Go Skateboarding Day 2006 Article at Skatepark of Tampa

Go Skateboarding Day 2006

Posted on Thursday, June 22, 2006 by Ryan

Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek

Here's a copy of my citation or whatever you call it. How about that alias?
We skated through the indoor plaza where our friends at Florida Capital Bank are
Someone came prepared - obstacles for the Bro Bowl where it all got started
Whoever organized this gave away tons of free t-shirts
Brian Schaefer bean plants on the titty
This is John Ferguson. You can catch him at The Empire in Ybor. Get more info on his production company here: Ferguson Promotions
Who dat? Tre bomb the boobie
Scotty Conley - no comply pole jam
Ryan Dodge back smithed up the pole jam
Adam Burgess - check his left hand. Looks like he's about to throw some ninja moves on you with that thumb stee
Jason Fintel - pole jam frontside 180
John Montesi - pole jam backside 180 to switch Bro Bowl hill bomb carve
Mike Goodwine - early grab method straight out of the 80's
The Red Bullmobile showed up and gave out free bull semen
If you've been skating for 8,000 years like I have, you'll remember Mark Partain from Blockhead Skateboards
A small sample of the new graffiti at the newly painted Bro Bowl
Ebay must have been closed on Go Skateboarding Day. Chapin Atchison was there. That's Sad following close behind
Say what up to Ternell Watson next time you're in the Shop. He works behind the counter now
Buck Tooth Will - Gravy Records represent
Ian Gow frontside flips off the hooter
After a fun session at the Bro Bowl, everyone got together to figure out the plan to assault downtown
And we're off...200+ skateboarders take to the streets
There's Brandon Baker leading the pack around the first turn
It was amazing to look back and see this while skating through downtown
Rockin' the Go Skateboarding Day shirts
Whoever decided to bring the bull horn - that really helped out a lot
This time, traffic stops for us, not the other way around
Everyone was super hyped. What an amazing and fun day
There's our homie Jovan in the lower center. He works security in the airport and we see him every now and then on our travels. So, if we wanted to, we could bring AK47's on the plane
One of a few casualties I saw today. I saw kids eating it between cars and slamming into pedestrians. So damn fun
Dylan Perry nollied the four block
Someone gave Mike Espinoza $230 for this frontside flip down the Four Block
This should be a take a poop sequence, but I don't have time for that right now. This is Mike Parker who was coming real close to making a hard flip down it
Funny how Scotty Conley got the take a poop for today. He spends most of his time here at work on the crapper
Some security guard showed up at the four block, then got fully booed out of the place. We then went back to the session like nothing happened. That was pretty damn good. See the badge buried in the crowd of skaters in the top photo?
Thanks to everyone for showing up!
Done at the Four Block - now on to the Turtle Ditch. Schaefer leads the charge
Matt Giles and I finished out Go Skateboarding Day later that night by skating to the bar to get good and hammered
Jason Fintel gets shakka with it on the way to Turtle Ditch
Confused business people. Wow, that used to be me when I worked in Captain Corporate Land. Brian Schaefer, thanks for saving me from that life of poop
She's looking a little frightened, huh?
Everyone just skated circles around that cop car back there. Unfortunately, Matt Welch on the right was another one that got arrested with us
The last trick of Go Skateboarding Day before all arresting hell broke loose. That's Jason Fintel wall riding to fakie
There goes Ryan Clements' presidential candidate chances. The cop made us get down and lie on our stomachs to handcuff us. Check the Quotes Page for some really stupid crap the cops said to us. Yes, we got arrested, but it was seriously pure comedy the entire time. I don't think I stopped my minor jabs and heckling of the cops once the whole time. Luckily, they didn't get too salty on us. While Clem and I were sitting in the back of the car, we could hear the police scanner reports like, "Ok, they're going north on Kennedy now." "They're being mean to pedestrians. People are scared."
I was snapping photos with my handcuffs on. It's a little hard to aim and adjust the exposure with your hands cuffed behind your back
Jeff Lako takes this situation as serious as it is - a big joke
This sexy mom from Plant City is watching her son get hauled away to Juvenille Detention in the back of a cop car. Well, since the kids are gone, uhhh, wanna hang out?
Released on my own recognizance
This is how the first half of Go Skateboarding Day ended - talls and smokes at the nearby gas station
Session at the Bro Bowl
I knew that it was going to be good when I got word that a random kid called from the Bro Bowl and said that there was a bunch of sand and debris in it and to bring brooms when we show up. That was at about 9:30am and we weren’t going to skate there until 11:30am.

The crew hopped in the F-350 promptly at 11:15am and we headed towards Downtown. As we exited 275 S. and went onto Jefferson St., it was a sight to see. There were probably already 100 kids sessioning the Bro Bowl. I’ve been going to that spot for 20 years (no joke) and have never seen 100 skaters there at any given time.

We gave out some Go Skateboarding Day shirts and skated for about 20 minutes. The session brought out all types of skaters…some that I haven’t seen for years. Everyone got warmed up and that’s when it was on! The route had been chosen.

Skating Through Downtown Tampa
The plan was to leave the Bro Bowl and go down Orange until it turns into Jefferson. Then take a right on Kennedy. From there, skate until you hit Ashley and head up to the Amphitheater/Big 4.

This was one of the most empowering moments of my life. First of all, it’s illegal to skateboard downtown. It’s been like that for as long as I can remember, but there’s not too much heat usually if you go spot to spot for only moments at a time. When you stop to session, that’s when you get caught. So that was the plan…skate fast and don’t stop.

So there we are, about 150 skaters deep skating smack dab through Downtown Tampa. We took over the sidewalks, the streets, and then some. We were weaving in and out of traffic and cars were literally stopping as we passed them. The group would roll up to a red light and just blaze right through it because we were rolling so deep and there was nothing anyone could do.

The looks on the faces of pedestrians heading out of their offices for a nice, peaceful lunch were priceless. The roar of skateboard wheels on the rough pavement and brick crosswalks had many-a-person thinking, “What the hell is going on here?”

The looks on the faces of every single skateboarder participating was even more priceless. Everyone was laughing, hooting, and high-fiving each other as we made our way through Downtown towards the Big 4. We knew that we were doing something that no one has done before.

Best Trick at the Big 4
At this point there had been basically no resistance from any type of authority, but the best was yet to come. Things got started off rather quickly with about 10 kids hucking themselves down the set. Here are the Honorable Mentions:

- Scotty Conley gets the “HOLY $H!T ARE YOU OKAY?!” Award – he took quite a beating trying to acid drop without ollieing (We call it “no pop necessary.”). He says that he’s going back to do it at another time
- The kid trying the bs bigspins was coming close, but no cigar
- Mike Parker stuck the hardflip so many times perfectly, but just couldn’t roll away
- Dylan Perry nollied it
- Matt Giles earned $20 for the boneless
- Some random kid did one of those weird Mike V. ‘flamingo’ tricks where you wrap the board around one leg…sort of like a bs boneless without grabbing. He did it and hopped down each stair and then back onto the board on the flat ground…he earned $10 for that hot move.

There ended up being only one winner, and that was Westside’s Mike Espinoza. He must have stuck, landed, and fallen on 20 frontside flips before he rolled away from an absolutely perfect one. Nice work, Mike.

Toward the end of the jam a security guard walked up on us and tried shut it down. That didn’t work too well…power in numbers, right? Apparently he made a call to the Tampa Police though and claimed “assault.” I don’t think that happened.

The Turtle Ditch and Arrests
From the Big 4 we skated back up Jackson, but not before cutting through the 5-0-1 Building to see some of my lady-friend bankers at Florida Capital Bank. That’s right, 100+ skaters headed through the breezeway of that building. Security came out and gave a look of bewilderment. They had no idea how to handle the situation, so they did nothing. Good call.

We finally made our way to Turtle Ditch on the corner of Brush and Whiting. As we all started cruising around someone came up to me and said, “The Police followed us here. They will be here any second.” They weren’t a second off either because I saw two cruisers pull up and everyone scattered. Skaters were going this way and that way and it was pretty much total chaos.

I walked towards the street holding my board and saw the cops. I guess I could have run, too, but I was thinking, “How stupid am I going to feel if I get caught running?” So I just stood there, which after the way we were treated I wish that I would have run. Here’s how it went:

At that point, out of over 100 skaters at the ditch it was only Rob, Welch and I left. The Police Officer yelled at us to get on the ground. There was a fourth guy behind us that was shooting pics and the cop told him to get on the ground, too. He got down and the cop says to me, “Get on your stomach and put you hands behind your back!”

So there I am at 1pm in the hot Florida sun with no shirt on, laying face down as some cop gets all crazy on me and throws the cuffs on…tight, I might add. That’s when the fourth guy made a break for it and the cop just freaked out and started running after him. Another cop pulled up and cuffed Welch and Rob. I asked this cop, “What is our charge? Why am I in handcuffs?” He didn’t know. I was telling him how ridiculous it was that he cuffed me for standing there holding a skateboard.

Finally, another, more serious cop rolls up (so that makes three cops cars at this point) and they’re talking about hundreds of kids skating through Downtown and they ask us what’s going on. We all agree that we know nothing about kids skating Downtown and we just showed up to skate this ditch and it’s bull$h!t that they have us handcuffed.

It was all rather funny and Rob was shooting pics while he was still in his handcuffs. I kept asking the cop why they were detaining us and one of the conversations went like this:

Me: So why are we in handcuffs?
Police Office: Because you were skateboarding.
Me: No I wasn’t. I was standing here holding a skateboard when you rolled up. Did you see me skateboarding?
Police Officer: A lot of kids were skateboarding Downtown.
Me: But did you see ME skateboarding?
Police Officer: Look, just calm down. I saw about 100 kids skateboarding through Downtown.
Me: So you’re telling me that you picked me out of a crowd of 100 kids skateboarding and you’re 100% sure that it was me?
Police Officer: Well, no, but you’re still being arrested.

How about that one? I was laughing at the entire situation and we weren’t taking it very seriously so they threw us in the back of one of the three cruisers, which was very, very uncomfortable. Welch claimed that he was going to puke so they let him out. A friendly mom was hanging out because she lost her kids and gave us something to drink while we were still in cuffs (thank you).

I could go on and on and on with all of the dialogue, but you guys get the point. They finally let us go, but we now have court dates and were charged with “Unlawful Skateboarding – Statute 26-172” (even though he didn’t see us skateboarding). By the way, the kid with the camera that dipped got away. He was hanging at Skatepark later that day. I think that I just feel bad for all of the younger kids that got nabbed…if you were a minor they took you to a juvenile detention center for your parents to come pick you up. That sucks and I’m sorry for all of the parents’ days that got disrupted for this.

I’m not sure what type of impression we made, but for better or worse we certainly made an impression. We were all skateboarders getting together in a group to skate in Downtown Tampa like no one else ever has. That was history right there and I’m proud of every single one of you for being a part of it. Thank you. See you next year, right?

I want to end it with what one of the cops said to us while we were cuffed. He said, “It’s guys like you that give skateboarders a bad name.” If he only knew…



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