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2007 - Greg "Sig" Sigfried's 38th Birthday Bash
On January 14th, Greg "Sig" Sigfried threw himself his own 38th birthday party at the Club Old Man (COM) vert ramp in Ozark, Alabama. He had to throw his own party...it's his ramp! Greg sent out the invite and a group of us from Birmingham made the trip down. It was a perfect day....unseasonably warm 75 degree January day with no chance of rain. It's about a two hour drive from Birmingham to the southeast corner of the state....drive to Montgomery, then get onto 231 and you will hit it about 30 minutes past Troy. We got there around 11 am and got right down to skating. The ramp itself is awesome! Ten and 1/2 foot high with 1/2 foot of true vert...24 foot wide with an extension on one side....and all layered in smooth steel and topped with continuous rusted steel coping. The extension is actually the true original size of the ramp (foot and 1/2 of vert!) before it was recently cut down a bit. The ramp just felt the perfect size. As if it couldn't be better, right next to the ramp is a nice, covered patio where Greg had the tunes cranking and cold drinks on ice!

Having not skated a true vert ramp in about 6 years and really being used to skating round wall lately, I had to take some pump runs from flat to both get used to the ramp as well as check that my trucks were not too loose. I will admit...that ramp had me intimidated at first (haha). John Waight and Kerry just jumped right in...Barry had two test runs...I had to take about 5 to make sure I was ready (haha). After a last test run, I climbed up on the deck with the rest of the crew. That first drop-in is always the shakey one. I was not looking forward to it. I put my board out there and the drop was looking BIG. Thankfully, John Waight started asking me about my grip tape art. I don't think he knew what he was doing, but he completely took my mind off of any fears my brain was conjuring up. I was answering his questions and before I knew it, I had leaned forward and dropped in....no problem. After that, it was time for some fun!

It didn't take long for the session to heat up. After Greg took a few runs showing us that it is definitely HIS ramp, we all started to spread our wings a bit and get down to some real skating. Everyone was really pushing themselves and no one wanted to stop. Every so often, some one would take a break and grab a drink, but no one sat for long. Hey, it's not like we get to skate a ramp like this every day. We were all taking advantage of it! I know I would take a break, then see someone pull some trick or go for something and be like "Damn....I gotta get back up there!" The only long break we really took was to eat lunch. Around 1 pm, the grill was fired up and everyone gathered around to enjoy some hot dogs and chips and such. A few of the local guys showed up, but they were a bit intimidated by Greg's ramp (street rippers that do not skate transitions much). Also, two bike riders showed up. They ride with Greg from time to time since out in Ozark, most sessions are just Greg skating alone otherwise. After a quick lunch, we were back to riding and the session got even better.

Our original plan was to skate until 3:30 or so and then head back. We didn't even make it to 3 pm though! By about then, we were all just beat. That ramp takes it out of you. As John Waight put it well "you gotta work to skate that ramp....none of this pumping around a carve in a bowl and then a little push here, little push there to keep going". Add to that that with every bail it meant you had to climb the extension ladder back up to the deck (nope...no sissy stairs on that ramp!). For me personally, not only was I beat, but my heel was killing me. I have the bad bad habit of "spotting" my bails....I slap my right foot down to guide me before going to my knees to slide out. Slapping steel over and over all day left me with a nicely bruised right heel (in fact, later that night once home to look at it, it was purple!) So, around 3 pm, we all started to pad down and called it a day. We said our thanks and good-byes to Greg's family and headed back home. Back in Birmingham around 6 PM as planned. Our great road trip had come to an end. As we told Greg when leaving, however, this will definitely become a more common trip this year! Look for some good sessions coming up at the COM ramp in 2007! BIG thanks again to Greg and his family. I appreciate you inviting me to be a part of your party and look forward to 39!

To wrap this up, I gotta mention the day's skating. This was a big "step it up" session for everyone I think. Thankfully, Kerry brought out the cow bell which got rung quite a bit through the day. Me? I was really happy just to be skating vert again and getting the "feel" for it. I didn't do anything noteworthy, but considered what I did as building a foundation for the next session. I had some close rock and rolls that I just pussied out and bailed...had several nice airs I should have landed (grrr!)...tried some feeble grinds-to-fakie for old times sake....and even got up into an ollie blunt (yes, I actually use to do them on big ramps back in the day!) Again, I was just happy to be on vert and trying any thing....landing tricks was just a bonus. (haha) I left the actual "stepping it up" for the others. (haha) Greg was throwing down big frontside grinds back-to-back-to-back, frontside airs, rock and rolls and generally seemed like a kid in the candy store to have so many people to skate his ramp with. John Waight worked the ramp like he had not stopped skating vert ever! Effortless grinds and I recall him trying backside and frontside airs quite a bit through the day. *grin* Kerry Johnson worked the ramp like he was skating the Vets bowl...backside and frontside airs out and frontside grinds...even "stepped it up" with some rock and roll and invert attempts! Inverts on that thing?!?! BURLY! But...as we all agreed, the "step it up" award for the day went to Barry Gilliland. Some history first...Barry is part of the 40+ crew and never stepped on a skateboard his whole life until 5-6 years ago (at the Wall in Tuscaloosa). For him to even be skating is an accomplishment. So the day before this trip at Veterans park, on a whim, I suggested Barry learn backside grabs....early grabs in the bowl. He started low and worked up. By the end of the day Saturday, he was still about 4 feet below the coping of the bowl. At Sig's, instead of his "Nancy runs"...crosses and axle stall one-hit-bail runs, we suggested he try his airs again. Again, he started low and worked up. By the end of the day, Barry was doing airs with his front truck out! Not only that, but he was doing back-to-back airs even!!!! That's his second day of EVER trying airs at all!!! Like I said, we all agreed...Barry wins the day!
My New Ride for the Party
My New Ride for the Party
Solomon's Grip Tape Art
Solomon's Grip Tape Art
This marks the party! COM shirt at end of driveway
This marks the party! COM shirt at end of driveway
First look at the ramp
First look at the ramp
That's no sissy ramp
That's no sissy ramp
COM Ramp is definitely out in the country!
COM Ramp is definitely out in the country!
Sig warms up with frontside grinds
Sig warms up with frontside grinds
John Waight follows up with his grinds (check out that shadow!)
John Waight follows up with his grinds (check out that shadow!)
Sig ups the ante with frontside airs
Sig ups the ante with frontside airs
View from behind the ramp
View from behind the ramp
Pause in the action (Sig, Barry, W8, and K-Jo)
Pause in the action (Sig, Barry, W8, and K-Jo)
Sig's oldest son doing laps
Sig's oldest son doing laps
Sig's younger son follows behind
Sig's younger son follows behind
W8 with some grindage
W8 with some grindage
Barry working around the ramp
Barry working around the ramp
John Waight hates coping and grinds it mercilessly
John Waight hates coping and grinds it mercilessly
Kerry lofts into the clouds
Kerry lofts into the clouds
Kerry plays Rocky
Kerry plays Rocky
One of the best skate photos I have ever taken!
One of the best skate photos I have ever taken!
Barry works his airs up the ramp
Barry works his airs up the ramp
W8 grinds around me
W8 grinds around me
W8 grinding the far side
W8 grinding the far side
Super RARE photo of W8 in the proximity of beer
Super RARE photo of W8 in the proximity of beer
Grillmeister Sig roasts his little weenies
Grillmeister Sig roasts his little weenies
Everyone gathers to eat
Everyone gathers to eat
Officially Lunch Time!
Officially Lunch Time!
Future Ripper
Future Ripper
Local getting some skating in
Local getting some skating in
Another local doing tech tricks on the walls
Another local doing tech tricks on the walls
Mmmmm beers and dogs (Wickles hot relish rules!)
Mmmmm beers and dogs (Wickles hot relish rules!)
Newest ramp dog
Newest ramp dog
Kerry taking some padless play runs
Kerry taking some padless play runs
The crowd after lunch
The crowd after lunch
The other family ramp dog
The other family ramp dog
Eating and skating...W8 has one more hot dog to soak up all the ONE beer
Eating and skating...W8 has one more hot dog to soak up all the ONE beer
Back to skating! (Kerry, Chris, John, Barry and Sig)
Back to skating! (Kerry, Chris, John, Barry and Sig)
Barry gets to coping as he keeps working on his airs
Barry gets to coping as he keeps working on his airs
Biker soars
Biker soars
Kerry backside airs
Kerry backside airs
Barry backside airs
Barry backside airs
Kerry frontside airs
Kerry frontside airs
Kerry frontside airs again
Kerry frontside airs again
Barry gets his front truck out finally!
Barry gets his front truck out finally!
Kerry snatching an air
Kerry snatching an air
Nice view of W8 grinding
Nice view of W8 grinding
Sig grinding across the whole ramp
Sig grinding across the whole ramp
View of the far side of the deck
View of the far side of the deck
Kerry airs out
Kerry airs out
Kerry attempts an invert
Kerry attempts an invert
Sig and his youngest
Sig and his youngest
Barry backside out!(pic by Patti)
Barry backside out!(pic by Patti)
Last look before leaving
Last look before leaving
That is one nice ramp!
That is one nice ramp!