Words By: Kelley Rogers
Photos By: John Foy
For most of you out there you have no idea where Old Hangtown is or why there would be a massacre there. Well let me break it down for you real quick. Old Hangtown is now the town of Placerville, located between South Lake Tahoe and Sacramento on Highway 50. Over the years since the California Gold Rush it has had several names. Ole Dry Diggins, Old Hangtown, and finally Placerville. The Old Hangtown name was given to the town because of it’s reputation for a no nonsense approach to criminal activity. During the late 1800’s in this town there was no due process and if you were a criminal or perceived as a criminal and were caught. Well chances are you were going to be hung from an Oak tree near the center of town. Something this town and it’s locals have always prided themselves on. Kind of morbid , neurotic, and narcissistic all at the same time. Nothing says hello like a big sign with a noose on it saying, “Welcome To Old Hangtown”. I guess that’s how we like it here in the mother lode. All of us that live here are “not quite right”.
So now that you’ve had a brief history lesson let’s flash forward to the present. You now know that people from Placerville are all “not quite right” . Which is why we held our 2nd Annual Hangtown Massacre skateboard contest here at our local park Joe’s Skate Park. If you missed the first one and the second one you for sure do not want to miss the next one. The first time we held the massacre it started out as contest, but we quickly realized it was a celebration. A celebration and a chance for us to showcase our park and the scene that we had worked hard to recreate. I say recreate because since 2003 when our park was built we had went through years of ups and downs. This in itself could be a whole other story. Long story short our park was built and we nearly lost it for good. When it opened in 2003 things were good for awhile and then they began to turn bad. Lurkers came in full force and proceeded to take root. No one made them leave so they stayed. For years they were there and the park had a lot of non skateboarding issues. Everything eventually came to a head in the form of violence. So the county made the decision to close the park indefinitely. As skateboarders we had to scramble to save our park. The county threatened to bury the park with bulldozers. We all needed a wake up call and this was it. We had to become activists and learn how to navigate the murky waters of politics. We needed a plan to take back our park and that’s just what we did. We told our county via a mass presentation at a Board of Supervisors meeting what we were willing to do. Basically we took a page from how things are done at Burnside in Portland. It’s been 3 years now and we hold our scene down pretty tight. We are 100% skateboards only, and we have Hangtown Skate Shop on site at the park. Over the last few years we have rebuilt our scene and have created something solid.
So now we hold what is going to become an annual event, The Hangtown Massacre! It’s more than just a skateboard contest. It’s a celebration of skateboarding, music, and art. We first held it in the summer of 2010, taking a break last summer (2011) due to no time and life getting in the way. Well this year Hangtown Skate Shop changed ownership and the decision was made by the new owner(the author) to bring everyone back together and fire the massacre back up. This is a small town, the skate shop is small, and the park is a lot smaller than most parks, but we have BIG ideas. We want to be right in line with the late summer comps such as Chili Bowl, Tim Brauch and The Reterror in Tahoe. We wanted to push the limits of our conservative little foothill town. So this contest was a venue for expression, which is why he have it all. Skating , a metal band , and mutual creativity all spawns one kick ass event, the 2nd Annual Hangtown Massacre.
Tom Bozarth of WARNRV Having a little talk with his mic.
The man Kelly Rogers making his rounds.. Not happy at all..
Jerry Gurney snapping an Ollie north as a Wizard studies his bloody skills.
October 7th 2012 is the day it all went down here in Old Hangtown, a massacre on the concrete. The competition was ran in a series of heats with each skater getting a one minute intro run then a 10 minute all out full park jam. We started off the day with the groms shredding in the early part of the afternoon in the beginner class. They gave it all they had and it was fun to watch the future of skateboarding tear it up. North state ripper out of Red Bluff Logan Marshall took the top spot in beginner, seriously look out for this kid. Followed by local boys Nick Herrera and Kason Thomas(we call him Peanut). It’s safe to say the future is in good hands with these kids out there. Next we had the intermediates out there. These kids definitely began to up the ante. As the kids got bigger so did the energy of the day. We had two heats in this class, and it was a hard call but in the end Hangtown locals Jonas Rogers, Ryan Prince, and Dre Lara all took the top 3 spots. I have to give it up to Placerville local Gabe Duran who entered this class. Gabe’s attempt to snap an ollie down our big bank to flat left him with a broken wrist. That bank is the equivalent of a 14 stair ollie. Ya Gabe, way to massacre yourself, heal up soon and get back at it! Next up was the over 30 division, kind of a masters, a little homage to the older guy. The top 3 spots here were given to local ripper Dave Ribolin taking first place, followed by Tahoe shredder Aaron Kinsman, with all terrain killer Eric Bibelheimer out of Grass Valley taking 3rd. A solid effort was made by everyone in this class, with the winners being well deserved.
Nick Herrera, Logan Marshall and Kason Thomas not knowing what to do with all the product they just won.
Jonas Rogers, Ryan Prince and Dre Lara stoked to be out here and they showed it with there performance.
Dave Ribolin, Aaron Kinsman and Eric Bibelheimer still skating hard as ever.
Reef Willard with a big back 180 into the flat like a boss..
This all led up to the highlight of the day, the open class where $500.00 was on the line. This was going to be a good one, especially with Blood Wizards Jerry Gurney and Jack Given waiting in the wings for a chance to take home the cash. There were also plenty of local rippers like Sinjin Savage awaiting their chance for a quick payday. So to get things fired up we need someone to stoke the skaters and 200+ spectators and lurkers. That came from local band WARNRV. Yes WARNRV does hail from this small town but their sound is anything but small. Drawing on influences from bands like MACHINE HEAD, PANTERA, MASTODON, IRON MAIDEN, etc. they have formed a sound that you would expect to come from a well orchestrated power quartet. WARNRV consists of Jeromy Ray(lead and rhythm guitars and percussion concepts), Grayson Howard(lead and rhythm guitars and percussion concepts), Kenny Utley(primary percussion), and Tom Bozarth(bass, vocals, and percussion concepts). These guys definitely brought the energy level up with their own brand of metal. During their set pre-open class, the park was bumping with an open skate session. We had skaters of all ages jamming around the park in true massacre style. While WARNRV slayed the airwaves, everyone else massacred the crete. It was a classic skate/rock vibe that paved the way for the 2 hour long open semi heats, which eventually led to a final full of wizardry, speed and all out carnage.
Jerry was owning this hip all day.
Jack Given has one of the best grasser's in the biz.. we'ed expect nothing less from a wizard..
Local Sinjin Savage Nose blunts the ledge in his heat run.
Its good to see metal and skateboarding together.. Grayson Howard agrees..
Not sure if Jeromy Ray skates but I didn't care once he started shreding his Axe.
Frankie Hildebrand treflip off the ledge..
The open final had all the makings of what a final in skate contest needed to be. We had wizards, Gurney and Given. Locals Asher Cummings, Reef Willard and Sinjin Savage in the mix. Yuba City slayer and loose as a goose trucks Griffin Clingman made the final too. How he rides those trucks is beyond this guy, but he pulls it off with a smooth style mixing surf, skate, and authority. Gurney was being Gurney rolling around the park busting out all of the tricks in his wizard bag. Airs, boneless to fakie, boneless to nose blunt to fakie, you name he pulled it. Given was cruising the park with his effortless style making it look easy. He had to off blasted one of the biggest backside airs(grassers) that I have ever seen in that park. Sinjin Savage was throwing down too, with all of his knowledge of the park Sinjin really put it down. Busting backside 360’s over the twinkie hip, gaps to tail slide, all with the power and consistency of a true pay your dues masher mentality. The Griff was busy doing his thing with slick backed hair and a James Dean style jacket. Griffin was putting down no comply tail slides with ease. We also had Reef and Asher throwing down some tech savvy lines. All in all everyone of them laid it one the line for a 5 minute jam session. In the end it was “The Wizard” Gurney who took the top spot and the $500.00. Followed by local favorite Sinjin Savage beating out Blood Wizard Jackson Given who took 3rd. Reef, Griffin and Asher completed the line up. All in all a sick final heat that capped off an already sick day full of shredding and good times.
Is that James Dean? Na man! Its Griffin Clingman with an effortless Tail grab.
Rowan Thunder throwing down with the big boys.
I wonder if Jerry was thinking about the 10% rule when he was planting this hip...
Gurney 500$ richer and this years Hangtown Massacre winner..
So if you missed this years massacre your gonna get your chance again next year. So keep your eyes open and ears close to the ground and listen for the murmurings of another massacre in a little town they call Old Hangtown. Come out and join the debauchery, and see what we come up with next. We won’t guarantee much, but we will guarantee a damn good time, and a chance to skate your ass off. So look out for the 3rd Annual Hangtown Massacre next year in October. Many people came together for this event, we had a lot of sponsors and we thank them all, you know who you are. We need to thank our judges, Steve-O, The Salmon, Clay Allison, and Dustin Walker. Also thanks to Cole Baby for holding down the mic all day, gargle with salt water dude. See ya’all next year and in the meantime keep pushing , come by and say hi to us in the shop---
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