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Pat Wachter Pro Bowl pre-contest week (Tues-Thurs)
Tueday 4/24/07
I got out to the skatepark around 3pm to see who was starting to roll into town for the contest. Steve Steadham was the first to arrive, and I met him as I walked into the shop. He was a really nice guy, and I got to find out a bit about the Kona contest which he won second in this past weekend. I got down to some skating since today and tommorrow will probably be the only chance to skate before all the pros get in and take over the bowl. I expected Steve to come out and skate, but he was taking care of business and catching up with things at home. Around 6pm or so...shortly before the park closed at 7...Steve padded up and joined a few of us for the session. It was just Barry Gilliland, little Alec Spinosi (with is mom cheering all of us on! haha) and me. Steve just found his turn in the line-up, and we all just skated like any other afternoon session there. He seemed to have no trouble with our bowl and got down to impressing a lot of the local kids. It was funny how many of our local "street" skaters stopped skating and gathered around the bowl to watch Steve. He was flying around our bowl! I have never seen anyone skate the bowl as fast as that...not our locals, visitors or even other pros. It was cool to see....and good for the kids to see too! Steve was doing these crazy roll ins that looked like he was about to hang-up everytime. Then he would whip around the shallow into rock-and-roll slides around the ENTIRE deep end. It was insane! I was stoked when he started doing his trademark backside bonelesses. I asked Steve what he thought about our bowl since he was flying all around it. He said that he was "still getting use to it" and would go faster once he got the feel of it. Faster?!?!? haha Well, we all skated will closing time. I stopped a bit early to snap some pics and video...I was pretty worn out from skating since 3pm pretty much alone until the last hour or so. As I left, I told Steadham we would be back tommorrow to skate again, and it was good to meet him finally. Before I left, he also said he was having his keyboards flown in and would be playing (his music) during the weekend. Stoked! For the first day of the pre-contest sessions, this is looking to be an awesome week!

(*for those wondering, Steve was riding a rasta color Steadham Powell re-issue deck with lime green rails, Indy trucks, and 60mm Powell skatepark formula white wheels with Powell Swiss bearings)
The scafolding goes up
The scafolding goes up
Pat Wachter supervises the judging stand
Pat Wachter supervises the judging stand
Steadham warms up (2.09 Mb vid)
Steadham warms up (2.09 Mb vid)
Similar run from other side of the bowl (2.77 Mb vid)
Similar run from other side of the bowl (2.77 Mb vid)
Steadham's patented backside boneless
Steadham's patented backside boneless
Another view of the classic Steadham boneless
Another view of the classic Steadham boneless
Steadham working the shallow end (1.69 Mb vid)
Steadham working the shallow end (1.69 Mb vid)
Wednesday 4/25/07
Back to the skate park a little after 3pm and Brian and Steadham had just got there. Shortly after, Pat Wachter and his crew (who had camped at the nearby Oak Mountain) showed up with two new guys. The new guys were Frank and Calvin. Both worked for Grindline and had drove 3 days across the country from California just to come to the contest. Stoked! Eventually, the local kids showed up too, including our little ripper, Alec Spinosi. We all got started with a little warm-up session. I had joked with the Cali guys about wearing pads. Calvin said he almost never wore pads to skate. He said, "I don't really do anything to wear pads...I just cruise around." Then he proceeded to show me his idea of "cruising around". He "one push" rolled into the deep end....popped out of the shallow into a manual around the bowl....rolled back in...rocks in the deep end....tail slides in the shallow....and more...."just cruising". haha Frank got down to skating after changing out wheels and bearings. He too just wore a helmet and went right to work all over our bowl....text book rock and rolls...rock fakies...etc. He said he was pretty tired from driving so much. In fact, he took a break and fell asleep bowl-side watching the session. haha We all just kind of took it easy waiting for the sun to go down some. As our locals got off work, they showed up. Steadham also padded up late in the day just like yesterday. Soon, Brad, Patrick Jackson, Butch White, Austin White (Butch's son), and Tim Spinosi made it out to represent for the locals. Also, we had a surprise guest that just showed up out of nowhere....the infamous Woody (aka. ramp_sissy) from Atlanta (Woody has been talking a lot of trash on the Alabama and Georgia skate forums the past month or so, so none of us expected him to show at our park). We had quite a session going down! Steadham continued to fly all around the bowl and was working on some HUGE airs (over head!). Calvin kept on "cruising" with some sick pivot fakies and various lip trickery but he seemed to have more fun skating the street area with the other street rippers (Andrew, Brian Park, Wesley, etc). The locals all seemed to step up a little more...lots of longer grinds and faster speeds! Lots of fun and just laid back skating. I am sure that will change tommorrow and through the weekend, so it was nice to enjoy it now. During the session, some guys came out to work on adjusting the new lights. There is a big football-shaped shadow in the bowl, and they were planning on working tonight on trying to adjust the lights to cover the bowl correctly. The good part of it is that we actually got to skate a little later with the lights on. I say a "little later" because around 7:45 or so, Brian told us he was closing up, and we had to go. What ?!?!?! We had a full on session! About 8-10 guys skating and Barry Gililland had just showed up maybe 30 minutes before and then Brian closes the shop!?!? What the hell?!?! I bet if when his man-crush Benji gets in town the park won't close till everyone is done skating! haha I clearly remember Brian mentioning that this week would be prime time to skate with the pros ALL WEEK each night...I guess I misinterpreted what that meant. I wasn't the only one though. Let's just say there were plenty of pissed off people when we all had to leave. Maybe we can get some skating in the next few nights, but I highly doubt the sessions will be as laid back as this one was. In any event, another great day of skating was had by all that made it out there!
Andrew frontside nosegrind-to-boardslide
Andrew frontside nosegrind-to-boardslide
Keaten frontside grindage before the big session
Keaten frontside grindage before the big session
Matt works on his 50-50s
Matt works on his 50-50s
Calvin and Andrew chillin on the C-Ledge
Calvin and Andrew chillin on the C-Ledge
Lil' Alec Spinosi ollies the hip
Lil' Alec Spinosi ollies the hip
Crazy Californians....Grindline's Frank and Calvin
Crazy Californians....Grindline's Frank and Calvin
Big view of the bowl from the judges stand
Big view of the bowl from the judges stand
A solitary backside boneless from Steadham
A solitary backside boneless from Steadham
Steadham slip slidin a LONG boardslide
Steadham slip slidin a LONG boardslide
The infamous Woody (aka.Ramp_Sissy) and Patrick watch as Steadham rolls in
The infamous Woody (aka.Ramp_Sissy) and Patrick watch as Steadham rolls in
Steadham works out his contest run (2.15 Mb vid)
Steadham works out his contest run (2.15 Mb vid)
Butch White maneuvers through the shadow in the bowl
Butch White maneuvers through the shadow in the bowl
Austin White blasts a big boned out frontside ollie grab
Austin White blasts a big boned out frontside ollie grab
Some unknown rock and rolls in the deep end
Some unknown rock and rolls in the deep end
Austin busts out another huge hip ollie grab
Austin busts out another huge hip ollie grab
Thursday 4/26/07
God smiles on Alabaster today! The rain and storms came during the night and passed early this morning. By noon, it was clear and sunny out. Time for some skating! As always, I got there some time around 3pm. I won't begin to write some long winded account of the whole day. Just way too much going on and going down! I will just say, the "rippers" started to roll in through the day, and the session grew and grew. As I theorized, with Benji showing up, the park did not close till everyone was just done. I left at 9pm, and there were still at least 5-6 people skating heavily in the bowl. I took a LOT of video today, so not as many pictures as I could have taken (and my battery died...doh!). Here is the basic idea of who showed up through the day....when I got there, Steadham and Brian were there already. Scum skateboard's Screech was there along with a group from Virginia that included Wes, Brandon and Addikt skateboard's Donald "Packy" Packard (friggin ripper!). While skating with the Virginians and Screech, a Saab pulled up with Wisconsin plates. It was a guy named Ryan that is a friend of all the Bacon team (yes, he ripped too!) Pat Wachter showed up after a night of partying at the camp site along with his team skaters, Andrew and Steven. They brought the Californians, Frank and Calvin, back too. Next, a group from Ohio/Skatopia pulled up...Dan Ray, Dan (last name???) and little 11 year old ripper Morgan Burgess (just placed 3rd in Kona! not many pics of him but LOTS of video...he could skate for 10 minutes runs doing every trick in the book!). Later in the day, after they fought B'ham work traffic, I noticed a lot of familiar faces....our Atlanta pals and more. It was Load with Benji Galloway (Bacon Skateboards pro) along with Ray Fennesey and Jimmy O'Brien. Soon after, Barry showed up with Blair "Slob-Air" Watson (owner of Skull&Bones Skates forum web site) and our own, Tommy Little (back in town for the contest...now living in DC). Brian got back from an airport run and brought Sasha Steinhorst and Don Bostick (from the World Cup). At this point, the session was in full tilt! We had our own locals...John Waight, Brad, Tim Spinosi and me (Chris Solomon) even getting into the mix. Waight skated till he was just too pooped out for any more!(haha) Even the ABC news team was there and interviewed Tim and Steadham to run a piece on the 10 o'clock news. Great day AND night of skating! Can't wait for tommorrow!...oh yeh, I have to at least leave one bit with you....watching Benji skate the bowl SWITCH stance, and his run was better than I have ever seen anyone skate the bowl...watching Steadham just bail 7ft high method airs made me wonder more what that will be like when he lands one....seeing Packy doing frontside smithgrinds around the deep corner and popping them UP into a frontside 5-0 midway through was just incomprehensible....SICKNESS!
Scum Skate's Screech boosts a HUGE boneless
Scum Skate's Screech boosts a HUGE boneless
Close-up on another boneless from Screech
Close-up on another boneless from Screech
Addikt skate's Don "Packy"Packard from Virginia gets Smithy around the deep end
Addikt skate's Don "Packy"Packard from Virginia gets Smithy around the deep end
Screech hucks a nice lien-to-tail
Screech hucks a nice lien-to-tail
Nice view while Screech grinds the bowl
Nice view while Screech grinds the bowl
Another visiting Virginian, Wes, tries to power nap by the bowl
Another visiting Virginian, Wes, tries to power nap by the bowl
Skate Trivia's Steven gets flippy over the barrier
Skate Trivia's Steven gets flippy over the barrier
Packy touches the sky...HUGE backside air
Packy touches the sky...HUGE backside air
Wes frontside 50-50 around the deep....BACK-to-BACK aka. double-doubles!
Wes frontside 50-50 around the deep....BACK-to-BACK aka. double-doubles!
Pat, Spencer, Steadham and Brandon watching from the bleachers
Pat, Spencer, Steadham and Brandon watching from the bleachers
Little Morgan Burgess boosts backside
Little Morgan Burgess boosts backside
Screech's backside smith at speed
Screech's backside smith at speed
The line-up around 6pm...session in full force!
The line-up around 6pm...session in full force!
Our own Tommy "Alabama" Little in flight before smacking a LOUD body jar
Our own Tommy "Alabama" Little in flight before smacking a LOUD body jar
Benji Galloway backside grinding through the corner
Benji Galloway backside grinding through the corner
Benji tail grabs a HUGE boned air
Benji tail grabs a HUGE boned air
Steadham puts down another backside boneless in a new spot
Steadham puts down another backside boneless in a new spot
Packy just "playing around" in the bowl (2.46 Mb vid)
Packy just "playing around" in the bowl (2.46 Mb vid)
Steadham frontside grinding while grabbing the nose for style points
Steadham frontside grinding while grabbing the nose for style points
Van from the Skatopia/Ohio crew...Dan, Dan and Morgan
Van from the Skatopia/Ohio crew...Dan, Dan and Morgan