On the Road to the Johnny Romano Skate Jam 2008 by Clem

Posted on Tuesday, November 11, 2008 by Ryan

Photos, Captions, and Words by Clem

Stop #1 of many that all added up to a really amazing trip. It was the day after the elections and we were in Florida's Capitol
These kids were skating when we rolled up the Tallahassee Skate Park, but stopped as soon as we got out of the truck. Kids don't like to skate with me
Derewenko got to work right away with shooting Pat's feeble in Tallahassee
We had to make a pit stop at Home Depot because the bug deflector on the Clem-350 was falling off. Frosty handles as Derewenko supervises
Lil' Knibbs was on his first "real" skate road trip and plumb wore his'self out at the first stop
The photo sucks, but I had to take a photo of this kid because his name is Brian Schaefer and he can do really good backside smiths in the private Plus Skateshop TF
This is how DMFP does it
I went to the other room at 6:45am on day #2 of the trip to wake the boys up and this is what I found. We'll let Porpe and Pat explain this one
This ripping statue permitted Frosty to pose with it at the public skate park in Milton, Florida
Our next stop was Dreamland in Louisiana. Man, I will admit that I had fun, but that park pretty much sucks
It started raining about half an hour into our session, but that's probably good because I may have hurt myself in this pit in Hammond, LA. I wasn't really feeling that place
This is just a very small sample of the amazing terrain at the public skate park in Downtown Houston. Too bad it's manned by literally six or seven employees that are there to make sure you sign in and wear a helmet. For real. There were like seven of them and all they do is make sure you are wearing a helmet. Great usage of tax dollars. Needless to say we didn't get to skate
Well, we did skate for a minute...that is, until the ARMED GUARD told us to stop. They had seven employees and an armed guard making sure skateboarders had helmets on. Can you believe that? And then in other parts of Houston you could ride skate parks without a helmet. They're as backwards as Tampa
The photo is weak, but I had to snap a photo of these tranny walls in Downtown Houston. It's a total bust, but worth a cruise
DMFP making use of the marble hubbas one way or another
I would have taken a photo of the police officer that was freaking out on us for skating in a city where it's LEGAL to skate, but Houston's finest would have definitely made up an excuse to take me to jail. He was cool after the dust settled and he ran our ID's, but at first I thought we were all getting locked up
Dylan Perry with a legit bum ollie. This was spontaneous and I'm hyped on it
Pat Stiener with a bomb drop boardslide on the small rail in Tranquility Park
Ollie up from the street, backside disaster, and then back down to dodge traffic - Knibbs having a good time on the outskirts of Tranquility Park
Dylan Perry on a proper-ass frontside flip off the ledge and over the garbage can on the edge of Tranquility Park in Downtown Houston
Allen Russell lost his phone in Downtown Houston, so we had some time to kill when he was looking for it. I decided to try and get artsy on Derewenko getting artsy. No dice
After skating Downtown Houston we went to Southside Skatepark to see this kid fly out of the bowl and hang onto that rafter. I'm thinking it's at least 13'
Who says you can't shoot skate photos with a chill cam? Knibbs getting a crail snatcher over the hip at Southside
Derewenko actually shot this photo of Jereme's fs tailslide around the corner at Southside. He wanted me to know that he can shoot photos better than me regardless of the camera after I told him that I was getting so good with the chill cam that we didn't need him on the next trip
We all went out to a Mexican restaurant, told them it was Jorge's birthday, and they smeared whipped cream in his face
Kareem Campbell is taking the all-over print to a new level. It was great to see him at the Johnny Romano Skate Jam. I also see Rothmeyer trying NOT to look at Billy Marks' mustache
Thanks to Xing Tea for the donation to Make-A-Wish and for sending out these chicks to represent. I asked the blonde to jump in the dunk tank and she actually got mad at me
Antwuan Dixon is literally an enigma, but he is one of the nicest, happiest enigmas this world has to offer
I'm a fan of Erik Ellington - he's done a great job of being a true professional skateboarder for a very, very long time
Me (Clem) on the left and the "never-seen-him-skate-in-public-before" Chris Roberts on the right, who Porpe renamed "Christopher Robinson," which gave us yet another reason to make fun of Porpe
Since we couldn't get any stripper-type girls in the dunk tank, The Chief stepped up and handled it. I would expect nothing less
This man is worthy of much respect, so hats off to Jim Thiebaud for all he does for skateboarding
The Romano Family has been through more than I can ever possibly imagine. How Mr. Romano can still smile simply amazes me. After the Jam he came up to me and told me that Johnny said that he wanted to come to Skatepark of Tampa. Unfortunately the little man didn't have that wish granted, but all we can do is pray because he's in a better place now
Chris Cole won both Best Trick Contests while Gilbert Crocket was right behind him. I saw Gilbert skate in person about two years ago, but after seeing him again at the Jam I think that he might be the next Chris Cole
I will always take advantage of the opportunity to snap a pic of three of my favorite partiers - L to R is Allen Russell, Frank Gerwer, and Brian Schaefer who were riding in the back of the Clem-350 on the way to the After-Party
I am always fascinated by the trees and plants growing out of the water over this Louisiana bridge. It's literally prehistoric looking and I wouldn't be surprised if a dinosaur popped it's head out
DMFP getting extra sty-lee on a frontside slasher at the brick quarter-pipes in Downtown Baton Rouge. If you want to skate them, just drive to Baton Rouge and look for the tallest building. They're at the bottom
There are stairs and ledges to shred at this Downtown Baton Rouge street plaza. I've been there twice and it's not been a bust
Up, up, down, and down. Knibbs gets on his quick snaps with some odd castle-looking-ass building in the background
Reason #763 that Porpe gave us to clown him
The run-up to this spot was so rough that the first couple of tries Dylan didn't even make it to the bar. Once he had ollies over it without a problem, he worked on the kickflip and nailed it. Yep, this is a kickflip
On the last night of the trip we ended up in Biloxi, Mississippi at the Isle of Capri Hotel/Casino. It was really cheap, but nice, and of course there was some gambling to be done. Jorge was being loud and obnoxious, so Dylan decided to tackle him
Bringing the right crew on a road trip can be pretty tough. I think that the older I get, the less willing I am to tolerate any BS. I just want to skate and enjoy the camaraderie along the way. We don’t need your complaining about the spots, the drive, the time we wake up, the fact you’re broke, or your 100 phone calls to your crazy girlfriend per day. So with that in mind, this was the hand-chosen crew:
  • Jereme Knibbs – SPoT’s newest Team rider. It was his first “real” skate road trip
  • Dylan Perry – the dude you can always count on to be down for whatever
  • Michael Derewenko – replacing Rob as the photo guy
  • Frosty – hasn’t been drinking much, but he sure made up for it on this trip
  • Pat Stiener – generally keeps to himself, therefore rarely gets messed with
  • Jorge Angel – outgoing and constantly speaks and acts without thinking, which leads to getting made fun of on the regular
  • Clem – that’s me…the one that always tries to get you to read this stuff
Wednesday, November 5th
  • 7am – Skatepark of Tampa – Tampa, Florida – I like to get things going early in the morning. I’ve always been like that, which is why we left at 7am. When you get up really early, you’ll be surprised on how much you get accomplished before noon
  • 11:30am – Tallahassee Skatepark – Tallahassee, Florida – that’s why you get going early…so you can be skating a fun park with no rules before lunch time. Everyone was hyped and the session was proper. Jereme skated the place like he had been there 20 times
  • 4:30pm – Plus Skateshop Private TF – Ft. Walton Beach, Florida – thanks to our friend Lee at Plus for the amazing hospitality and permission to skate his private, indoor mini-ramp with a bowled-in corner. They keep to themselves and do a damn good thing up there in the Panhandle
Thursday, November 6th
  • 7:15am – Travelodge – Ft. Walton Beach, Florida – this place was a dump, but that’s what you get for $44 per night…so no complaints here. The drive to Milton was on these small, two-lane back roads. Ever heard of Milton? I hadn’t either until I heard about their new skate park built by Team Pain. It’s a one-horse town with a “main street,” looking like something out of 1945
  • 8am – Milton Skatepark – Milton, Florida – we heard that you had to wear helmets, but since it was so early we just hopped the fence and helped ourselves. The park is very bowl-oriented, but Team Pain did a great job with the room allotted. I thoroughly enjoyed skating this place and it’s worth the trip
  • 2:45pm – Dreamland Skatepark – Hammond, Louisiana – I had high hopes about this park because it was built by Dreamland, free, and had no stupid helmet rules, but honestly, the place pretty much sucked and I think that Dreamland missed the mark. Please don’t kick my ass
  • 9pm – Courtyard by Marriott – South Houston, Texas – it was a long, boring drive from Hammond to South Houston. Man it seems to get dark even earlier out there, and the rain helped add to the gloom. We grabbed burritos at Taco Cabana and of course I retired to the room while everyone else went out
Friday, November 7th
  • 2pm – Easy-7 Ditch – Houston, Texas – I skate this legendary spot every time I’m in Houston. Frosty slammed right when we got there and my slam an hour later ended the session. I don’t know if everyone was really feeling it, but it was still worth the stop
  • 4pm – Public Skatepark (not sure on the name) – Houston, Texas – this place is amazing, with any and all obstacles for any type of skateboarder. Too bad they have six employees and an armed guard making you wear a helmet, which of course we forgot to bring. So we barged for a minute until they freaked out on us
  • 5pm – Downtown – Houston, Texas – there are smooth-ass sidewalks, Tranquility Park spots, tranny walls, and so much other great stuff to skate down there. Besides our little incident with Houston’s Finest, all went well
  • 7pm – Southside Skatepark – South Houston, Texas – we had to take Knibbs and DMFP over to the event site so they could get their shred on prior to the Jam. I was over it, so I sat in the corner and enjoyed adult beverages
Saturday, November 7th
Sunday, November 8th
  • 9am – Courtyard by Marriott – South Houston, Texas – the “bus” left early, but I could have easily slept a couple more hours. The road was calling as it was time to start the 1050-mile-trek back to Tampa
  • 2pm – Downtown Baton Rough – Baton Rouge, Louisiana – we skated the famous brick-tranny walls, a plaza, some sketchy bump to bar, and then a bank-to-wall. It was Dylan’s day as he proceeded to destroy each and every spot
Monday, November 10th
  • 7am – Isle of Capri – Biloxi, Mississippi – if there’s an opportunity to spend the night at a casino, then I’m always game. The Isle is completely rebuilt since Hurricane Katrina destroyed the entire town a few years back. We ate well, drank plenty, and gave the casino some of our hard-earned money
  • 5:30pm – Skatepark of Tampa – Tampa, Florida – as stoked as I am to be home, this was an amazing trip and I’m really looking forward to doing another one when time permits. Thanks to our amazing, fun-loving crew for the good times and memories

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