Mike Brown: Getting Rad With Tate Roskelley

I met Tate Roskelley via Instagram. At the time, I had no idea he was a pro BMXer/amateur paperboy. Tate was running a pretty epic, fake Karl Malone IG account with crude Photoshop skills, which was basically cyberbullying the world’s second-greatest power forward, and was funny as fuck. I had no idea it was him. The account was epically entertaining, and a ton of people thought it was me throwing shade at the Mailman.

As fate would have it, Tate ran into me at a bar one night and introduced himself as the kid running the Karl account. He promptly told me that so many people told him they thought I was the mastermind. We had a good chuckle and became buddies as I applauded his cyberbully efforts. Internet bullying is never OK, unless you leave a franchise after 19 seasons to play for the Lakers. Then it’s perfectly fine. The Malone family disagreed with this and, alas, the account  was shut down.

I decided to follow Tate’s real IG account. I noticed he had over 30,000 followers, which made me wonder, “How did he get this many followers?” As I scrolled down, the feed was mostly filled with Tate getting rad on a BMX bike. Then it made sense. This kid is pretty nifty on two wheels.

This led me to hit Tate and his crew up for the current Bike Issue that you are now perusing. As fate would have it, Tate’s filmer, Mike Mastroni, was in town, and they were banging out missions on the daily. I hopped in the van for one such epic mission to get the lowdown on the BMX scene and have some good old-fashioned fun while trespassing, and maybe a little bit of vandalism.

The crew of Tate, Mike and photographer Jon Tinsley planned on swooping me up at noon and showed up at my house at 1, which is actually considered quite punctual when it comes to action-sports filming sessions. Tate had a couple different ideas of where we could get footage, and the crew settled on scouting out an abandoned office complex in the heart of Holladay. I don’t know if Tate had previously scouted out this spot or if we were just exploring virgin territory akin to Ferdinand Magellan aimlessly sailing around the world.

Photo: Jon Tinsley
Photo: Jon Tinsley

Either way, the spot we descended upon was absolutely putrid. Upheaved concrete littered the parking lot along with other chunks of trash. The office-complex doors were unlocked and filled with even more rubbish, and a few dead birds decorated the floor. The atrium in the middle of the complex had old clothes that even the most apathetic junkie would be reluctant to adorn. I started to ponder when the last time I had a tetanus shot was and what being exposed to asbestos would actually feel like. All three buildings looked like they were under construction or maybe getting renovated years ago, and the contractor just said, “Fuck it.”

In other words, it was perfect.

If there ever was a place where no one would care if a kid rode his BMX bike off a roof through an empty skylight and onto a pile of shaky trash, this was it. This sentiment was reinforced when we met the nicest security guard ever, who probably saw a few dudes on the roof from the road, one with a bike and others with cameras. The security guard kindly let us know he was just doing his job by letting us know we were trespassing, mentioned that he used to make skate videos and drove off not giving a fuck.

Currently, Tate is filming a video part for a video called Headlights. The crew has been working on the project for the last two years, and the projected release date is around Christmas this year. Ride BMX Magazine is backing the project, and it’s going straight to iTunes. If you couldn’t guess from the description above, it will be full of raw street-BMX footage.

As fate would have it, everything came together pretty seamlessly for us that day. Fortune favors the bold. Tate got his banger for the video on the third try. Jon took some awesome photos. The lighting was great, the spot wasn’t a bust, and I got to use a super 8 camera for the first time in my life while standing on an abandoned roof—and I totally didn’t drop it.

If you’ve ever been on any sort of skateboard/snowboard/Razor-scooter filming sesh, then you know that this isn’t always the case, whether it’s getting kicked out of the spot by a dickhead rent-a-cop, whether it’s just not your day to land the trick you want or whether it’s weather. But the most important thing is that we all had a fun and positive day. Haha, no—actually, the most important thing is that Tate got the trick he wanted, but a banger like this won’t pop up on his Instagram, @tateroskelley. You’ll have to wait and download Headlights on iTunes to see how awesome we were that day.