places they were travelling to and that was some of the conversation. Sharing stories of the places travelled and trying to meet up somewhere along the road sometime. You seriously have to love skateboarding for the places it takes you and the people you get to meet. We had over seven thousand dollars worth of camera equipment in the car and not once were we worried about leaving the doors unlocked (except maybe during the beer raid). Skaters are some of the most respectful people that I know. We may be stereotyped differently, but y’all know what I mean.

When we returned to the farm there was one straggler throwing trash and breaking bottles. He even tried to get in a truck and drive, but Dan “the lurker” Rae pulled him out and proceeded to walk him off the property. Well, about ten minutes later the guy tried sneaking back through the woods and Brewce finally got angry. He brought out a gun and went after him. He fired a few shots in to the ground to scare the guy out and it worked like a charm. Bruce was more pissed that the straggler was creeping through his neighbor’s property. Love your neighbor as thyself, who said that again?

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The last hour was spent hanging out with Brewce and his friends. We checked out his skateboard collection which is probably on of the biggest anywhere. Truly amazing to see all the old boards and to hear Brewce talk about the history of certain boards was a bonus. I wanted to get a good interview going, but he was going on three days with no sleep and I wanted to do it proper.

I think I’ll be heading back to Skatopia later this summer, so look for the interview later this year. I’ve heard a lot of people shit talk Brewce and I can kind of see why. He definitely tries to get your goat and he’ll push it to the limits, too. So like my dad always told me, “If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out!” Maybe just go down to Rutland, Ohio, skate, and meet the guy before you make your judgements. And if you get called out to show up, it’s an honor, so don’t wuss out and not show. This is one of the best things someone has going on, take advantage of it while you can.

Thanks Brewce, we all enjoyed the mud, carfires, beer, fireworks, the naked girls, and I almost forgot, skating all the ramps.

Off to Louisville we went, Benji Galloway killed it, but that’s another story

For more Skatopia coverage check out the Skatopia site at www.skatopia.org or Dan Rae’s site which is www.fullpipe.com