My phone rings about three weeks ago and I'm swamped so I let it go to voice mail. Things loosen up shortly there after and I check it. Chris Jatoft aka Ratface is calling about an "opportunity". Curious I call him back to hear that the Roughneck crew is looking for a photographer to come along on a road trip to Arizona to capture Phoenix am and the little details that come along with. Needless to say I'm hyped. Touch base with the family and get the green light.
Thursday the 8th I grab a few necessity's and my camera gear and get out to the city to rendezvous with folks and get on the road. Myself, Johnny Roughneck, his wife Paola, Jeremey Lavoi, Chris Jatoft, Josh Bozzuto, and Matty Pryor are all stuffed into a Caravan and on the road by about 9:30 p.m. An all niter ensues. A rest stop jam took place at about 10:00a.m. the following day and a change of the guard cuz Matty was seeing "the shadow man" and after driving all night who could blame him. We smashed the last couple of hours to arrive at Rio Vista park in lovely Peoria Az. at about noon.
Vendors galore were setting up and the park was open for the skaters to get familiar and figure out the terrain. Johnny got wind of a bar located in Tempe where some stuff was going down that night so the crew decided to drive about 20 or so mins and get a hotel for that eve. Once all the travel wary troopers got to the hotel few were up for a bar run but Johnny and I rallied ourselves and booked out. Tons of folks at this little spot...got to see a few acts, drink a few beers, and shot some stick. Good times.
The next day was heats and our rider Josh had an early time so up and at em'. As everyone started to get in the van Paola came out and told us Johnny had gotten sick and was in a bad way. We decided to smash out to get the riders to the jam and someone would come back and collect Paula and Johnny a bit later. Got to the park and Josh proceeded to have a killer run, just linking it up and landing everything. Ratface had a much later heat so we chilled and manned our booth and spread the good word about Roughneck and Everyday. A kind of f*#ked situation came about when while our backs were turned, our booth got raided and some personal effects got boosted! The most tragic loss was a blue shirt that really tore Paola up. Luckily there was a tattoo parlor close by and how better to get over a major loss than get a sweet tattoo! Both our riders did a great job at the contest but talk about stiff competition...there were some major rippers there. After a full day of drama, skating, and spreading the word everybody was ready to get back to the hotel and get ready to go to the after party. Yours truly was a total wreck and had to opt out on the party and catch up on some much needed sleep, but I heard it was a pretty dope time.
The next morn I got up kinda early and went down to the van to do a bit of clean up in what was fast becoming a sty. Johnny came out shortly after with kind of a look on his face like things were gonna be bad. Low and behold they were. The key to our rental had gotten jacked up and we were not supposed to cross state lines with the van. Johnny was stressing worst case scenario and started to lose it a bit. Things looked bleak but it all came together in the end and we got a way better and fresh van for the trip home....Booya! Over to the park to peep out best trick and just get a few loose ends wrapped up then off to Glendale park for a quick session and grab a clip or two. We are putting miles behind us by 8 p.m. I have to say I wondered if I could pull pilot the whole way home but I killed it. Take that 10 hour drive!
Thoughts on the trip go like this, don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone cuz these kind of experiences pay off in ways one could never imagine. Everyone out there go get some!!!