ONE Staff / November 13th, 2008 / Uncategorized
BLADE LIFE: Iowa Rollers’ Road Trip to Hoedown

Our favorite novel-writing, crime-beat-covering blader Brian Krans jumped in a van of fellow Iowa rollers and made the trek down to Plano, Texas for the last-ever Hoedown to be held in the original Eisenberg’s park. Ranging in age from 13 to 41 years old, this is the story of a seemingly unlikely group of bladers going the distance to live through some history. This is another installment of BLADE LIFE. — ONE

Somewhere near the Iowa border, the painted lines on the highway wove together in an oscillating argyle pattern. I’d been hugging the steering wheel in our Ford Econoline for the last hundred miles as I rocked out to Queen at a steady 90 mph. The others in the rented van prayed the tweak I was on wouldn’t come to a lethal halt if I passed out and we got sandwiched between a semi and a guardrail.

I was on driving-hour 15 of 18 that day, with about 40 hours logged behind the wheel in four days. Somewhere in the midst of all that was a steak the size of my face, Lone Star beer, tons of skating, a menagerie of gas station clerks, and the Showdown at the Hoedown.

With gas as cheap as $1.87 a gallon, driving to the Hoedown with 11 others in tow was doable without having to turn tricks to get there. With van rental, gas and hotel rooms, the total was about $100 a person, leaving each of us with plenty of cash for beer, southern food, stimulants, and depressants.

With bags and skates piled up covering the back window, we corn-fed losers filed in and out of the van as much as possible to avoid turning the van into a gas chamber on the road to Plano.

Not more than two hours down the road, the trip of the Dirty Dozen was enamoured with the talk of bowel movements as if that were the competition.

Our photographer, B.J. Bales, made it clear he was going to take a dump in each of the five states. “I’m the No. 1 shitter on this trip,” he said with pride, describing his “phantom shits” at the last gas station.

We threw out bottles of piss—aptly named “trucker bombs”—from those who couldn’t hold it. Jan-Michael Andressen was in the middle of a 48-hour bender and was the one who forgot to pack his skates. There’s always one.

The order that everything happened in, I’m only reasonably sure. All I know is that somewhere down the line, someone said, “”I’ll butt-fuck your shadow.”

To a pseudo-hottie at a toll booth, someone said, “Three fifty for cars. How much for trains?”

Somewhere on US-69 in Oklahoma — where knee high rails seemed to spring from the ground — we stopped at a gas station. Waiting for the bathroom, the crotchety old clerk yells, “I need to see IDs from at leave five of you,” or at least that’s what we translated from his hick-speak. When we told him we weren’t buying beer, he yelled, “If you’re not getting’ beer, get outta here!”

Through snow, rain and the desolation that is Kansas, we arrived at Eisenbergs in time for the all-night lock-in, but none of the energy for it. There was enough energy for beer.

Somehow, the crap lodge known as Red Roof Inn had overbooked the hotel with baseball teams and decided to cancel all online reservations to make room. That was us. After a disgustingly profuse use of profanity, they gave us our rooms. Screw baseball.

The next morning, we skated the park, with Dante Muse — an X-Games gold medalist in inline downhill turned 41-year-old freestyle roller — ready to rock the Rusted Guns competition. An hour after the expected start time, Arlo told us Dante was the only competitor signed up. He became our champion by default.

That night, the park exploded with skaters breaking themselves to get into the finals.

Our boy Logan Clark didn’t make the cut, but he killed a post-run 270 back farf to 180 drop to flat on the infamous sub box.

The usual big names — Haffey, Bailey, Stockwell, etc. — were absent, leaving Aragon to defend his two previous titles against six others.

We had better than good seats. That’s if there was any room to sit. Our spots were so prime that when Sizemore first attempted his 540 true AO top acid on the handicap, he kicked Dante in the hand when he came off the rail.

“Fuck,” Dante yelled. “I want to go back to the hotel.”

He was kidding because he was standing in the same spot when Sizemore laced it. We were front and center as Stefan Alfano attempted a 360 flat spin from the corner to some kind of grind on the mini.

We saw every transfer, grind to drop off the shotgun ledge and The Prince’s Best Trick-winning top soul on the sub box to soul on the down rail to top soul on the coping. The crowd nearly ripped the walls down before the lights were shut off — a symbolic gesture of the last Hoedown to be held at Eisenbergs.

Sizemore was given first place and a police baton (along with the requested “Iowat” shirt in the mail). Aragon and Avichai Wechsler took up the rest of the top three.

Approaching the van sometime in the middle of the contest, a car of delinquents slipped a chemical present in an open window — a sizzling fart bomb. It left our van smelling like sulfur and rotten eggs. We barely noticed the difference.

After the contest, we loaded the van back to the dump that was the Red Roof Inn. We lost a few skaters, but sometime between then and the morning a hotel room door would be kicked in and security would be called on us.

At day break — or when we got up — a stop for coffee and donuts and we were ready to get Ben Forsythe, the 13-year-old we were hoping not to corrupt, to the Young Guns comp. Going on his third day in a row of skating non-stop, he pulled in a solid fourth place. He skated the rest of the day, nearly falling asleep at the table when we all were noshing on steaks later that night.

Before dinner, Mike Garcia nearly wheelchaired himself by attempting a backflip off a low box at the nearby Allen skate park. Good park. Bad idea.

Something else happened that night, but I’m not too sure of what. There’s a certain amount of wine and Fat Tire my body can handle before going into auto-hibernation. We awoke the next morning, completely amazed we hadn’t been booted from the otherwise silent hotel.

The ride home on Monday was fueled exclusively by some potentially toxic beverage called “Tweak Extreme.” The outside of the bottle carried more warning labels than a carton of cigarettes, yet I ignored each one, especially the one that said, “Never consume more than two servings a day.” If crack-heads could develop Super Crack, this would still put it to shame.

As the majority of the van slept off whatever hangover remained, my hands remained firmly gripped on the wheel, jabbering on in Hunter Thompson-like rants and constantly saying, “It’s fine,” no matter what traffic law was broken. Each sip of Tweak decreased my inhibitions for a safe outcome of the trip, yet my companions’ pleas changed my mind.

In all things aligned with Karma, we arrived at yet another gas station, this time in rural Missouri. It’s home to the coolest man who’s every jockeyed a counter. Not only did he sell DVD/mag porn, but he claimed to formerly be part of the distribution business himself. Even if he was making it up, the fact that he embraced our antics instead of shunning us, earns him an official salute.

“Iowat!” to you good sir.

To everyone else who couldn’t take a joke, sorry. We mean well, we just don’t know any better. — Brian Krans

Photos © 2008 B.J. Bales & Justin “Jefferson” Agustus

Discussion / BLADE LIFE: Iowa Rollers’ Road Trip to Hoedown

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  • qcsky - November 14th, 2008

    nice article, i wish i could have made it.

    well, going to bitter cold for sure

  • Devin - November 14th, 2008

    Right on!

  • buller - November 14th, 2008

    iowa bladers are some of the radest dudes on the planet. blade on

  • jason reyna - November 14th, 2008 has more photos of the contest up.

  • Aaron "formerly galenaskater" schultz - November 14th, 2008

    best trip evarrrrr

    can’t wait til bittercold

    davenport tns session in full effect now see you all again soon

  • Krans - November 15th, 2008

    Best guys ever. Good times all around. One day I wish the words could meet the excitement each one of these rollers holds individually.

    Sizemore’s cool as hell too. The future in present. Watch him, day and night.

  • Mike G - November 15th, 2008

    “It left our van smelling like sulfur and rotten eggs. We barely noticed the difference. ”

    haha. Awesome.

    That was a sweet trip, and my back is almost completely healed now.

    Everything’s bigger in Texas… especially the back injuries.

  • tommy Mendez - November 16th, 2008

    i remember seeing all those dudes at allen skatepark on sunday and @the eisenbergs lock in. but i only saw the purple shirt dude and the old dude skate at allen

    i was like wtf. that guy’s old… but he was pretty good. saw him 540 up the six stair hubba ledge- hope i can do that when i’m 41.

    or am i mistaken and is the hispanic dude not the 41 year old?

  • tiny elvis - November 17th, 2008

    Look at that state Texas, that thing is Huge man…….i’m just sayin it’s big, that’s all.

  • Aaron "formerly galenaskater" schultz - November 24th, 2008

    that is dante, the 41 year old dude destroying the bauer box at his roller rink in des moines, its so fun

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