Cowtown With Robbie Brockel

5024 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85012 (602) 212-9687/

Since opening in 1996, Cowtown Skateboards has been a staple of the Arizona skate scene, expanding from Phoenix to Glendale, Tempe, and Litchfield Park. By building a name as recognized as the pros and ams that have come out of the area, Cowtown is a model for what a skater-owned shop can be. Real's Robbie Brockel looks back at the shop that sold him his first complete.—Josh Brooks

What's the history of Cowtown?

Well, from my experience, that was the first shop I ever went to when I was a kid, where I got my first complete setup. All the employees were super cool, and they've basically made the skate scene in Arizona what it is now.

You worked there, how did that start?

I needed a job in high school. I started there when I was 16, like when I just got my license. I had been skating for them since I was 13 years old. It was kind of cool because all of the local kids would come in and hang out. I met a lot of people from working at the shop.

Who runs Cowtown?

Trent [Martin] and Ed [Cox] started it. Then Trent's married to Laura, and she's been a central part of the shop and the skateboard scene for a very long time.

What are some of the things that they did to grow the scene?

The first skatepark in Arizona—I call it Desert West; it's got like three names: Desert West, Phoenix Park, or Encanto—that all had to do with a huge local movement of getting that first skatepark put in Phoenix. That's where the Phoenix Am has been happening recently. They've helped to get a lot of money to have the park redone, as well. Now there are like 30 skateparks in Arizona, but that was one of the first.

For anybody who might not know, who are some big names that came through Cowtown…except for you?

[Laughs] First and foremost, Nick Trapasso. That's a pretty big name right there. He's been skating for Cowtown since he was a little kid, too. Mikey Burton, Cody Boat, who skated for Creature…all the guys on the team that people know through the local videos, too.

What are some of the Cowtown videos you grew up watching?

Sidewire and Every Day Is The Right Day. We gotta do more.

I remember Sidewire was the one with the Deaf Squad in it.

Oh, Deaf Alex. He and his buddy were both deaf skaters and they had a section with both of them that they called the Deaf Squad, and they had the automated deaf phone service voice speaking over their part. I still see Alex around.

Tell me how the shop got its name.

The first shop was in downtown Phoenix, which is still going. When they opened the store, it was in the space where an old store called Cowtown Boot Repair used to be. They didn't have enough money to buy their own sign, so they just kept the old sign and called the shop Cowtown. When they told me that's how they got the name, I was dying laughing.

Video Edited by Carson Lee. Filmed by Xavier Coleman, Marcus Ferguson, Sam Keeley, Hunter Oshea, Soda Gold, Mully, Brandon Steed, Lee Dupont