If there is one person who expresses their passion towards something that they enjoy and does it in the most genuine way possible, it would be my husband Blake. Blake has an unconditional drive for rollerblading and for everything that it stands for. He is always willing to give a helping hand, and to go that extra mile to make sure that the ones surrounded by him are having a great time. I have attended all six pow-wow events and let me tell ya, it’s very rewarding to see how happy it makes Blake, and to see the change that he makes in the skate scene one year at a time. Live, Love, and Enjoy!
Intro by Rebecca Goodrich Taylor
Full Name: Blake Taylor
Hometown: Akron, OH
Currently living in: Miami, FL
Blading since: Since the beginning
Organizing events: 6 years
Setup: SSM, Kaltiks, M1
Hey Blake, this is the first interview we are doing for Blading.info. Thanks for taking your time to go through this!
It’s an honor to be the first.
Let’s start with the first question. What’s the worst situation you ever had to handle because of organizing events?
Last year topped all previous bits of non-sense that I once thought were event “hang-ups.”
The day of the event, around noon, my wife was on her way to the event venue with 2 of her friends. They got into a car accident that flipped their vehicle.
It was about 2 miles from the venue, so as soon as I got the call from my wife (we were on our honey moon at the time), I dropped the REMZ logo I was applying to an obstacle, bolted to the scene with my buddy Omar whose girl was in the car too.
Wow… I hope nobody got hurt seriously?
Bumps, and bruises; some trips to the hospital for x-rays, and they were done for that day.
The event didn’t matter at the point. I was with them until I knew they were okay, and out of harm’s way. I arrived back to the event, to see that everything started without a hitch, and was running just fine. I checked out for the day at that point, and the crew just went into auto pilot.
I am a control freak, so it was amazing to see how many people I could really depend on to take hold the raynes, and run the show.
What does your wife think about your little hobby called blading and organizing events?
My wife is really cool with it. Growing-up and getting married, and having commitments, definitely puts a spin on ones “blade” longevity. She helps me see the big picture.
What’s your normal job and how does your typical day look like?
I sell insurance for a fortune 500 company. I’ve been doing it for 6 years. I moved to Miami a little over a year ago. Downtown Miami. I have a 9-6 job in a portion of town that speaks predominantly Spanish. I speak little-none. Try to blade a few times a week, which involves way too much driving.
City living is full time.
So why are you doing events next to all that? What’s your main intention?
It’s simple, I love skating. I get so much out of doing the event, and every year it changes
It started because there was this spot in Tallahassee, FL. that I always thought would be the best atmosphere for a contest. I wanted to throw a badass skate party, and see some intense skating at this pit fight style spot. So I did it. I went to the Superhick that year, made some black and white handouts, and promoted it. It was my first lessons in skate contest “commitments”.
I thought it was going to be this amazing event first go-around, and all the pros in the land would show because they said they would. It didn’t go that way at all.
Only about 30 people showed, it rained up until the event. I got bummed, and drunk. The people that were there didn’t care. They had a contest anyway
30 people? How many did show up in the second year and what did you do to make it bigger?
The 2nd year almost didn’t happen. I had just gotten back from BCSD (’08) and was super discouraged that my event would be nothing in comparison. It felt like there was no point.
My wife (then g/f), talked me into it simply because she wanted to see me succeed.
I owe Adam Killgore and Adam Johnson everything for making the event what it has become today. Without Kilgore bringing Bolino, and Montre and AJ bringing Bambrick, and Broskow i don’t think the event would have gotten the attention i would have. People still talk about the event on the boards.
The last street one compared to an IMYTA because I think it brought a new ear into skating. And that was spinning into tricks other than “soul or royale”. I know this was not the first time some of these tricks were done, but more the control and consistency that happened that day
I know what you mean. We will talk about that point later on again.
You just told me that you got your first own computer this year. How was it even possible to organize events without permanent access to a computer? And why didn’t you have one before?
I am a late bloomer. I am always behind on stuff like this. I didn’t have a cell phone until I was 25.
I put together the early years on a work computer in my spare time. I don’t know how I have managed to muster a site up every year? I still don’t do it. I’m just good at making a lot out of a little. In all aspects of the event. Last year I put together with an I pad.
Sounds like it! It’s hard to imagine, but it seems like it worked out just fine!
Last year’s edit looked like you had a good show-up again. Who do you expect for this year? Any bigger names confirmed already?
As I mentioned the lesson about “commitment” I learned early. I don’t expect anyone will be there until they are there. I always hear lots rumors of who will be there but we are a month out. Once registration opens I will get a better idea, and a least legitimate confirmation. I actually heard a rumor that Petty was trying to come out but like I said though, they are just rumors.
Is there going to be some prize money, so some Pros might become more interested in it?
Of course. The Pow-wow grows every year, and the prize pool is no exception. Although the total amount for the Pro/Am division has yet to be set, I know for sure an invite only $1000 best trick contest will be held on Friday before the Pro/Am. We have invited 90 of North Americas best skaters (but welcome international comers) to compete in this years’ Pro/Am division.
Also we are about to make a major announcement for the women’s division, that has been upgraded to a contest from a “demo.”
How is the sponsoring situation?
The Sponsoring situation is just like the competitors situation. I don’t count on them until the money is in the bank. The goal has always been to reach outside the industry sponsorship but that harder than you would think. We have received our biggest contribution this year that that event has ever received thanks to Bernal Heights Collective. So things are looking good.
The biggest hassle is the box build.
Why is that?
The entire process is a hassle (but worth it). I have to across Florida for a weekend, build 6 boxes, coordinate the transport, finish, logos, and installation. It’s my “trade show” though.
I’m not saying I invented the “commercially endorsed obstacle,” but it’s something I think the Pow-wow is recognized for. I would hope.
I think you’re right there! Can you please explain what makes the Pow Wow special? How would you describe the event with a few words and why should people visit it?
As the Pow-wow has grown I have attempted to accommodate everyone but still try to maintain that edgyness. We have added so many layers to the event. Especially the contest. I put some much thought and consulting into the format of the event, that we are always tinkering with it. This year we are doing a bracket style tournament for the invite competitors, cash prizes for all the divisions, qualifier spots, and every competitor gets an intro-run. It’s always been like that. It makes for a much more intimate event.
Sounds great! And what if you would have to tell the most exciting / most fun part for yourself, what would that be?
The moment when I get to step back, look at all of my friends from across the country, competitors, spectators, and take a long sign because I know I have just completed another Pow-wow.
Any events you would call the source of your inspiration?
I always get inspiration from the big boys, BCSD and Winterclash.
It’s hard to believe but now the Pow-wow is the 2nd largest park contest in North America.
Visit powwowproam.com for event details, and bring some shades and sunscreen
In BMX and Snowboarding most of the guys on the podium at major events are Woodward training machines. They are not really accepted by the core scene and mostly never had a proper video section. We got some of those examples in blading too. Do you feel like winning big competitions with a million spins before a grind automatically makes you a super-pro? What do you think about this whole topic?
People nowadays tend to forget what contest blading is all about. Style is one of my favorite aspects of skating but you simply cannot judge a contest on “style.” However, you can judge a contest on “Control” with style as an aspect of that criteria.
Contest winners have never been “fan favorites.” Look back at the glory days of contest skating, and skaters like Matt Salerno, Marco Hintze, Nicky Adams, Shawn Robertson. Did those guys have epic video sections? No but they placed in every contest they entered because their tricks could be quantitatively measured. Back then Pros could be strictly contest skaters, or strictly film video parts. Being one dimensional was okay then.
That was a different time though. Pros now need to be more well-rounded. The days of taking 2 years to film an epic video section as your only “Pro” duty is gone. Same with just doing well in contests. The Pro pool is so limited that they have to cover it all. The Pro that continues to neglect being well rounded is just going to be pushed aside. It’s a cycle, and no one seems to want to break it. The worst part is the dependence of the “industry” to be a “Pro.” I admire skaters that are out there getting paid to skate but are not (or no longer) considered “Pro” by today’s standards.
Where do you see the Pow-wow in the future. You want to change a lot, or are you going to follow the path you’re on right now?
It’s hard to say where I want the Pow-wow to go. The event has always managed stay fresh by changing things up, and trying new things out. For now, the Kona location and facility is about the only place to have the event in the Southeast. The Kona facility can be used in so many different ways.
However, I can definitely see the down fall of staying stagnant, and how it could ultimately effect the event’s growth. I really don’t care where the Pow-wow goes. As long as the Southeast can hold it, and it continues to grow, I will continue to stay interested.
Alright, we are getting to the end. Anything you want to tell the people who are thinking about organizing events in their hometown?
There is so much I could say about starting an event but where to start? I guess the main thing is to have an idea, and plan out a way to execute it. Whatever you plan, be happy when only half of it happens. Try to stick to the plan but be ready changing it up on the fly if things aren’t working out. Most importantly, keep a cool head.
Thanks a lot for your time and the interesting answers. We will get back to you soon to keep our readers updates about the Pow-wow.
Event website: www.powwowproam.com
Pow wow related content:
Be-Mag Interview with Blake Taylor
Pow-wow 2011 Contest Report