Ed Dominick of 88 Shoes had this great idea of renting out the Christianson Carnival for a night of skating, carny talk, and maybe some photos. The 88 team and friends showed up for a night of skating some sketchy carnival obstacles in some unfavorably cold weather. Kris Markovich, Corey Duffel, Justin Strubing, Kristian Svitak, J.T. Aultz, and friends Don Nguyen, Ethan Fowler and Louis Barletta all took part in the four-hour mayhem that left everyone sick from either the carnival rides or the 30 degree temperature.
When Kristian Svitak and I pulled into the parking lot, our first sight was Ed Dominick vomiting. Apparently he couldn’t handle a ride named the Zipper. So of course, that’s the first ride Kristian and I decide to go on. It seemed sketchy at first because I had the flu, but I couldn’t back out. After what seemed like five minutes of nonstop flipping around, I became convinced that Ed had paid off the “ride jocks” to keep the ride going to try to make us sick. When the ride finally stopped, I felt better, Svitak felt worse.
While everyone was skating I took some time to walk around and film a little. I was getting a few video clips of all the rides and that’s when I ran into John “Dough” and Tim “Peanut”. I took some time to talk with them and they filled me in on some carny terms. They both were in charge of running rides and referred to themselves as “ride jocks.” They went on to tell me that the games people are referred to as “jointies”, “stick jockies”, or “splinterheads.” They explained that the splinterheads usually get paid better and they usually get the better living conditions as well. They definitely seemed to be pissed off about it.
I had one question that I wanted to ask regarding the carnival life and why they do what they do. This is what their answers were.
Ohiodave: “What attracted you guys to this type of work?”
John Dough: “People are always asking us why do we do this? We always tell them that this type of work is something you love or you hate, there is no in-betweens. If you love it, it gets in your blood and you’re here for life. No matter how many times you leave, you come back.”
Tim Peanut: ” I’ve been with this company for three and a half years now and I’ve worked for other companies too. It just stays with you. It’s a lot of hard work, you know. The fringe benefits are good, especially if you like meeting people.”
Davey “The Midget” showed up, flipped off everyone, and gave me an earful of the 25 years of experience he’s had travelling with the carnival. It was interesting to hear his views about travelling and living on the road--I feel as though he respected the skateboarding lifestyle more than anyone else there.
I asked the guys if they were going to watch some of the skateboarding . They didn’t seem that interested and were more concerned with maybe getting a few drinks while the night was still young. I could smell what they were stepping in and if I didn’t have to film I may have joined them. So, we all shook hands and went our separate ways for the night.
Corey and Markovich were skating the rail in front of the Zipper. The jump ramp they were using had a big lip in front of it and they rail would wobble with a touch of a finger. It all went from sketchy to dangerous as the ride jock turned the Zipper on to full speed. Markovich went for 50-50 and he and his board went flying, almost getting clipped by the ride. We all laughed as Kris had to stop the ride to retrieve his board. It was one of those funny, but scary kind of laughs. Corey was up next and without hesitation he landed a few frontside boardslides.
Svitak was eyeing up a roof drop of ten plus feet that happened to be located atop one of the games. This left the stick jockies confused. They were more worried about the roof collapsing than Kristian landing the method drop. It got so quiet right before he was aabout to do it, and that seemed to spook him. Kristian just laughed his way through it and pulled it within four tries.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Svitak and Duffel running and jumping over the fence. The two went on a rampage and kidnapped some Hong Kong Fuey stuffed animals. They deserved some sort of prize for their efforts. Corey had they biggest smile as he paraded his stuffed trophy around like he had actually won it.
Kris Markovich pulled a classic 180 nose grind on the wobbly Scooter rail. Kris had to start off in the Port-O-Potty area where the horrendous smell burned your nose hairs, and to top it off, the ground was wet--with who knows what.
By Southern California standards, it was a cold night. By the end of the session, everyone felt cold and sick. With stomachaches and sore throats, we made our way to a Denny’s for a four-in-the-morning dinner. At 5:00 a.m. the check came, which always seems to get placed in front of Ed Dominick. While reaching for his credit card, he proceeded to announce how worthless everyone was. Thanks again for dinner, Ed!