Author: Dirk Hogan

Photo: Sam Milianta

John Scott Willardsen is a name not often heard within the Salt Lake skate scene. The name Bambi, on the other hand, comes with a well rounded resume of infamous antics, well known among the fellow followers of the sidewalk surf break.

From endless days of cruising around with Bambi, I know he is a skateboarder, wholeheartedly. Bambi is constantly consumed with thoughts of shredding the pants off of anything in a neverending pursuit of gnar. He is a motivated soul and all-around shredder, loving every second of board-addled bliss.

At 19, he’s currently riding for the Layton Blindside shop, living mostly away from his home in Layton by staying on the floors and couches of friends in Salt Lake. Physically, he looks like a skinny-ass hotdog, but don’t be fooled—he’s got heart and passion for the board that could kick the ass of any bouncer in the state rocking a dick-target beard. I’m backing that statement fully. Enough from me, let’s get some info straight from the deer’s mouth.

SLUG: What have you been skating lately?
Bambi: I’ve been trying to throw myself down rails and it’s been working about 50 percent   of the time.

SLUG: Who do you usually skate with?
Bambi: Besides you, I skateboard with Ballsac, Cameron Starke, Kallan Campbell, Burke Nixon, Mariano Wilson and that gay fish,Yo Mikey.

SLUG: Have you or any of those dudes been getting some wild hammers recently?
Bambi: Fucking doing our best, it sucks. I mean, getting hurt all the time sucks.

SLUG:
Besides skate hammers, let’s talk about life hammers. Been dropping any of those these days?
Bambi: Life hammers, huh? Doing my best to skateboard all the time, get drunk and surround myself with my friends and beautiful women.

SLUG: What keeps you skating?
Bambi: I don’t know, it sucks. Eating shit on a constant basis sucks, but it’s all worth it because it’s fun and the best thing to do, all the time. I love it.

SLUG: What are your major inspirations?
Bambi: Definitely when I was a little guy watching Shotgun, the Layton Blindside video. I watched that all the time. After that, I watched Slaughterhouse, the Pig Wood video. That was the biggest inspiration that changed me for the better.

SLUG: Are you filming for any videos right now?
Bambi: Yes, I’m filming for Acid Bong, which is Cameron Starke’s video. Omar Budge, Cameron Starke, myself, Mikey Johnson and Mariano are sharing a part, and then Ballsac and Bird will also have full parts. There will be other people in the video. For the most part, it’s just the guys I mentioned. 

SLUG: Do you have any interests outside of skating?
Bambi: I’ve been trying new things, like listening to a lot of U92 lately. Chilling. Chugging liquor is definitely an interest I have outside of skateboarding. But, it also goes with skateboarding. One thing that I’ve been doing lately that definitely doesn’t go with skateboarding is man-whoring, trying to get older women in Park City to pay me money to have sex with them.

SLUG: No way! I’ve dabbled in the man-whore game a bit myself—that’s crazy. Other than man-whoring, do you have any embarrassing stories that you’d like to talk about?
Bambi: I have a shitload of embarrassing stories, but none of them I really want to talk about knowing that they’ll end up in a magazine.

SLUG: Locally, what other skateboarders get you psyched?
Bambi: Number One right now would be J.B. aka Mariano Wilson aka Jabbles or whatever else you hear people call him. That dude fucking kills it. He’s the gnarliest skateboarder I know. Ballsac falls in there. He’ll throw any trick down any spot and land it, too. So proud of you, Ball. And then, Yo Mikey. He’s kind of a gay fish. But, he’s good at skateboarding. Oh, and those two little twins, Cameron Parkinson and Carson Parkinson. They grew up in Layton with me. They’re a bunch of little bitches, but they are killing it on skateboards.

SLUG: So, theoretically, if you had an infinite amount of money, what would you do with it?
Bambi: I would probably buy a house here in good old Salt Lake and one in Vegas. These are mansions, not houses. One in New York. Then me and my friends would always travel from here to there and stay wherever we wanted, and let everyone live there for free, as long as you’re not a kook. The world would be a lot funner place if I had infinite money.

SLUG: Any shout-outs?
Bambi: Young Guns rule! And my mother and father, of course, they are always killing it. Dad, you’re a little bitch. Ha. Also, cap guns, QS, bad bitches and cheap liquor.

It’s good to see that skate rats are still thriving on the streets of Salt Lake City. Keep shredding my friend. Acid Bong will be released later this year, official premiere date TBA.

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There’s no better time to find out if your style is righteous or wack than at one of this summer’s skate contests. Illustration: Jared Smith

It seems that skateboarding is in the most interesting period of its long history. Many styles of skateboarding have begun to commingle, creating a diversity that’s never been seen. Most of the stereotypical styles have evolved outside of the barriers of their given names. Hesh guys are getting way tech, and not just skating spots like sketchy pools and steep handrails. Inner city skaters have left the schoolyard benches and found hills to bomb and D.I.Y. spots to build. Jocks started skating, and in the immortal words of N.W.A, “a bitch is a bitch.”  With all of these styles coming together, there is no better time to find out if yours is completely righteous or completely wack than at one of the various skate contests and events happening this beautiful summer of 2012.

During the month of June, the wonderful people of Milo Salt Lake will be hosting a contest at the South Jordan Skate Park, which you can find on 10866 S. Redwood Road (behind the Fitness Center). This one is going down on June 16, is jam format and there will be three winners from three divisions and all around good times.

June 21 is a heavy hitter for events this year––as it should be. Go Skateboarding Day should already be written in your calendar with a drawing of a kitten playing with a skate wheel as if it was a ball of yarn on top of a fuzzy rainbow, one that somewhat resembles Nephi Beh’s unibrow when he frowns his handsome mug. It’s going to be a good day. Blindside SLC is hosting a Go Skateboarding Day event with Skullcandy, Gravis, Coalatree and Vitamin Water at the Sugarhouse store, then skating to Fairmont Skate Park (2200 S. 900 E.). There will be cash prizes, so you’d better start dusting off your best “getting wicked” boots and be ready to bust. “We’re going to bring all kinds of dogs, it’s going to be rad,” says Colby Takahashi, Blindside employee, referencing both hot dogs on a grill and “homies.”

Salty Peaks has a Go Skateboarding Day skate jam happening in the parking lot of the shop (3055 E. 3300 S.) on June 21, fully equipped with free food and drinks and some rails and ramps to skate––should be killer. On the subject of Saltys, they are putting together a skate series in which the winner of all their contests will get a trip to Camp Woodward in California. Better start getting your lines dialed for these contests. Check out their website for details and dates at saltypeaks.com, first one’s June 10 at Rose Park.

Annex is also putting together a Go Skateboarding Day event in celebration of the greatest thing ever invented: the skateboard (duh). It’ll be bitchin’ good times with the Annex dudes at their shop in Bountiful. For more details, check in with the shop in the coming weeks.

July is a great month for good times and all the sorts of debauchery that you’re into. You can buy tons of fireworks: so rad. I also hear if you get a bald eagle tattooed on your face, you get a free high five from none other than me––or a kick in the balls because I might think, from the tattoo on your face, that you’re some convicted felon trying to jump me. Summer of Death: Lords of SLUG Mag will be an awesome contest to attend, and attend it you will on July 14 at Crossroads in Ogden (95 N. Harrisville Road). SLUG contests are put on by the magazine you’re reading, so you should support them.

Ten short days into the future, you can skate in memory of a bunch of dorks with wagons on July 24 at Guthrie Skate Park on 2300 E. Bengal Blvd. in Cottonwood Heights. The Guthrie contest will be hosted by Milo Salt Lake and follows the same jam format as the South Jordan contest on June 16, and it should be a blast.

August is yours to do whatever you do to be you. Use your time wisely, for this could be the last summer for the inhabitants of Planet Earth––2012 could be a bitch if everything ends like the crazies have been preaching. 

September 8 is the Summer of Death: Rough Side of the Trax street contest held by SLUG Mag and Roughneck Hardware. If you plan on skipping out on any of the contests this summer, don’t blow it by missing this one. Rough Side is a huge crew of skaters pushing from spot to spot and skating everything that’s in between, because … why not? There are three secret street spots that get awarded a best trick, and an overall winner of the day. There will be tons of cool prizes, it’s a blast and the dudes from Roughneck are the shit.

You should also check in with the Milo Orem store, because word on the street is that they are going to have some events in the mix for this summer. Stay informed.

Should be a good summer for skate events in the valley of Salt Lake. Have fun and be free to be you.

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“Skateboarding needs more appreciation than just one sunny, summer day of the year.” Photo: Katie Panzer

Coming up on its eighth anniversary of righteousness, Go Skateboarding Day, held every June 21, is growing fast. Founded by the International Association of Skateboard Companies, Go Skateboarding Day is a pretty simple concept. Skateboarders in cities all over the globe are encouraged to hit the streets, equipped with their boards and bros to do the best thing ever invented: skateboarding. The day is a way to raise awareness of skateboarding’s massive following, and how important skateboarding is to so many lives, all over the globe. It’s a non-verbal statement, almost a non-violent protest that physically illustrates, en masse, the amount of skateboarders that inhabit any given inner-city environment.

Being one of the many skateboarders that live in said environment, I feel that skateboarding needs more appreciation than just one sunny, summer day of the year. You should go skateboarding every day, or at least as much as you can. I really don’t want to see Go Skateboarding Day turn into another make-believe holiday like Valentine’s Day. Allow me to elaborate: If you love someone, you should show your love and support for them as often as you can. You shouldn’t need an excuse like Valentine’s Day to do something special for your special someone. Letting a day dictate your actions sounds pretty lame to me. But now, once a year, skateboarders are looked at with a miniscule air of respect on Go Skateboarding Day, which I think sucks—it’s way cooler to be looked at as society’s biggest waste of life and time.

In a perfect world, Go Skateboarding Day would offer skateboarders the chance to be creative on any property without having their ears talked off by some c-hole about insurance liabilities, vandalism and trespassing. If someone approached you as you were skating a spot, you could simply say, “Happy Go Skateboarding Day,” and you just gave the dog a bone. Psych! That’s a delusional thought. From personal experience, the majority of people say they “like” skateboarding, but when those same people come into contact with a bunch of dirty dudes loitering about their place of business, cheering on one of the homies who’s translating his imagination into a physical form known as a “trick,” the concerned citizen will flip their wig and start yelling at us like we’re a pack of feral dogs. Recently, on a perfectly beautiful day of skating, my friends and I were lectured on how we need to get jobs and “do something” with our lives besides “hanging around kicking rocks on the streets” because we “need to put a shirt on in the morning to contribute.” It was awesome, because we all have jobs and wear shirts to them daily. Go fuck yourself, old man.

Skateboarders mean no harm, we just want to feel something unique by putting our bodies in harm’s way and escaping to freedom unscathed. It sounds crazy, but it’s more fun than being the motherfucker that yells at kids for having a good time. There are so many skateboarders I see that get shit from concerned citizens, security guards and police on a daily basis for doing what they love most. For the record, if you’re pissed off about some kids skating your shit, fuck you. You can kick us out, but we’ll be back tomorrow and the next day and the next day.
 

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Ball and J.B., skate home-ies. Photo: A. Pastucha

I never would have thought that when Isaac Raymond and Mariano Wilson moved out of their parents’ homes and into a basement apartment in the Avenues, these two seemingly boyish men of the local skate world would have cohesively collided perfectly. They’re some pretty heavy hombres when it comes down to it. They come from a scene of people where everyone involved has a nickname that is constantly evolving. I’ve witnessed Isaac confidently introduce himself as “Ballsac” or “Ball” as if it were his birth name, and Mariano’s nickname is now “J.B.” or “Jabbles.” I personally enjoy skateboarding around with these two. They each have their own individual qualities on and off the plank of youth, all the while still sharing a smoothness that could only be developed through years of skating and challenging one another’s precision––or maybe they’re both just naturally stylish and happened to become buds. From what I know about the two, J.B. carries a more speed-driven style compared to Ball, who finds sanctuary in a more technical, impact-oriented approach. I sat down with the two talents recently in their apartment to have a little conversation and eat some mac and cheese.

SLUG: How did you guys meet each other?
Ball: I actually remember the exact day. It was the first day out of school in seventh grade, and we were skating Tyson Trevino’s backyard. He just skated down out of nowhere, and he had an afro and a Krew shirt on. I was like, “That kid’s a nerd … just kiddin’.” We skated that day, and we just started skating every day since then. It was tight.
SLUG: Was it skating that made you guys become friends?
J.B.: Pretty much. We were the only ones who skated in Bountiful at the time.
Ball: Well, we had other homies, but it was at school and they skated, but they all kind of pitter pattered out of it. It ended up just being us [who] were still into it.
J.B.: Until we met Yo Mikey, and some Woods Cross kids and North Salt Lake kids.

SLUG: Aren’t those kids in a gang?
Ball: Our gang! Fucking Kap Guns, a little skate gang. Kap Guns Skateboard Cult.
J.B.: True dat!

SLUG
: Other than skating with each other, what do you do with your time?
J.B.: We’re getting Comcast soon, so I plan on watching a lot of TV.
Ball: I guess we drink with each other and smoke and whatever, you know? Hang out, try and play music, but we don’t really know how. Mostly skate, really.

SLUG: Who plays what?
J.B.: Guitar pretty much for both of us. Some drums.

SLUG: What is your band’s name?
J.B.: We thought of the name today. What was it, Ball?
Ball: It was the Miami Face Eaters.
J.B.: We saw the thing on the news about the guy that ate another guy’s face in Miami.
Ball: I guess you snort a bunch of bath salts and it makes you want to eat a homeless guy’s face. We haven’t made any songs yet.
J.B.: We just started the band today.

SLUG
: All you need is a cool name. Look at Poison. They suck mega trouser bologna, but had a cool name and it worked out for them.
Ball: Totally. Fucking Bret Michaels got a TV show out of it with everything and hot babes.
J.B.: Maybe we’ll get something going in our 40s.

SLUG
: If your lives were a reality show, what would the show be like?
Ball: What drunk teenage kids do when they get drunk. Actually, it would be a lot like Jersey Shore, but we mostly skate all day.
J.B.: So it would be nothing like Jersey Shore.
Ball: We don’t really live like them. We just kind of wake up, skate, then try to get laid. It works out sometimes.

SLUG
: You guys finding any cool spots around your place in the neighborhood?
J.B.: We’ve got a rail across the street. Fun front yard flat bar. I still haven’t skated it, and it’s right there.
Ball: It has this little connector piece that kind of bumps you off of it back onto the sidewalk that’s really fun. There’s a bunch of little weird spots up here in the Avenues. You can find fun stuff always, so it’s cool. The hospital has good spots.
J.B.: I haven’t really skated around here yet. Just what I’ve heard from Ball.
Ball: He’s got the full-time job, so I’m just the searching-skate-spot guy.
SLUG: Kind of like a stay-at-home son?
J.B.: I watch over the place. The man of the house. I make sure no one steals the TV.
Ball: It would take, like, three guys to steal that old, heavy-ass TV.
 
SLUG: Who do you guys usually skate with?
J.B.: Yo Mikey, Dirk Hogan, Bambi, Burke Nixon …
Ball: Anyone, really. Cameron Starke, that Gabe dude. He’s cool as fuck. Super down-to-earth guy. SK801 homies. It doesn’t matter, as long as you skate, and aren’t a fucking weirdo.

SLUG: Speaking of weirdos, do you have any strange neighbors?
J.B.: Yeah, we’ve got a crazy neighbor next door.
Ball: The second day we were in here, we were skating this rock in the front yard that you can wallie off of, and we’re just waiting around until everyone is ready to go adventure around, and Max Pain is just chillin’ there, and out of nowhere, the neighbor rolls out of his house and says to him, “You touch my fucking rose bushes and I’ll slit your throat.”  Wow, right! We were skating a rock in our yard. We just left right after that. It was fucking weird.
J.B.: He flipped Bambi off the other day.
Ball: I hear from the landlady that they get crazy in the summertime.
J.B.: From hearing those stories, I’ve been looking the other way when I see them outside so they don’t talk to me. I don’t want them to know where I live.

SLUG: Besides crazy neighbors, what do you like to get crazy on when you’re skating?
J.B.: Tranny. Quarter pipes. Transition is the best.
Ball: I like to jump down stuff. I don’t know why something compels me to jump down things. It works out sometimes, until you get a heel bruise and you think to yourself, “Why did I do that to myself?” You can’t walk right for the next week. I can’t complain.

If you happen to get the chance to watch either of these guys on a skateboard, you’ll instantly know why they’re two of my favorite local rippers. All in all, they’re just all-around good people whom I’ve had the privilege to know in my life. Now go grind a curb!

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