Twenty Sixteen Year in Review
Yes, 2016 fuckin’ sucked with all the celebrity deaths but more so for the death of our country but that’s another story in and of itself. Even skateboarding was not spared and some of our beloved brethren are now gone. This is always a weird time of year. Do you lament on the past or look towards a new hope of a new year? I choose the latter but in retrospect, in 2016 there were some personal bright spots in my world that I don’t mind sharing.
- Cowtown’s Strike Out Cancer Bowling Fundraiser – Did you say fundraiser? To strike out cancer? AZPX is on it! I love Cowtown and the CT Family. All year long they carry the AZ skate scene to new heights, always nurturing, always giving back. The Strike Out Cancer Bowling Fundraiser was no different and all proceeds went to The Joy Bus, who delivers nutritious meals to cancer patients. The AZPX Records Bowling & Rolling Club had a goal to raise $500 for the event. Of course we blew doors, went nuts and pulled in almost $2500 cash from our fundraising efforts. We totally sucked in the bowling tournament but we laughed our asses off and did some good for the community. Try it sometime.
- 1st Annual PhxSkaterCon International – A skate nerd’s wet dream went down in Phoenix this past February in the form of Adam Richard’s vision PhxSkaterCon. For 24 hours Adam and crew transformed the historic downtown Pressroom into a nostalgic skateboarding celebration like no other before. Massive wall of vintage complete set-ups. CHECK. Huge room full of vendors from around the country selling and swapping their wares and vintage skate gear. A most impressive site of seeing all that stuff in one place. CHECK. A panel discussion featuring legit skate legends that Adam imported with his insane hosting abilities. CHECK. A halfpipe outside. CHECK. AZPX Records Locals Only Stage playing a matinee gig right in front of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s brand new palace. CHECK. CHECK. CHECK! The Venomous Pinks destroying Pistrui’s PA system. CHA-CHECK! An all night concert featuring the likes of McRad, The Drvnk Injvns and Johnny Rad. CHECK! Way to go Adam and looking forward to 2017’s PhxSkaterCon @ Paradise Valley Park Skatepark in March.
- Phoenix New Times Best Skateboard Advocate: Rob Locker– Best Skateboard Advocate? I am not even sure what that means or if there was ever a category for skateboarding advocate by the New Times. It looks like it was tailored made for me. Even better. I’ll take it. I don’t do what I do to get recognized but a little recognition once in awhile feels fuckin’ good, no lie. At lease someone out there realized that AZPX isn’t just a corporate money grubbin ‘bizness’ meeting the bottom line every quarter.
- The Oregon Trail – This year I was finally able to take my son on a proper vacation. He has had to grow up with his mother fighting Breast Cancer, never complained, now it was his turn. We took off for 8 days on an epic adventure with all four of dogs and drove up the coast ending up in Eugene, Oregon for 3 days. We managed to hit 6 parks and skated 7 times in 8 days. Santa Cruz, Brookings, Eugene, Harrisburg, Medford, Ashland….I wish we had another 8 days, we didn’t even touch the crust of the bounty of incredible spots.
- Make America Skate Again Hat/Shirt – Holy shit what a cluster fuck. I swear to God the stupidest thing I could ever come up with goes viral. When that Cheeto Nazi uttered those retroactive words it was a reaction against everything. This was not a thing for conservative right wing nuts to embrace but they surely did. To make sure my stance was clear I made sure the product description read ‘100% CRAP’ and manufactured by child slave labor. None of that mattered. That stupid hat and shirt kept the lights on at AZPX this year. It certainly didn’t hurt that my friend and neighbor Greg Hall, drummer of Sacred Reich wore his T-shirt on stage this past summer on their European tour. Thank you Bro! You rule!
- Eric Bill’s Ramp Layer Raffle – One aspect of Arizona skateboarding that is so great is our backyard scene. Dudes like Eric Bills and Mark Walters spend their own hard earned cash to provide kick ass skate havens. Although not open to the public, places like this are great for those ‘in the know’ who want to escape our over-crowded skateparks. These ramps cost thousands of dollars to build and maintain and take a toll on the owner. That is when our awesome skateboard community comes together like the old barn raising days of old. Eric’s layer on his super ramp is getting worked by the skating and the weather to point of needing replacement. Since I have limited funds myself, I figured out a way to raise some quick cash: an old fashioned raffle. Except this raffle was in 2016 and I did it all electronically. Yeah, we raised enough to get the new layer going. That’s how we do it.
- Getting Nude – A nice capper of my year is definitely the quick trip to the Nude Bowl outside of Palm Springs, CA. More like a skate pilgrimage than it is a destination, the Nude Bowl is like the icing on the cake for a skateboarder. There is nothing easy about the Nude and that includes skating it. It does not matter how shitty the spot is if the conditions are right and that they are up on that hill. I wrote a story about it so no need to re-hash the hashed. Go do it.
In retrospect, 2016 was not as bad as it seemed (to me at least). I am thankful my family is healthy and we have a roof over our head. I turn 50 next year and I am going to skate my ass off more than 2016, my resolution. I am happier with my skateboarding than I have ever been. The Carve and Grind Program has worked out for me and my arthritic joints to where I fully enjoy skateboarding…to the MAX! Longevity is the key and I intend on rolling way past 2017……
Rob @ Santa Cruz, CA
AZPX Records Recording Artists The Early Grabs on the main stage at SkaterCon