Ozzie Ausband

Gregg Weaver.

I lived in a small place in Pennsylvania & in the summer of 1976 or 1977, the Pepsi skateboard team came through. They set up a clear plastic U-Shaped half pipe, in the parking lot of the local ‘JC Penney’ store. It was hot & sweltering, as only the northeast can become in June. Pennants & colorful Pepsi banners hung –slack– in the stifling heat. People milled about the large plexiglass ramp which was roped off & empty. A PA system was set up to one side & technicians fiddled with wires, duct taping them flat onto the ground.

The asphalt lot was hot & people grew restless. I skated around the periphery, trying to see anyone I might notice from ‘Skateboard World’ magazine. So far, zilch. I noticed some greasy- looking guy selling snow cones from a box truck. He was doing a brisk business. The way he eyed up the kids, made me uncomfortable, so I kept my two dollars tucked deep in my corduroy OP shorts. There were a bunch of fat people sweating it out & from the looks of things, should’ve found themselves a spot inside the glass-fronted JC Penney store. At least they would be cooler in there & wouldn’t sweat & stink so badly. Damn!  Even the store mannequins seemed to droop in the shoulders.

I skated around behind the ramp & that’s when I saw them. Roy Jamison & Mike Weed were getting their boards out of a small van. I caught my breath. Mike Weed looked at me & nodded. If Roy Jamison did as well, I didn’t notice. Mike Weed just nodded at me! Mike Weed! I couldn’t believe it. Go ahead and call me a moron, but I hadn’t seen a skateboard pro in my life. All I saw were magazine photographs of a life & culture far, far away. I stood there slack-jawed, I am sure. They slipped under a rope & crossed the bottom of the ramp out of my view.

I heard the PA system spark to life & the announcer began introductions. They began riding to music. I believe it was ‘Foghat’ or some frizzy-headed, bell-bottom band similar to them.  To be honest, I remember one -wheelers, forevers, Roy Jamison having such a rad style, and almost passing out when Mike Weed gave me a sticker. I recall little else. I know that I didn’t sleep that night…not much anyway. The next day, I talked my mom into going to the JC Penney store with me. They sold the only skateboards in town.

They had a Hobie Weaver ‘Woody’ for sale. It was $49.99. I rubbed my fingers across the smooth wood & smelled the urethane Power Paw wheels. The ACS 430 trucks mocked me…I only had $11.00. I must tell you, that I worked an entire summer in my fathers upholstery shop, to save up the rest of the money to buy that Weaver ‘Woody’. It came without grip tape, so I cut up strips of floor sand paper & glued them onto it. I rode that board into the ground until it was unrecognizable.

Gregg Weaver wasn’t there; not that I can remember. His ‘spirit’ was though. I can’t recall what I did with the sticker Mike Weed gave me. In my mind, it matters not one iota. He gave me a sticker….that is all that matters. When you are 13 years old, and a poor skateboard kid from PA, that stuff stays with you forever. Its in my blood. Thanks to Jim Goodrich for the Weaver image & Marlon Whitfield for the ‘Woody’ images. Skate Long-Ozzie