Sometime Wednesday afternoon, several of the top skateboarders in America are expected to appear at Missoula's MOBASH Skatepark for a demonstration and skate jam. Exactly when they'll show up, who will show up, what they'll be driving, and how long they stay - those details still aren't clear.
Such is life on the whirlwind Independent 30th Anniversary Tour, a 10-city, 43-day, 40-skater tour sponsored by Independent Trucks, one of the top producers of skateboard truck assemblies. With the company's top sponsored skaters tag-teaming at the various stops of the tour, it's anybody's guess which skateboarders will come to town, or whether the announced time frame of 3-6 p.m. will indeed be the time when the skaters show up at Missoula's riverside skatepark.
"Some of what's happening is still pretty loose," said Chris Bacon, president of the Missoula Skatepark Association, an independent nonprofit that helped raise funds to build the municipally owned skatepark in McCormick Park. "We expect there'll probably be some guys at the park by 1 or 2 (p.m.), and we're hoping they'll hang around and do their thing for several hours. … It's kind of just the nature of how this tour happens."
For local skateboarders, the loose schedule is only a minor inconvenience, considering the quality of the skaters on tap. Thirteen riders are scheduled to appear in Missoula: Darren Navarrette, Jeff Grosso, Chet Childress, Peter Hewitt, Emmanuel Guzman, Sam Hitz, Tony Trujillo, Alex Olson, Grant Taylor, Tosh Townend, "Spanky," Randy Colvin and Brian Anderson.
Bacon said he also heard that Danny Way, one of America's best-known skaters since the 1980s, will show up for the Missoula event.
That's pretty much a who's-who of America's best current skaters, minus Tony Hawk - who already made a MOBASH appearance last year at the park's grand opening.
Judging from the Independent Tour blog (located online at 30thtour. IndependentTrucks.com), the tour has been a major hit at venues across the country, drawing huge crowds from Phoenix to Atlanta. The only casualty: the tour's mascot, a restored 1941 Ford Pickup, which died along the way in Ohio.
Wednesday afternoon's event will, predictably, be a loose affair, with the touring pros mixing it up with any local skateboarders who feel like carving turns in the MOBASH bowls. RedBullSkateboarding.com, a tour co-sponsor, will provide some refreshments, and Independent Trucks will sponsor a barbecue.
The event will likely be featured in an upcoming video, and may be featured as part of a story in Thrasher Magazine, a top skateboarding publication.
"Anybody who feels like it is welcome to come down and skate with them, or just come to watch," said Bacon. "That's the idea; it's not a walled-off performance, it's just people hanging out and having fun for a day. This is what skateboarding is all about."