Carnage: Night of the Living Splinterheads

TransWorld SKATEboarding

Volume 21 Number 10

file: Carnies


Night of the living splinterheads and ride jocks.

Story by Ohio Dave

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. Three-thousand dollars later, the 88 team and friends showed up for a night of skating some sketchy carnival obstacles in unfavorably cold weather. Kris Markovich, Corey Duffel, Justin Strubing, Kristian Svitak, J.T. Aultz, and friends Don Nguyen, Ethan Fowler, and Louie 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 decided 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 Ed had paid off the “ride jock” to keep the ride going to try to make us sick. When the ride finally stopped, I felt better, Svitak felt worse.

When everyone was skating, I took some time to talk with some of the employees (a.k.a. carnies). John “Dough” and Tim “Peanut” filled me in on some carny terms. They were both in charge of running rides and are referred to as ride jocks. They went on to tell me they don't get along with the games people, who they referred to as “splinterheads,” “stick jockeys,” or “jointies.” Peanut and Dough also told me about the living situations and how the splinterheads usually have it better. They seemed pissed about it!

Davey “The Midget” showed up, flipped off everyone, and gave me an earful of the 25 years of experience he's had traveling with the carnival. It was interesting to hear his views about traveling and the living on the road–I feel as though he respected the skateboarding lifestyle more than anyone else there.

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!


Kris Markovich, classic frontside 180 nosegrind. The rail wobbled, and the kicker ramp was terrible. Kris he had to start off in the Port-A-Potty area where the horrendous smell burned your nose hairs, and to top it off, the ground was wet–with who knows what.

Corey Duffel rode The Zipper four times in a row before pulling this frontside boardslide. The ride jocks even had The Zipper turned on full-speed–it was kind of distracting and sketchy, but it didn't seem to faze Corey. Later that evening, Corey and Svitak went on a rampage and kidnapped some Hong Kong Fooey stuffed animals. They deserved some sort of prize for their efforts.

The Santa Grinch, The Tasmanian Devil, and The Red M&M all watched as Justin Strubing stuck a clean backside tailslide. Spider-Man tried to give Justin a high-five halfway through, but Justin left old Spider-Man “hangin'.”

The stick jockeys seemed confused when they watched Kristian Svitak eye up this one. They were more worried about the roof collapsing than Kristian landing the method drop. The game in the background offers you 100 shots to win while using a machine gun. Kristian used a skateboard and got it done within four tries. With those statistics, which game would you play?

Don Nguyen kickflips over thee bumper car as Kris Markovich gives a well-deserved thumbs-up. Don landed it well over five times before the camera even came out. Yeah, the floor was way slippery, too!

Look at the smile on Sponge Bob Square Pants' face as Ethan Fowler sticks one of his proper Smith grinds. Someone better be smiling after the three-grand 88 dropped to rent out the place.