WORDS Haydon Reese & Erick Barrandey PHOTOS Erick Barrandey
It stared about six months ago, when after a couple years of talking about doing a race out on this one hill in San Marcos (which is about thirty minutes south of Austin and the home of Texas State University) I decided to finally just say fuck talking, let’s make this happen! I had to start working directly with the city, the police department, and the fire marshal to get all the permits and other things we needed to make it a legit race (it ended up being classified as a “festival for skateboarding”). I am also the philanthropy chairman of my fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, and to help get the funding and the manpower to run the event we made it our charity fundraiser for the fall semester. The local skate shop Texas Skate was also pivotal in making it all happen because they gave us the insurance that covered the event that was the final step in getting the Hoedown approved. And that is pretty much all the background of how the race happened. Now for the race.
On the day of, I started to get a little skeptical as to whether anyone was going to show because there was a 100% chance of rain from 9AM till 8PM. When no one showed by the sign-in time, I must say, I was shittin’ bricks. But sure enough, they were all just operating on skater-time and an hour after everyone was supposed to be there they all showed up. When the race finally started it was drizzling during the practice and into the heats, but then all hell broke loose and the rain came down in sheets so thick it looked like fog—no one had seen shit like this since Noah, but that’s just when the fun began! All the riders adopted this come hell or high water (literally) attitude and could not be stopped. I even had a few riders come back and register just so they could be a part of the madness. One of the riders, Zach Piccolo, came up with mud and bits of mulch stuck to his face and just yelled “This is the best race I’ve ever been a part of!” Seeing as he has been to Maryhill a few times I though it was a pretty nice complement. Then the insanity of the whole thing was punctuated by the fact that the old riverbed that runs parallel to the road flooded over and made about an 8 inch deep stream of rushing flash-flood water across the entire road and blocked the finish line. But instead of calling it quits, the riders elected to make the flood the new finish line an they ran the last three heats across the rushing pool of water. There were more crashes than you could count on your hands, and toes, but everyone there knew that what happened that day could never be duplicated and pain, ruined shoes, shirts , and board was just part of the sacrifice we all had to make for this once in a lifetime experience.
From my vantage point I could barely see the riders coming down the hill through my lens as I was being pelted with rain. I had to trust my positioning; I knew they had to pass my point being that I was at the finish line, which now had become a Class 4 rapids. I could only imagine what the riders were seeing—or not seeing—at speeds in excess of 40 MPH. Exposure was a mess as the rain was reflecting nothing but light and shooting wide open at 2.8 was a nightmare trying to focus on riders as the rain kept stealing it away. I was leaning forward standing my ground in rushing water that was up to my knees. -Erick Barrandey
Despite the conditions, the event surprisingly went off without a hitch with everyone pitching in. Greg Noble and the Team NoBull crew helped out with the event and showed up in full-force as usual. Greg manned the starting line in his typical loud fashion adding stoke and efficiency to the torrential chaos. Needless to say, at the end of the day everyone raced hard and many sacrifices were made to the rain gods. Levi Dane was one of the gnarly stories of the race. Charging hard Levi lost control and ended up slamming a curb, breaking 6 ribs and puncturing his lung. That of course didn’t stop him from sitting around in pain to watch the finals before catching a ride to the hospital. -Erick Barrandey
1. Chris Cade
2. Jake Sharp
3. Darby Deming
Haydon Daniel Reese and Cody Hobbs, Phi Kappa Tau, Rudy’s BBQ, Texas Skate Skate Shop, Waterloo Wheels, Carve Skate Shop, Blood Orange, Cloud Ride, Mighty Fine Burgers, Comet Skateboards, Caliber Truck Co, Bomb Squad, Kryptonics, Orangatang, Arbor Skateboards, Loaded Boards, and Team Nobull.