The Bay’s own Gene Steagall may be the back-to-back champ of the Oakland Blade Jam, but he was getting a little nervous at the end of his run.
Why? You’ll have to listen to find out.
Thankfully photographer Nate Herse gave us these awesome photos so there’s a visual offering of the dopeness of the day. Thanks, Nate.
But even before we get to that, let’s talk about the venue. Town Park was started by K-Dub, an Oakland art teacher, in a vacant lot at DeFremery Park in West Oakland. The first Blade Jam was held there in 2013, the brain child of Brian “BFree” Freeman.
It was first filled with wooden ramps made out of donations and scraps, but after sponsorship from Levi’s, K-Dub’s dream of a concrete park became a reality.
Like all neighborhood skate parks, this one is a meeting ground for kids in the area, many who can’t afford a Razor’s scooter, let alone a pair of rollerblades. But if you skate there after school, kids will watch with amazement at what can be done on a pair of rollerblades.
Many of them, quite frankly, have never seen or heard about aggressive inline skating. But after the Blade Jam, they know it very well.
One kid showed up with a skateboard, got a free pair of USD Sways, put them on, and never took them off. He skated home at the end of the day with his shoes in one hand and his skateboard in the other.
Besides a skate contest, the Blade Jam was a community event. There were free tacos, free haircuts, and, of course, free swag being thrown out all day.
That swag came from a bevvy of sponsors, such as Hemp 2.0 to Roller Warehouse, Aggressive Mall, Gawds, and others. Besides products, many sponsored the mini competitions, including Moonshine, Filth Juice, Wolves Den, and more. And, yes, Rock Town Press gave Gumby some money.
Oh, and if you listen to the podcast, you’ll finally learn the correct way to pronounced Michael Braud’s last name, Mike “Obe” Obedoza helping out by leading a skate clinic and essentially being a co-host for the episode, and interviews and commentary with Matt Mickey, Megan Petersen, Ivan Narez, and more.
But never forget these immortal words: “When you’re in a shitty situation, just go low.” — Obe #SquatSquad
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