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Heads of skate

Old pros, new tricks highlight On Deck III

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The half-dozen C.S. Porter middle-schoolers thrashing at MOBASH Skatepark on a recent Monday evening had no idea about Duane Peters. Steve Olson and Christian Hosoi? Blank stares. Truth be told, they didn’t even know much about the third annual On Deck art show held by the skatepark’s founders, which debuts  Friday, October 5. All they knew is some stranger kept them from catching air, asking a few bothersome questions about a trio of trailblazing legends who helped shape their sport—and who were now extending a helping hand to their local skatepark.

“I have seen Tony Hawk,” one teenage skater finally offered. “I actually saw him twice—once in Spokane and, of course, here.”

It’s indicative of MOBASH’s mounting stature in the national skateboarding community that it’s reputation now extends from current skateboarding stars, such as Hawk, who christened the park last September in front of thousands, to some of the sport’s lesser known but hugely influential founding fathers. The latter connection comes courtesy of Bitterroot resident and early-era skateboarder Randy Katen, who recently helped On Deck organizers hook up with Peters, Olson and Hosoi. Their work is among approximately 50 other local and national artists and skateboarding enthusiasts who donated specially designed boards for the benefit auction.

“These guys are part of the first wave of skateboarding legends,” says Missoula Skatepark Association board member Ross Peterson. “In some ways they’re even more pivotal to skateboarding’s growth than Tony Hawk. I mean, these are the types of guys Tony Hawk probably looked up to when he was growing up.”

Olson and Peters rose to prominence in the early 1980s, and Peters is credited with merging skateboarding and the punk rock countercultures. Nicknamed The Master of Disaster, he created multiple tricks (including the “backside layback roll-out revert” and “the Sweeper”) and fronted such punk bands as US Bombs, Die Hunns and Exploding Fuckdolls. Peters, who has also battled a herroine addiction for nearly a decade, was featured in a 2005 Black Label Skateboards’ biopic titled Who Cares: The Duane Peters Story.

The younger Hosoi was even bigger during the ’80s. A member of Southern California’s Powell Peralta and Dogtown Skateboards teams (popularized with movies such as The Lords of Dogtown), Hosoi, then just 14, went on to win multiple major endorsements and score his own company, Hosoi Skates. He was known for a flashy style and huge aerials, and was often posed as a rival to the more refined Hawk.

“When I was in fourth, fifth and sixth grade, Hosoi was the professional skateboarder,” says MSA board member Andy Kemmis. “Everybody wanted a Hosoi board.”

And now On Deck bidders have a chance to get one. Hosoi, who was nicknamed, among other things, Christ, donated an original board featuring a black-and-white cross set against an exploding red and white background.

In three years, On Deck has become the largest annual fundraiser for MSA, netting $15,000, as well as one of the best-attended and most creative alternative art shows in Missoula. This year’s exhibit, however, features some changes: There will be fewer boards (55 as opposed to nearly 100 last year) and, with MOBASH finally completed, the proceeds will be going to a new cause.

“With the dust settled and the park pretty much paid for, we’re thinking we can use this as an opportunity to help other communities in Montana build new skateparks or expand existing ones,” says Kemmis. “It’s the next step for us.”

The MSA is in the process of changing its name to the Montana Skatepark Association, and using its established network of resources to help promote the sport statewide. At On Deck the board of directors will announce a new grant application process aimed at assisting other cities with building expenses or skateboarding gear. The group feels skateparks are a vital component to communities, and the involvement of some of the sport’s early legends simply underlines their message.

“Skateboarding is really a life-long sport,” says Peterson. “It’s not just for 12-year-olds. I mean, here you have these guys [Olson, Hosoi and Peters] who are in their mid-40s, still skateboarding, still giving back to the sport, and taking the time to help a little city in Montana. They probably have better things to do than help us, but they do. It’s part of the reason we want to keep doing what we’re doing.”

On Deck III is on display one night only, Friday, Oct. 5, beginning at 5 PM, at the Crystal Theatre. Bidding is currently available online at www.missoulaskatepark.org and continues at the event. 

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