A little wild. Somewhat unpolished. Completely our own.
Looking back at Baco A Go-Go 2018
22 Mar 2018
Words by Jeff Dowhen | Photos by Ben Austin | Chris Rye | Luke Mouradian
The course was flooded with talent, the hecklers surrounding the bowl were star-studded and the entire place was pulsing with electricity. You'd never have guessed that Baco 2018 almost wasn't.
Last September we were preparing a final weekend of camping and juvenile behavior at Warrens, Wisconsin's Neighborhood Skatepark - made infamous by past Baco Jams, yet set to be demolished to make way for a putt-putt golf course. With a tidal wave of cabin and golf cart rental requests having started to pour in, the campground ownership decided they better steer clear of our wake and began demolishing the park - unannounced to us - three weeks before our already scheduled 2017 Jam. We were sunk!
Chris Rye hastily contacted sponsors and posted up cancellation notices on the socials. It sucked for those who had already bought airline tickets and planned trips. Down but not out, we owed it to the Midwest, the sponsors and ourselves to relocate the event to the legendary 4 Seasons Skatepark for an indoor winter jam following the New Year. After herding cats for months over a group text, a date was finally set and Baco was back on.
The mad dash before the event was filled with all the roadblocks you'd expect. An incoming snow storm about to hammer the entire area, Freimuth on his death bed with the flu bug, Jeff K scrounging together last minute ramps from scraps, prizes stuck two hours north, and our announcer and PA system away in California. Beyond typical, but this is Baco so we ran running with it.
I personally didn't catch much of the jam but luckily my favorite memory wasn't Jamie Thayer's flip to flat or the firework show in the bowl – it was something that still leaves me laughing. It's the morning of the Jam and I'm in the Pro Shop showing Rye the trophies I had picked out - which I could tell he wasn't all too thrilled on at first. "Football is lame," I recall him saying as he confusingly studied the first place trophy featuring a large football raised up on a ceramic pedestal. The other trophies were wrestlers in various goofy poses. We added some Baco stickers and they were golden.
"Football is lame," I recall him saying as he confusingly studied the first place trophy featuring a large football raised up on a ceramic pedestal.
A few minutes later, Neal - the owner of 4 Seasons Skatepark and best dude ever - accidentally bumped into the 2nd Place Pro trophy, knocking it to the shop floor where it promptly shattered into a dozen pieces which shot out everywhere. Rye immediately and calmly said, "My kid breaks stuff all the time, get me superglue and I'll fix it." Dun-dun-dun! The Dream Team takes over with a special delivery of superglue from the homie Zach. Next we saw Mark Hilson crawling under the shop's chest freezer with a flashlight searching for the small missing ankle piece, only moments later emerging with it in hand like a trophy itself. Once all the pieces were recovered, Rye played arts and crafts for forty-five minutes during Pro finals carefully piecing the trophy back together. When announcing winners later in the day, it was awesome to proudly hand Erik Elstran a fully-repaired trophy - so full of character that it was meant to be.
Running an event is hard and exhausting, and often you miss 90% of the contest you spent months planning. But hey, you earn the respect of teenagers, achy 30 year olds, and salty 40 plus'ers stuck in dreams of the Midschool. In the end though isn't that the holy grail we chase? What are you waiting for?
Baco was started in the early 90s by a couple Wisconsin teens armed with clipart images and a deep love for BMX. The fact these Jams are still happening all these years later proves they made a big difference to a lot of people, and still do.
Thanks to the brands, volunteers, riders and spectators that made this year's Baco A Go-Go such a fun and memorable time. Rick Wagner and Greg Dickson for announcing. Tyler, Josh and the now defunct Neighborhood Skatepark crew for their support. Baco happens for riders out there clocking hours to build their scenes.
Send some attention to the crews running these brands!
Shadow, Colony, Deco, Standard, Props, Subrosa, Odyssey, Mudslingers BMX Shop, Division, Kill Your Egos, Albes, Kink, FBM, Rant, FSA, G-Form, Tree, Animal, Fit Bike Co, BSD, Mongoose, Alienation, Active Bike & Fitness, SnackBoys Bar and big shout out to 4 Seasons Skatepark for hosting.
Editor's note: Looking to host a jam? Email me at email@example.com to learn how to get started, when to ask for sponsors and what you should expect.
-Jeff Dowhen #takeitforbaco
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