Friday, July 29th, 2016 the first ever “King of the Zoo” skate video competition kicked off. A total bite on Thrasher Magazine’s “King of the Road” series, skaters were given a booklet of challenges that they had 48 hours to complete. The book, consisting of mostly skate based challenges, included tribute challenges to local skaters, hijinks challenges, spot challenges and so fourth. In the end, the team with the most points would be named the winners; their prize was all the entry money and an insane amount of glory to be the first ever “Kings of Kalamazoo”.
Given the nature of such a fiasco the organizers did not involve any brand or shop sponsorship. Some of the challenges could be interpreted as illegal and quite frankly gross, so needless to say, if shit hit the fan they wanted to keep the legal ramifications to a minimum. “ What if someone dies or what if someone gets arrested?” these were all real concerns, but in the end organizers threw caution into the wind and just fucking did it anyways. No one really had any idea if this would go off or just be a total bust. I was fortunate enough to be with the organizers as we rolled up to the spot where teams were to gather, pay entry, and receive their book of challenges. By this time I was really excited and very emotionally invested in the event. I really thought the whole thing was brilliant. It’s by no means an original idea, but it is far superior to any other type of lame-o skate event that has happened around here in the past. It was in fact, actually… brilliant.
Upon arrival of the secret meeting spot there was a group of maybe seven kids waiting. My heart sunk as I felt like it was a bust. No one knew how to advertise and organize for this. As mentioned, nobody really wanted his or her name attached to it in case there was trouble, so it was all word of mouth. The initial feeling was that of disappointment. I immediately started to think of ways to help recover or say sorry to the small slew of kids who came expecting one of the best weekends ever.
After sitting and chilling with a few of the youngsters I prepared a “well shit” speech. The moment I began to lay the groundwork for the soft let down a car rolled up, then another, then another, and another. After a parade of medium quality whips banging a variety of music with people of various ages hanging out the windows arrived, forty-six contestants were present; all just way amped beyond belief to be a part of this and entirely fucking pumped to get the show on the road. It wasn’t just average skate Joes that came to play; we had the area’s best show up to get after it. I felt a large release of stress exit my body realizing that with this number of contestants putting in $10 each the pot became close to $500. Not only is this amount of cash enough incentive to make skate kids go buck, but was pretty damn good for a first crack at this type of thing.
After the registration, a brief announcement from the organizers to place in an attempt to clarify any questions and to let people know who should be called in case a situation occurred, like not being able to find a spot or whatever else. The entire event was honest, up front, and for the most part, fair. Out of town folk had a bit of a disadvantage for sure compared to local kids, but all spots either had addresses, pictures, or both. Each team received the book at the same time and from there they were cut loose the evidence of which you can find below.
In order of placement, ladies and gentleman I present the kings of Kzoo….
1st Place : DURT SQUAD
MVP : Zack Alworden.
Durt Squad was probably the most stacked team in the contest, so it was really no surprise that they won. Each member was physically willing and able to go out and get points; none of them giving a single fuck. The edit is entertaining and totally enjoyable. Typically when videos approach this length it becomes sort of ‘meh’, but this one immediately grabs the viewer and keeps them through the whole twenty-plus minutes. The only bummer is that they did not capture the massive spill team member Drew Endres took bombing “Spice & Rice”; landing him in the hospital which would have got them the “Hall of Meat” points. Durt Squad also missed the points for the “Bees Nest Challenge” and “Un-Knobbing a Skate Spot”; both were attempted in video. The team did earn points for “Smallest Rail” and “Worst Trick into Double Banks” (which, by the way, was the toughest “best of” trick to judge, but team member Tevin Lee just did the worst trick ever. Lol.)
2nd Place : PONY BOYS
Edit : Ian Holcomb
Point Total : 2990
Evan & Ethan Findling
MVP : Corey Obrien
Second place belonged to the rowdy youngsters group, Pony Boys. I had high hopes for these guys to come through with the upset, but they weren’t able to pull it off. Kalamazoo’s skateboarding future is right here and despite their loss they came through on some of the most cringe worthy clips in the whole contest. Disorganization may have cost them the win; loosing points on a number of tricks. The team did not earn points for their switch wallride, frontside wallie or bank-to-bank grind at Portage Park. They did, however, get the longest handstand. Regardless if they had gotten all their attempted points it would not been enough to land them in the top spot; still a fuckin’ banger edit though. Next year these guys are bringing home the gold!
3rd Place : GOOD BOIZ
Edit : Dave Engerer
Point Total : 2795
MVP : Tribby
Too bad “Most Parts in a Pyramid Country Video” wasn’t a thing cause Dave Engerer would have scared up enough points to overcome the Pony Boys and with a smaller crew. This edit was pretty heavy skate wise; some of the hardest tricks were made to look simple. My favorite part of the story of this video is how Andrew Tople, shirtless guy, wasn’t even at the secret meeting spot to participate in the event, but was asked “Hey man you really gonna let this pass you by?” his response “No, no I am not” and he signed up. I spoke to him after the contest ended and he stated that he had the greatest time. That warms my fucking heart man! These guys lost points for a switch tre flip rewind, but won the best “Sunburn Drawing”, “Prank on Another Team” and “Best Trick on Rollerblades”.
4th Place : CHOTCH BOYS
MVP : Anthoney Marcus
Chotch Boys… what can I say. Best edit. I don’t give a shit if they didn’t win. I have watched their edit the most. I don’t know these guys, but they stepped up and handled shit for realz. They did some of the heaviest tricks and made the most watchable edit. These guys were funny as hell and I hope they come back next year. They lost points for “Taxi onto Another Board (4stairs)”, “Shirtless for Whole Two Days”(you posted a clip of yourself in hooters wearing a shirt dude). However, they did get points for best “Trick with Girls Twerking in Frame” and best “Vert Trick in Short Shorts”. We wanted to see balls, but they were short enough. These guys got the best twerk shot, so they are better than everyone else.
5th Place : THE GOPHERS
Edit : Trz
Point Total : 2025
MVP : Austin Canney
Gophers, they got last place, but it’s not from lack of trying. This edit contains a clip of Austin Canney that is just outrageous. You will see … you can’t miss it and I don’t want to spoil it. Canney deserves free stuff, so if you’re reading this that kid is the future. I think what happened here was a late decision to enter and a big hustle to round up a team. The team ended up extremely capable, but most the team could only be around for parts of the days and couldn’t commit fully leaving Austin, TRZA, Shaefer, and Mike Scott to run the trap and they couldn’t pull it off. Don’t let the points fool you this edit contains some fucking witchcraft bruh! Much love to these guys though. They are good dudes fo sho! They had no points taken away and won “Hall of Meat”.