by Pete Thompson
My flight comes in at 5:42. Okay, how do you get to the park? Is there gonna be time to practice when there’s not 200 people on the course? Why don’t the people around here have teeth? How do you get to that harbor place? What’s sink or swim? I’m too hung over to skate. Who’s gonna win? I fell on the easiest trick. Am I gonna be in the article? Where’s that brick double-set at? Has anyone switch 360 varial triple-flipped it? My run was way better than that dude’s. What do you mean I need a real sponsor, I ride for Pillowcase Skateboards!
That is a mere spattering of the sort of dialogue you might hear in this town, at this park, in the crowd, perhaps only days after recovering from the crazy New Year’s party on your friend’s roof that got busted up by the cops before you were even close to midnight. This is the Tampa Am Contest.
Arguably the only amateur contest that actually matters, it seems as though dreams are made here in this armpit of a town. Then again, it seems just as easy to get lost in the mix of this high- stakes warfare. It’s a blood sport, I tell ya.
This year there were something like 260 entries. Phenomenal, considering most of the kids have to fund their own way there. Brian Shaeffer, a man who needs no introduction, decided that his coveted event needed to be harnessed somehow. So, the required major board-sponsor rule was implemented. Nevertheless, starving ams from as far as the eye can see came to try their luck against some of the best ams around. Quite frankly, I couldn’t see anyone out on the course that could even hold a match to Mark Appleyard¿whose qualifying run could have won any pro event. Maybe he was so psyched to not be bundled in eighteen layers of clothes during a lovely Toronto winter that he had to release it in some way¿why not skateboarding?
The warm weather is a major factor in the enthusiasm surrounding this annual event. Coincidentally, it’s also the same time of year that SPoT holds its birthday party. Past parties have managed to get pretty rowdy, but this one seemed as though it had tripled in size. There were kids leaping around frantically, boards flying in every possible direction¿much worse than the pro event. The reason is that pros don’t have that sense of urgency. This is not their only chance to get hooked up. Besides, most kids are not used to being on a street course with 259 other hungry kids. In effect, the energy in that tin-roofed building reaches catastrophic proportions.
Sounds like fun? Try finding a good seat to watch this poem go spinning terribly out of control. Find a seat to watch best trick, and you could trade it on eBay for Britney Spears’ underpants. Frightening? Yes. Worth missing? No. Anyone who has been will tell you these thing are what make it what it is¿Tampa Am 2000.
Tampa Am Contest FinalResults January 17, 2000Tampa Am ContestSkatepark of TampaJanuary 14 -16, 2000
1. Kyle Berard2. Colt Cannon3. Aaron Suski4. Graham Bickerstaff5. Ryan Sheckler6. Jake Nunn7. Alex Gavin8. Rodney Jones9. Sean Stockton10. Dave Goelz
Best Trick Street
1. Aaron Suski – Ollie over pyramid to backsidetailslide down rail.
Vert1. Jesse Fritsch2. Peter King3. Dan Ehara4. Mike Speranzo5. Mizael Simao6. Dean Randall7.Steve Revord8. Chad Shetler9. Bob Lloyd10. Craig Whitehead