Jury Duty

“Courts are places where the ending is written first and all that precedes is simply vaudeville.”

– Charles Bukowski

‘To make a quick judgement does not make one right. The wise person looks at both sides of the matter, with fairness, impartiality, watchful of the truth, wisely and without haste.”

– Buddha

Last week I had to report for jury duty and I took the whole affair rather seriously.I was among the group of the first 35 people called to be interviewed. I honestly thought for sure I was going to be selected for the jury as I sat there waiting. When I was called to be interviewed, I was up at the table for a long time.

When asked if I would be more likely to believe the words of a police officer, doctor, teacher, or other “professional” person, I answered not necessarily. People are people first and foremost, regardless of whatever title they may have. I apologized for any disrespect for the decorum of the court and said that once one reaches a certain age, you’ve hopefully developed a pretty finely-tuned bs detector. I rely on mine all of the time.

The assistant DA said that people make judgments about people every day, that I probably made a judgment about each person at the table before I sat down. I told him no, actually I was thinking about how hungry I was, not evaluating everyone at that table.

He pointed out that on the questionnaire I underlined the statement “sitting in judgment” and asked why. That phrase “sitting in judgment” is pretty serious. Perhaps it can be written “Are you able to make a judgment based on hearing both sides of the case?” as opposed to sitting in judgment that connotes the whole judgement and right hand of God sort of  thing.

Sitting in judgment is hard core. It’s a humbling thing to have someone’s life, someone’s destiny in your hands and it is something to be taken very seriously with humility, with fairness. In making judgments it’s important to be “watchful of the truth.”

They didn’t select me for the jury.


Hoping that Memory Serves Me Correctly

Today, one thing became clear: my dad is gone.

He’s still alive but his essential personality and intellect are gone, along with his memory. His spark. My dad was a very smart guy, highly analytical – actually a systems analyst with a finely-honed sense of humor, despite his rather serious, Spock-like exterior. Back in the day, all of us kids in the neighborhood called him Blazing Bob. He could get fired up and he also could fire off. There’s an epic tale that involves my dad chasing my brother and his friends (including my now husband) up the driveway and down the road and he was able to keep pace with the teenagers. My dad doesn’t have Alzheimer’s; Alzheimer’s has him and it’s taken him somewhere none of us can access. And he ain’t never getting out.

I was out by myself and took advantage of a beautiful morning to go in search of some summer footgear on sale. I had coffee, stopped for a couple of donuts and had on Backspin (which, incidentally was spinning some serious classics (Jam on It, by Newcleus; Rappers’ Delight, Sugar Hill Gang; and some Run DMC). Nobody was there to change the channel so I got to sing in the parking lot and I wouldn’t know what I would do if I ever forgot the words, or ever forgot that I ever knew them at all. That’s the kind of crap Alzheimer’s does.

We used to joke around, in moments of forgetfulness, that we had Assheimer’s. It always got a good laugh. This is real and I assure you, it’s not funny at all, although sometimes we do have to laugh at some of the non sequiturs that my dad says ( example: last week he told me that the garbage collided with my husband’s personality). Sometimes when I’m with him he refers to me as his lady friend or companion, and he’s not really sure who I am 100%. Other times, he refers to me by name in my absence, and knows who I am once I am there with him. It’s crazy. Today as I was driving, he reminded me that I was going to stop for gas, prompting me that my turn was coming up. His sense of direction is still pretty good in spite of the fact that he’s just not sure where the heck he’s going most of the time.

“Yesterday’s just a memory, tomorrow is never what it’s supposed to be.” –Bob Dylan

My dad was never a talkative person but since his Alzheimer’s has progressed, he has talked more and more. It’s almost like, if he keeps talking, maybe everything that’s jumbled in his head will all finally be purged, where it can then be rearranged properly and his thoughts will make sense again, each word, a glyph in some anagram written in an ancient tongue. Get that all put back together and life can go back to how it was. How it was.
That’s the even crazier thing. As this effed-up disease progresses [ actually it’s a regression] memories just disappear and then suddenly it affects day to day interaction and the relationship you had with this person is now almost foreign. Communication changes, everything changes and memories keep dissolving. For the rest of us, we don’t have Alzheimer’s but all we have anymore are memories and the present moment. The future is coming and parts of it aren’t pretty.

Alzheimer’s will most likely take him permanently. The journey to that place, my friends, will have some pretty dark moments for everyone it touches. I wonder if my dad knows that this disease wants to keep taking anything that’s left of him – of who he is. Does he understand it on any level at all? Does he have any sort of meta-cognition to stop and have a flash of “oh my gosh, I am losing it rapidly every day, whoa, stop this thing I want to get off!”

Trust me, Alzheimer’s isn’t a complete joyride for my mom, either.

My husband called me as I was on the way home and told me that he had just ran into my mom at the grocery store near us, that she looked completely disheveled (sorry, Mom for divulging that and don’t put my hubby back in mother-in-law purgatory for saying that!). My father jumped out of the car as she pulled into a spot out front and got away from her. Hearing this, I felt my knees weaken and I felt nauseous. My mother went into the store and in some cosmic serendipity, there was my husband checking out. She explained what happened, that Dad didn’t want to go to his day program [ read: day care] so he kept threatening to open the car door and jump out, so she turned around to pull into Community Market and that’s when he bailed.

They found my dad a few minutes later wandering down near the liquor store. I know what you’re thinking: the old guy remembered where the liquor store was. Not at all. Actually, my dad was a pretty healthy guy. Didn’t drink much. Occasional smoker, who stopped eons ago. Basically, gave up his fun and his vices to do the dad thing and now look at the mess he’s in. Maybe he’d have been better off to loosen up a bit more. He probably remembers that part now: “Shit, I just remembered, I forgot to have more fun.”

Alzheimer’s Crazy Train

I met my parents at my house and told my mom to go do her errands and her thing; Dad could run to take my daughter for her check-up. In the car, Ozzy’s Crazy Train came on the Boneyard and I couldn’t help but observe the irony of the whole scenario. My husband’s dad has been having health problems and that right there, is a whole other story, which I’ll have to go into another time perhaps.

Hammock Generation

So it’s another day my book is on hold to attend to kids and parents. I’ve heard about this (oh God, I forget the right word!) Sandwich Generation, but I’ll additionally call it the Hammock Generation. Our parents and kids anchor us, and we try to support it all in the center, balance it, with nothing but air to buoy us. It’s all about balance. Everything. If you’ve got somebody to help it makes the balancing easier or at least more pleasant, then that’s excellent.

“Right now I’m having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I’ve forgotten this before.”  ― Steven Wright
When I took Dad home, Mom was there and as she looked around for something, she cheerfully declared, ” I live with a crazy man and a dog that has diarrhea! So how was your day?” It’s got to be hard. And I’m sure there are times of total despair and frustration that my mother probably wants to scream, in hope that perhaps the scream will drive out the things, the mind-snatchers, or if she would scream loud enough, my Dad would hear her clearly. Her words will all makes sense, and he’ll come back already. Her husband, her partner, is gone. Most of the time my mom is pretty patient and zen-like. She wasn’t always very patient when we were kids and most likely, we didn’t deserve a lot of patience. God saved the gift of patience for when she became “Nana” and now when she really needs it. I’m not sure how I’d cope if I were in her shoes. I’m considering re-negotiating my marriage contract to clarify that “In sickness and in health” does not include Alzheimer’s and the disease should be banned from all humanity. I told my husband that should I get in that condition, to put me out of my misery.

Dad became agitated again, after being relatively calm all afternoon. He got angry and accused Mom of calling him stupid. He was upset about my daughter and her friends dancing in the front yard. He wondered what the German Shepherd was doing out front (I actually have a German Shepherd, but he wasn’t at my parents’ house at that time), and was just generally anxious and annoyed. At one point before I left, he showed me his Mind Start  puzzles. He pointed out one that he said was really tough. It has 26 pieces.

Savor the Present

My kids are 11 and 14, brother and sister, and sometimes they bicker and fight. As I made the bed this morning, one of the early shows had some footage of Jack and Kelly Osbourne battling it out and it hit a bit too close to home so I shut it off. This evening as I sat on the bed and hung out with my husband we could hear our kids playing/arguing/fighting in the other room and since we were still feeling a bit of the edge of this whole day, we got a little annoyed. Then we stopped. Suddenly it was like we both zoomed out over the whole series of the day’s events and could see it telescoped. Everything came into focus and that moment was suspended in time, in perfection with all of its imperfections.
I knew with complete conviction that I would rather be here in this house, this space, right now in this moment. Our kids are here. We are all together, safe and healthy. When it’s gone and we look back ( in anticipation that we have our faculties and are able to reflect) we will remember and know just how perfect this is right now. In the future, we can sit with the remembrance from time to time, when the house is quiet except for the clear and reassuring whisper from this and other memories.

“Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.” – Kevin Arnold

Philly Am: East Coast Shredfest (and the kid in the green hat)

Kevin Liedtke shredded home turf  to win the Philly Am in the Sponsored division on Saturday May 5, 2012. There were 245 skateboarders in five divisions at Ambler Skate Plaza, in one of the East Coast’s biggest and best Am events.

Philly Am Rocked 

Spectators gather by the reflecting pool along the side of the course at Ambler Skate Plaza

After getting 2 hours of sleep Friday night, we got up and headed from Pittsburgh across PA to the City of Brotherly Love (of Skate) – Philly. It was 85 degrees in Pittsburgh on Friday and was supposed to be sort of warm in Philly Saturday, May 5. It was about 55 degrees, damp and breezy. I wore a blanket that we keep in the car as a shawl for the greater part of the day. The rain from the night before created a gnarly water hazard along the side of the course, and  many boards went airborn into the drink, just to keep it even more interesting. Ambler Skate Plaza, is beautiful. So many fresh, buttery features and so many kids there to tear it up. It was one of the most organized and efficiently-run amateur skateboarding events I have ever attended and I’ve been to some crazy ones, some with epic skate warm ups/ sessions throughout to give organizers time to regroup and get their excrement consolidated or whatever. But I digress.

When we go to skate events,  there is the knowledge that you are among friends and the atmosphere is relaxed in that strong sense of  comfort. At one point in the morning, as I was taking pictures and drinking coffee, the dj cranked out the Ramones and I knew that if I would happen to die right then and there, I would be exiting this life extremely happy. Just push me out on a skateboard to the coroner’s vehicle, (and bury me clutching a vintage Thrasher wearing my old Zero shirt, that’s all I ask). Dan and I had a great time hanging out and watching the skaters throw down and we enjoyed getting to spend time with our son. The event was first class and super fun and there were so many nice people there, so it was a perfect day– given that the coroner never had to show up to cart me out, and there weren’t any serious injuries, much to the delight of all present…

I was going to network, chat people up, and all that good stuff, but after some reflection on that, I knew it was more appropriate to be there 100% to support Shean. It’s a mom thing and ya can’t argue with that ( Don’t even think about arguing! I won’t have any of that backtalk from any of you guys!)

Whoops!! See that: I just slip out of and back into the Mom thing  like a shape-shifter…but now that the event is over, I cannot resist shifting back into work mode to scribble out a few words about the Philly Am. It’s an obsession and I’m relentless.

The skating was rad and I am proud to report that Shean (aka Shane Rock  or the “kid in the green hat”) skated really well, so fluidly, so in the zone. He made the finals and finished in the top 10 in the Intermediate division.

Not bad for a kid from Pittsburgh coming into hostile (read: Flyers) territory.

They had good words about Shean’s skating, too:

“He’s finding some nice lines on this course”

“The kid in the green hat is just killin’ this course”

“Did you see that feeble? That was perfect!”

“Back tail on the marble ledge, was that a shuv out? What was that anyway?!”




From ThreeSixteen Skate

(245) Philly AM Skate Competitors

Top 12 |Sponsored 73 skaters

1. Kevin Liedtke – Ambler Skate Shop
2. Matt Militano – Fairmans Skate Shop
3. Dylan Sourbeer – The Armory Skate Shop
4. Jeremy Murray
5. Nate Pezillo
6. Tore Bevino
7. Ronnie Kessner
8. Ian Smith
9. Kyle Nicholson
10. Shane Colville
11. Corey Huber
12. John Tuck

Top 3 | 30 and over 8 skaters

1. Mike McGuire
2. Mitch Hartman
3. Jesse Clayton

Top 5 (Advanced) 63 skaters

1. Joe Uva
2. Justin Adenirian
3. Matt Giovanni
4. Toly Bitny
5. Ryan Losito

Top 5 | Intermediate 61 skaters

1. Jason Nam
2. Brandon Schiff
3. Ethan Todt
4. James Coleman
5. Adam Soloman

Top 5 | Grom 13 and under 40 skaters

1. Destin Adeniran
2. Jason Nam
3. Nick Weber
4. George Correjo
5. Nate Paugh

Footy from the Sponsored division

Thanks to Ambler Skate Plaza, ThreeSixteen, Ambler Skate Shop, Reign Skate, and everyone who made Philly Am a great event. Congrats to all the winners (woo hoo!) & all the skaters killin’ it!

Loving the Spam

Every once in a while I get spam that I have to share and here’s another!
I love how this one goes ahead and makes the assumption that I’m not “popular” (compared to what? anonymous spammers?) and that I know what I’m talking about.

I can just say what a relief to find somebody that actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You certainly understand how to bring an issue to light and earn it important. The best way to must look at this and understand this side from the story. I cant believe you are not popular because you definitely contain the gift.

Wow. I’m so touched.

Red Bull Rampage 2010 – Zink, Atherton and Bearclaw Tore It Up!

Another article for Suite that was deleted so I’m including it here for safekeeping.
Red Bull Rampage returned with a vengeance in the hellish terrain of Virgin, Utah where Cam Zink nailed the victory and with it, the FMB World Champ title.
Red Bull Rampage, undoubtedly the most intense freeride mountainbike comp finally returned, bringing together 21 of mountain biking’s best riders battling it out with each other while contending with wild weather. Cameron Zink (USA) took home the win, the Best Trick award and sewed up the first ever Freeride Mountain Bike (FMB) Champ title.

The event began earlier in the week with riders getting to check out the course, plan out lines and practice like crazy for three days before the qualifiers on Friday. There were 23 riders vying for 10 slots and an opportunity to ride against the 12 pre-qualified riders in the finals on Sunday, October 3, 2010. The pre-qualified riders were the top 15 from the 2008 Red Bull Rampage – the last time the event was held – minus three riders out with injuries. Rampage follows the Freeski model of riding and judging in four categories: line difficulty, fluidity, air and amplitude, and style.

Red Bull Rampage 2010 – Cam Zink Takes It

Cameron Zink finished up an amazing 2010 season by topping it off with the Red Bull Rampage title. Zink had a consistent season and for his efforts, he also won the first ever overall FMB Champ title. The trick that sealed the deal at Rampage was his huge 360 drop off the Oakley Icon Sender on the treacherous course. “Being the Red Bull Rampage champion is a dream,” Zink said after the event. “I won Crankworx twice and that’s something on its own, but this is one of the first real mountain biking contests ever. To win it is the most amazing thing in the world.” Zink took fifth place at the Red Bull Rampage in 2008.

On his first run of the finals, Zink went for the 360 off the Oakley Icon Sender, a rotation 30 feet out and 40 feet down. He nailed his line on the top ridge and then catapulted off the sender, going in a perfect rotation for the 360. The landing was sketchy and he came down a tiny bit sideways which brought him down hard and dazed him on the crash. Unbelievably, Zink attempted the 360 on his second run; he dialed in a perfect rotation, stuck his landing and rode to the finish straight into the lead.

Red Bull Rampage 2010 Results

The riders included returning competitors as well as rookies, and they represented different styles – hardcore freeriders, big-mountain legends, downhill racers, and slopestyle trick-oriented riders. Although the field was heavily Canadian, seven countries and three continents were represented.

Cameron Zink (USA) 89.2
Gee Atherton (England) 82.4
Darren Berrecloth (Canada) 81.2
Andreu Lacondeguy (Spain) 79.0*
Geoff Gulevich (Canada) 77.2
Thomas Vanderham (Canada) 76.6
Robbie Bourdon (Canada) 76.0
Kyle Strait (USA) 75.6
Logan Binggeli (USA) 74.8
Kurt Sorge (Canada) 73.0
Alex Prochazka (Canada) 72.2
Tyler McCaul (USA) 71.8*
Graham Agassiz (Canada) 71.0
Cedric Gracia (France) 70.4
Greg Watts (USA) 65.6*
Michal Marosi (Czech Republic) 64.2
Jamie Goldman (USA) 63.8*
Curtis Robinson (Canada) 62.4*
* Rookies

Berrecloth, (Bearclaw) broke bones in his hand in early August at the Monster Energy Slopestyle at Kokanee Crankworkx in Whistler, BC and was questionable for Red Bull Rampage. Not only did his hand heal but he was tough as ever, taking third with a awesome run in the finals. He laid down a line he tried unsuccessfully in 2008 complete with wallride, direction changes and a huge 360 drop at the end for redemption and a spot on the podium.

Red Bull Rampage History

Red Bull Rampage began in 2001 and was held annually in Virgin, Utah through 2004. Right away, it became the preeminent freeride mountain bike event. Red Bull Rampage is staged on some of the most fierce and frightening terrain on the planet. The contest has always been one where riders get to bring their creativity to freeride mountain biking. Riders choose their runs, or lines between a start gate and a finish line which lies some 1,500 feet below vertically on three ridges of trails, gaps, canyons and cliffs.

After a hiatus during which a new venue was sought, in 2008 the Rampage returned to Utah. The competition included the natural course features of the punishing landscape and added wooden launching send-offs. Again for 2010, the event organizers tried to find an alternative site for the event, but none could compare to the unique terrain and conditions in Utah. Derek Westerlund, Red Bull Rampage Event Media expressed this, “We travelled all over the world looking for another place as unique as Utah to pull a bigger, better, badder Rampage. We were scouring the planet, nothing’s as cool as Utah. … it’s the perfect place to throw down on a mountain bike.”

Red Bull Rampage Course Changes for 2010

“We continued some of the concepts from ’08, making stuff bigger and cleaner with better transitions,” says Event Director Todd Barber. “We learned from some of the stuff that didn’t quite work as well as anticipated in ’08 – we just tweaked it and made it better.” New for 2010 was the Oakely Icon Sender, a chute that sends and drops riders 30 feet out and 40 feet down to a landing. The course also included other wooden take-offs and some dirt doubles scattered along the course. The gnarly 60-foot canyon gap feature was part of the course again but included a step-up landing and steeper transition, giving riders more options for throwing tricks into their lines.

To watch a video with some of the history of Rampage and to get info and highlights from the 2010 Rampage, visit Red Bull Rampage. For bike junkies that need other news, photos, and videos, be sure to pay a visit to PinkBike.com, where there is an absolutely insane point-of-view video of Bearclaw’s run that gives fans the vertiginous sensation of taking the ride down the course as a rider experiences the Rampage.


Skateboarding Hall of Fame’s First Inductees

Another article being cleaned out by Suite and I’m saving it electronically here.

Profiles on the first group of skaters to be inducted into the Skateboarding Hall of Fame


On October 24, 2009 The International Association of Skateboard Companies (IASC) along with hundreds from the skate community inducted four skateboarders, one representing skateboarding from each decade from the 1960s to the 1990s, into the new Skateboarding Hall of Fame. The official inaugural celebration was held at the Vans Skatepark in Orange, CA.

Bruce Logan – representing skateboarding in the 1960s

Bruce Logan was a skate pioneer in the 1960s. He was known as the “Skateboard Wizard” and he blazed a trail for all other skateboarders who were brave – or crazy enough to follow him. He created his own skateboard in the 1950s using a 2 x 4 and metal roller skates. He used the board to bomb hills doing sidewalk surfing or “surf skate” and he became one of the first professional skateboarders.

Logan was on the first skate team in 1963 that was put together by Larry Stevenson, founder of Makaha Skateboards, one of the earliest companies in the industry. Later, Logan and his brother Bruce began their own company, Logan Earth Ski, which became one of the biggest skateboard companies in the 1970s and 1980s. In both 1975 and 1976 Logan was the World Champion Skateboarder.

Tony Alva – representing skateboarding in the 1970s

Tony Alva skated with Bruce Logan on the Makaha/Logan Earth Ski team early in his career. In the 1970s Alva, along with his crew the Z-Boys, invented many tricks – above all pool riding. The Z-Boys revolutionized the sport, carving both pools and a niche for what became extreme sports, and helping to create the skate culture. Alva is considered the originator of vertical skateboarding.

Alva won Men’s World Overall Skateboard Championship in 1977; in 1999 he won the X Games Lifetime Achievement Award; and in 2000, the Legend Award from Transworld Skateboard Magazine. He was featured in the Sundance and Independent Spirit award-winning documentary “Dogtown and Z-Boys” (2002). Tony Alva lent his expertise a consultant and stunt coordinator on the Sony film, “Lords Of Dogtown” (2005), based on the Z-Boys. Tony Alva continues to own and operate the Alva Skateboard Company in Oceanside, CA.

Tony Hawk – representing skateboarding in the 1980s

Tony Hawk, The Birdman, turned pro when he was 14 and by the time he was 16 he was the best skateboarder in the world. His father Frank created the National Skateboard Association (NSA) and the California Amateur Skateboard League. The NSA and its high-profile contests contributed to the growth of skateboarding in the 1980s. Hawk invented many tricks, among them the 900 which he was the first to land at the X Games on July 27, 1999 on his 12th attempt.

In the early 1990s when skateboarding saw another ebb in popularity, he created Birdhouse Projects, a skateboard and skate accessories company. Hawk also helped pioneer skate’s entry into video games with the 1999 Activision collaboration Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater for PlayStation. Since then, the THPS series has become one of the best-selling video-game franchises of all time. Hawk gives back to skateboarding with his Tony Hawk Foundation, which promotes the sport by helping to finance public skateparks in low-income areas, and has distributed over $3,000,000 to non-profit groups building skateparks throughout the U.S.

Danny Way – representing skateboarding in the 1990s

Danny Way redefined the boundaries of skateboarding by creating and dominating the Mega Ramp: a large ramp with a 62-ft drop in to a 70-ft gap to a 27-ft 3-in quarterpipe, which spawned Big Air, the X Games event, in its seventh year in 2010. Way persuaded ESPN to bring the mega ramp to the 2004 X Games. He won the gold medal in the Big Air contest 2004, 2005 and 2006. His terrifying 20 foot free- fall and crash landing in the 2008 X Games is legendary; he was checked by paramedics, then returned, winning the Big Air silver medal. In the 2009 X Games, Way won the gold in the debut of the Big Air Rail Jam.

Way has the distinction of holding records in the Guinness Book of World Records. In 2005 he became the first person to jump the Great Wall of China on a skateboard, breaking the world skateboarding record for distance. He holds the record for height out of skateboard ramp which he set on his newly designed Mega Ramp in 2003. Way also holds the record for longest distance jumped on a skateboard set at the Big Air event at the 2004 X Games. In November 2008, he set the skateboarding speed record when he was towed by a car at 74.5 miles per hour. Way is the only person to be awarded Thrasher Magazine’s Skater of the Year in 1994 and 2004.

All four skaters contributed to skateboarding in unique ways and continue to be active as athletes or advocates for the sport.

More Old Article Rescue -Transworld Skateboarding Awards – 12th Annual Skate Honorees

Another outdated article taken down at Suite101 in the house cleaning. In an effort to electronically hoard my articles it’s now on my blog.


The 12th Annual TransWorld SKATEboarding Awards were bestowed on Tuesday, June 15, 2010. This is one of the industy’s major awards; eight awards in all were presented. Presiding over the event was TransWorld’s publisher, Jamey Stone and also holding it down were SkatePark of Tampa’s Brian Schaefer and Pat Duffy, which made for an entertaining event! In addition to recognizing and honoring skateboarding’s stand-outs, there was also a premiere for the new skate vid, Hallelujah!

There were many luminaries of skate in attendance including Jimmy Carlin, Daniel Castillo, Chad Fernandez, Rodney Johnson and Chico (Give Me My Money!) Brenes.

The evening’s most poignant moment came when Eric Stricker’s widow, Arnette Stricker introduced the awards ceremony. It hasn’t even been a year since the TWS editor and skate guru’s passing and it was touching that she was included and it was great that she was there to represent her husband.

The award winners were determined by polling over 150 professional skateboarders worldwide. The legions of TransWorld SKATEboarding’s readers voted for the winner of the TWS Readers’ Choice Award.

Winners of the 12th Annual TransWorld SKATEboarding Awards

  • Best Rookie Award went to Brandon Westgate. Westgate was up against Grant Taylor and Luan Oliveira.
  • Best Video Part Award was presented to Grant Taylor for his part in the Nike SB classic, Debacle. The nominees for Best Video Part included Zered Bassett – State Of Mind (Zoo York) and Bob Burnquist – Extremely Sorry (Flip)
  • Best Team Award went to the Flip Team.The nominees for this category also included Sk8mafia and Zoo York, but Flip pulled it out!
  • The Award for Best Street Skater went to Chris Cole, who has been winning a lot of things this year and wasn’t at the event, possibly recovering form the recent Maloof NYC victory or off winning something else … . The nominees for Best Street Skater included Dennis Busenitz, and Zered Bassett.
  • The Best Transition Award was presented to Grant Taylor. The other nominees for Best Transition were Bob Burnquist and Jake Brown.
  • Best Video went to Flip’s Extremely Sorry, a slice of skate heaven that took five years to make and includes a slew of amazing footy from Burnquist, Caples, Gonzalez, Oliveira, Mountain, and even more. The competition was tight and included the nominees Zoo York’s State Of Mind, and the Sk8mafia Am Video.
  • The Readers’ Choice went to the inimitable Lizard King, who upon his acceptance screamed “I fucking deserve this!” And most agree that he did indeed deserve it and that is why so many readers voted for him! The other nominees for Readers’ Choice were Chris Cole and Sean Malto.

TWS Legend Award

The TWS Legend Award for 2010 was awarded to one of skateboarding’s most influential skaters, Matt Hensley, pioneer of street tech in the late 80s and early 90s (remember H Street’s Shackle-Me-Not?).

In addition to his skating career, Hensley is also known for his accordion playing in the band, Flogging Molly. Hensley was at the event with his lovely wife, Desiree Hensley. Previous winners of the prestigious TWS Legend Award include Mark Gonzales, Tony Hawk, Christian Hosoi, and Lance Mountain.

Sure, there are skaters and videos who were conspicuous in their absence, and awardees that maybe not everyone agrees on, but the bottom line is, TWS Awards was a celebration of skaters and people within the industry and fans voted, so it’s all good. The disagreements about who won awards should fuel some pretty decent debates for some time.

Hallelujah Video Premiere

Transworld’s 22nd film, Hallelujah a brand spanking new video by Jon Holland and Chris Ray, starrring the skate stylings of the always amazing Ryan Decenzo, Pete Eldridge, Torey Pudwill, Taylor Bingaman, and Tyler Bledsoe, was also premiered at the end of the evening. It was the unofficial end of the event – then the after party began, so it all really wasn’t over for some time after the video, as the party went on into the night. Congrats to all of the winners!

Stephen Murray Stay Strong – a Brand and Life Message of BMX Rider (another article of mine cleaned out by Suite)

“When you think there is nothing left, reach within and dig deeper.” – Stephen Murray


At the final stop of the 2010 Dew Tour in Las Vegas, BMX riders wore STY SRG shirts to honor BMX rider TJ Lavin, who was injured during prelims. Lavin is well-known not only for his BMX riding, but as the host of MTV’s The Challenge. Just the day before Lavin’s crash, BMX rider Ty Pinney crashed on TJ Lavin’s backyard dirt course and ended up a few beds away from Lavin’s in the same trauma unit! All weekend, the STY SRG shirts showed unity among the BMX community and support for Lavin and Pinney and also paid homage to the man who began the STY SRG or Stay Strong credo, BMX rider Stephen Murray.

Fast Forward

ESPNs Brian Tunney recently wrote about how the new technology, Tobii PCEye has partnered with Murray to help him to regain his freedom and bring that freedom to others with spinal cord injuries  via the computer. Tobii PCEye utilizes eye-tracking movement to navigate through the computer desktop and scroll through documents and the internet.

Stephen Murray – Inspired BMX Rider

June 22, 2012 marked the fifth anniversary of professional BMX dirt rider Stephen Murray’s life-changing accident in the Dew Tour that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. His life has been improving after dealing with medical complications, divorce, and day to day challenges. He is always looking forward, keeping a positive outlook and representing his life message in every sense of the phrase, STAY STRONG. Although his riding career ended, his BMX career is still very vital. He was always one of the most intense and talented riders, and would say regarding his style, “I go 110%, go big and send it!”

Stephen Murray Injured in Dew Tour Crash

In 2006, Murray had a bad crash at the Dew Tour finals but did not suffer major injuries. After lying on the dirt course for a few minutes, he stood up and threw his helmet into the air in defiance. What happened in his crash in June 2007 at the BMX Dirt Finals at the Dew Tour, in Baltimore, Maryland was not as fortuitous and changed his life forever. As he was completing a double back-flip on the last set of jumps on the dirt course, Stephen crashed. Instead of getting the full rotations, he bailed out, and only made 1 1/2 rotations. He landed on his head, breaking his neck, and he stopped breathing.

Stephen was revived and rushed to the local ER. It was quoted as being “one of the worst crashes seen in BMX” and it ended his career; he was only 27 years old and a father to two small boys. Stephen was transported to University of Maryland Medical Centre Shock Trauma Unit. He had flat-lined in the ambulance and again after reaching Shock Trauma, where medication was administered to bring him back. He had two 7-hour surgeries and his doctors confirmed the worst: Stephen had crushed his 3, 4 and 5 cervical vertebrae and suffered severe damage to his spinal cord. Stephen Murray, professional athlete was paralyzed from the shoulders down. His parents admitted, “Initially it wasn’t the news of Stephen being paralyzed that frightened us, but [wondering] if our Stephen would make it through the night.”

Steven Murray – A Force in BMX

The mental determination that helped Murray to be such a formidable competitor in BMX is helping him to stay strong as he continues on his life ‘s journey. Stephen has been featured in an installment of Firsthand, a FuelTV series that focuses on individuals in extreme sports. The show explored how a split-second error forever changed his life. The interview examined his day-to-day life and his deep focus, as well as his dedication to helping others and staying a strong force in BMX.

Murray donates money from Stay Strong to prizes in various BMX events, like Red Bull Stomping Grounds Best Trick and the annual Trails is Shouting at The Compound, a Pro/Am BMX event. Some funds from Stay Strong are even being donated toward stem cell research as well. There are BMX events that help benefit Stay Strong and Stephen Murray, including the annual Stay Strong Stephen Murray Jam in the UK.

Transworld RideBMX has a great video from the fourth annual Stephen Murray Jam that was in September at Jay Alianos’ trails in Upton upon Severn in the UK. There was amazing riding and Stephen Murray was there as the guest of honor.

Stephen Murray Extreme Sports Athlete

Stephen Murray moved the United States from Newcastle, Great Britain over 10 years ago, to ride and compete with the best athletes in BMX. He came to the US originally as a BMX racer, but quickly took to Dirt Jumping and Freestyle in the scene of Huntington Beach and Sheep Hills in California. A tough competitor, he was known for his aggressive and fluid style that included his signature double back flips, 360 back flips, turndown back flips and much more.

In 2001 and 2002, he won Gold Medals in BMX Dirt Jumping at the X Games and Golds at the Gravity Games. He would continue on winning numerous titles throughout his professional BMX career. Stephen fought his way to the top of his sport and he continues his fight today; to one day hold his children and one day walk again.

Stay Strong BMX Gear and Apparel

Initially, the accident took away Stephen’s mobility and independence, and if that wasn’t bad enough, he lost his health insurance, his marriage, and his home. The help Murray gets from Stay Strong keeps his children and himself with a roof over their heads and maintains his round the clock care and rehabilitation.

Stephen Murray’s brand, STAY STRONG, began with a t-shirt and charity bracelet and has since evolved into a major business and charitable venture. The products still include the t-shirts and other apparel, but have expanded to include BMX accessories and equipment. The most important thing about Stay Strong is its positive life message. To purchase Stay Strong gear and apparel in the US, go to Dan’s Comp , contact ExtremeSponsors.com or check out the Stay Strong site where donations are accepted for the Stephen Murray Family Fund, too.

Murray’s Injury Inspired Creation of ARF

Injuries like Stephen Murray’s and other extreme sports athletes’ led to the creation of the Athlete Recovery fund, or ARF. Any individuals or businesses interested in supporting the ARF by donation can check out the details at the ARF website. It’s a seriously good cause; these athletes bring fans incredible excitement and enjoyment, so it’s important to support them, too.