Finding the words “summer” and “death” in the same sentence typically occurs only at two occasions—a eulogy or a coffee shop poetry reading.
Luckily, SLUG happens to be the exception by hosting annual skate competitions every summer, calling it the Summer Of Death (SOD). “Bust Till Dusk” was one of the skate competitions associated with SOD, and was hosted on a hot-as-fuck July evening. Skaters from all around Utah gathered in the parking lot behind Burt’s Tiki Lounge to skate on ramps, quarterpipes, boxes and rails, some hand built by the Summer of Death crew and others donated by Ezra Moss of Annex Skate.
The course was set up to keep all styles of skaters in mind. Obstacles like back–to–back quarter pipes located near the center, two drop-in ramps at opposite ends, and the un-godly huge launch ramp–gap–landing ramp favored the big and bold. The course balanced the raw with some technical skating obstacles: an up-down box plopped in the middle of the course either for grinding or manuals, a knee-high ledge on the outskirts of the lot and plenty of slime-green colored rails dispersed along all sides, ranging from short n’ stubby to long and gnarly. To mix up the flow and aid skater creativity was a high rounded box that imaginatively had “wall ride up onto me” plastered on it, and the last obstacle was a small ramp with a ledge on top, crossing over to a landing ramp. The course layout seemed to please everyone. The box and launch ramp were without a doubt the way for skaters to show off heavy hitting tricks. For the box, showing board control was a must, either by doing gnarly manuals up and down or just flipping in or out of a grind, making people sound like lung cancer patients by their ensuing gasps. As for the launch ramp, basically catching any sort of air and not bailing made you a shoe-in for being eye candy to the judges.
After the course setup was made permanent, DJ Lil‘ G got the music jamming right on time, hinting to the MC Eric The Dirty Hessian and judges Jason Gianchetta, Kendall Johnson, Panda and Jared “Snuggles” Smith to start hassling the skaters to pay their cash and register. As the clock ticked six sharp, the intermediate division of skaters started their heat.
The intermediate division had a lower number than the open division, so they would be judged on one fifteen-minute jam session, instead of multiple heats. The winners would be chosen from that one heat—there would be no finals for the younglings. Due to the number of contestants, the open division would hold a final round for the top ten best skaters of all heats, before choosing the three winners. As Hessian yelled that the contest had begun, the intermediate skaters rolled slowly out onto the course, making sure it was truly only their time to shine in the blazing glory of the 90-degree sun. All the participants in the intermediate division showed that their skills were not dedicated to just one or two obstacles. Noah Sutton was catching gansta air off the launch ramp and showed off his steezy style with an additional variety of rail grinds, the sickest being a buttery back board 180 out. Brandon Tucker decided to mainly stick to technical ledge and manny tricks, like a 5–0 up and down the whole A frame box, and an additional manual up the ledge and nollie nose manny down. The small-in-stature Dagon Molton showed his big appetite for the course, with tricks like a pivot to fakie on the east quarter pipe, a flatground 360 shuv, and riding up the bump and kickflipping off. Though there were a lot of ill tricks being thrown down from minors, Jordan Frankie seemed to stand out, earning himself the title of first place after landing a bag of gnarly tricks like ront boardsliding the downrail and riding up and tailsliding down the A frame box, while showing progression throughout the competition by landing a kickflip front board on a round rail.