It took 17 years for me to get to Houston's Southside Skatepark for the annual Make A Wish fundraiser & Johnny Romano Skate Jam. I'd seen the coverage over the years and the intensity of the annual bowl jam always caught my eye. Walking around the park I kept bumping into friends, associates, & pros. Everyone kept reiterating how fun and chill this event is. DC had 8 riders out. Jamie Thomas, Dane Burman, Steve Nesser, Karl Watson, Chany, Nick Trapasso, James Hardy, Anthony Shultz, Ernie Torres, Charlie Thomas, Cody Lockwood, Malcom Watson, Nate Lacoste, Ishod Wair, Peter Ramondetta, & many more were milling about or skating on the course. When doors opened at noon, the park was quickly stormed by the waiting crowd of supporters. It wasn't long before the bowl jam began and it heated up quick.
The bowl for jammin'
Coming off a win at the Damn Am at Woodward West, Alex Midler just let go of his crail.
Frankie Heck got honorable mention for this backside 180 to switch crooks.
Chany Jeanguenin mugs up with north county homie, Wes Kremer.
Charlie Thomas made the drive from New Orleans - tailgrab nosegrind out of the mini onto the railing.
3rd place finisher Chris Cole with Mikey Taylor, Ernie Torres, & Karl Watson
Midway through the best trick on the stairs, Kechaud Johnson began trying to kickflip up the 6 stair. Ryan Thompson soon joined him in trying. After time ran out on the contest, the two kept at it, getting closer and closer with each attempt. Kechaud nailed it in the end.
Malcolm Watson and old pal, Charlie Thomas.
Cody Lockwood jumped right in the mix with no practice and walked away with 4th. DC brought out young Baker am, Tristan Funkhouser, who wowed the crowd with a solid mix of airs and lip tricks. 16 year old Galveston local, Zach Castillo was turning heads with every run. He easily had the most stylish Smith grinds of the afternoon & I can't tell you when I last saw a saran wrap body jar. Recent Anti Hero initiate Raney Beres arrived 10 minutes into the jam, jumped into the fray, and went right for the wall. He punched up to stall out frontside & Indy airs & to cap it off he spun 180 out of a frontside wall jam. It wasn't a surprise when Raney was announced the winner.
Over the course of the rest of the afternoon there was a best trick on the A-Frame obstacle, lots of autograph opportunities, a best trick on the stairs/rails, & the evening ended with a Zero COLD WAR screening. This event will continue for years & is certainly one to get involved with. As of last year they've raised over $800,000 & are hoping to break the one million dollar mark once all the donations are counted this year.
1. Raney Beres
2. Zach Castillo
3. Tristan Funkhouser
4. Cody Lockwood
5. Evan Smith
Honorable Mentions: Wes Kremer, Alex Midler, Madars Apse, Andrew Wallace
A-frame Best Trick
2. Ryan Thompson
3. Chris Cole
4. Jonathan Bastian
5. Zion Wright
Honorable Mentions: Madars Apse, Felipse Gustavo, Zack Godlewski
Zumiez Best Trick
1. Nyjah Huston
2. Ryan Thompson
3. Chris Cole
4. Zion Wright
5. Justin Vinson
Honorable Mentions: Frankie Heck, Christian Dufrene
Visit Kevin Marks other work @ www.launchskate.org