I want to preface this article by saying it was all Tom K's idea.
One Saturday morning this past spring, I heard that all- too-familiar iPhone text message sound from the next room. Most skate photographers would be out skating on a Saturday morning, but lately I've left the daily hustle to the youngsters and I hold out for trips or special projects. So old and jaded, I know. But I digress. I hear the text message sound go off in the next room, so I check it out. It's a text from Tom K. You know Tom, the guy who does the wallrides? He was asking me if I'd be down to go on a trip to Mount Rushmore with him. "Fuck yeah! I'm super down!" He then proceeded to tell me that it was a Skate Mental trip and it was all camping. No hotels, no showers, et cetera. Usually I'm down for this type of thing, but my concern was more for the people on the team who might be less than prepared. Basically, everyone other than Dan Plunkett. Would I become the default dad on the trip and Brad Staba the cool uncle who buys everyone alcohol? Everyone reading this already knows the answer. #StabaCares
The reason Tom decided we go to Mount Rushmore was a pretty loose but funny one. Somehow, most likely while very bored (straight-edge kids get very bored), Tom found a pizza joint just outside of Mount Rushmore named Big Time Pizza. If you're a Skate Mental fan, you know that its parent distribution company run by none other than Brad Staba—a famous lover of pizza—is called Big Time Distribution™.
Obviously we had to go, and obviously Brad was very down for this trip. So be it.
Words and Photos by Ryan Allan
Dan Plunkett, Ollie
This ollie is super gnar. We were shown this spot by SLC's finest mutant, Big Biz Liz aka Lizard King. The lady in the living room watching her TV didn't even mind Dan moving her barbecue to make room on the runway. Nice people in SLC. Melt your dick off.
Tom K, 50-50 Into Freeway Embankment
Tom can see spots from miles away. Granted, they are usually wallies or wallrides, but this time he spotted a super gnarl 50-50 while we were getting gas down the street. It only took Tom a couple of tries to get it, and when we got back to the van Brad was super full of enthusiasm. "God, Tom. Get in the fuckin' van. Stupid 50-50." #StabaStillCares
Jake Anderson, Kickflip
Jake was so elated that he got on Skate Mental that he asked if he could hear just one song from his Spotify to celebrate. Of course it was a unanimous no. Slightly defeated, he still blasted this kickflip over the stairs and rail. Poor kid.
Fernando Bramsmark aka Darkness, Backside 50-50
Lizard took us to this rail as well and told us he knew about it because his family has weekly dinners there. All I saw was weirdly nice old people coming out of there. They'd stop and have a look at what we were doing and say the usual "gonna break your neck" and shuffle along. Breaking his neck was not on Darkness' mind, 'cause he lands his shit.
Dan Plunkett, No Comply Flip
Dan was the driver for most of the trip, and this was by choice. I have no idea why he wouldn't want to be in the back of the van with shirtless dudes drunk on Mike's Hard and Budweiser. To each his own. Guess it kept him sober enough for no comply flips.
Tom K, Jammer 50-50
Now this is a Tom K trick I can get behind. Jam up to 50-50. I felt sorta bad for Tom because he has never tasted the nectar of the gods that is Mike's Hard. The dude only eats avocados and is always trying to push them on you like a drug dealer. No, Tom, I don't want to share your avocado.
Karsten Kleppan, Kickflip
Karsten is a bit of an odd name, so as most Americans do, we just renamed him. Chad fucking goes. Chad drinks Bud and wears Speedies and does not wear shirts whilst drinking. Chad got so drunk on one of the drives that he put Jake on the Skate Mental team. Every Chad needs a Jake. Kickflip over and onto a crud bank.
To wrap up this article, Brad wanted to add his take on the trip. Take it away, Staba:
"We skated a fucking bank to curb, some asshole shit park, and a decent amount of terrible flatground. We did no demos. Nobody wanted to share an avocado with Tom, and Jake didn't get to play his music but got on the team. I'd like to thank Mike's Hard™, whoever at Kraft that invented Easy Cheese™, and the talent."
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