Who Remembers parking lot skateboard demos?
May 21, 2023
Back in the day there was a fun filled weekend every summer that involved a parking lot demo. At Amateur Athlete skate shop we used to put on a little thing called a demo. A skateboard demo was when a few pros from a selected company would stop by our little town Bethlehem Pa and skate whatever we could scramble to get our hands on for them to skate. The summers would not be complete with out a parking lot demo. It all started back in the eighties. Joe, his father and a few friends built a ramp or two that was skated at the very first amateur athlete.This was back when there was not to many pro skaters. It was more for fun a hobby, something to do. The skate industry was still evolving. There was only a handful of main stream companies and not many of them were touring or willing to do demos. Little did we know that we were starting something special. Kids would trip to our shop to watch their favorite skater. The summer air was most of the time thick hot but that didn’t stop us. Most of the time we got lucky with weather. Things usually fell right in place!
Lance Mountain Powell Peralta demo
Weeks prior to the demos we would start to build whatever we could come up with. It was a rarity that the companies on tour or doing the demo would bring their own ramps. Sometimes we would build a quarter pipe. Other times it was a double set with a hand rail that we were tasked with building. Some locals would bring a ledge or two or maybe even a kicker. Once Lenny from the local VW/Audi used car dealer (L & T) even brought a skateable pick up truck and Van. The days prior to the demo would consist of pulling all nighters and would be a mad scrambles to get all this shit done. All this was being done while we still had a shop or two to run. So needless to say we would be tired as hell. Building what we had breaking it down, transporting it back over to the shop! Yes then putting it back together all over was not a fun task. But we knew it was all worth it. We normally picked a Sunday for the demos. It was the day most people were around. The rest of the shops closed early so we couldn’t piss off to many people. The stress was always real. Having up to 2,000 kids for a demo wasn’t easy. It took a lot of help. People to stand and watch the mad frenzy at the shop which was always packed. A crew to pick up and set up the ramps. Friends to help with trash duty.We often times had free pizza on top of all the other stuff happening so we had people to help give out the food. Security which was always a challenge. You may think everyone was there for a good time. But that wasn’t true. I myself even had to smack a local whom thought he could pull some half ass stunt and try and hide behind another cohort. But what can you do people like to influence and some are easily influenced. Needless to say the demo days were timeless.
Kareem Cambell World Industry demo
Although demos are pretty much non existent it’s fun to look back at the good times. Wether you got to meet your favorite pro or play a game of skate against them the times were amazing. We all remember the infamous product tosses. Hundreds of kids fighting over a skateboard deck thrown out by their favorite pro. On our summer fest demo we handed out 500 t shirts, gave away 20 decks, 40 pair of shoes only to have the ungrateful ask when is there going to be more free stuff! That’s the stuff we miss and will always remember. The times are different now. Companies not willing/wanting or able to send their teams have changed the game, along with landlords wanting crazy amount of money for event insurance has stop what we know as parking lot demos. Who knows if that many kids would even come out for a parking lot demo in this tech heavy world we live in. So many of us are stuck inside on phones watching Netflix, and aren’t out skating 30 minutes to check out the demo being held that summer. We would like to think we could still bring the crowd but who knows? All that being said maybe parking lot skateboard demos will return. Maybe companies will realize how special it was. The good times that were had were timeless. We all have a demo memory. Some of us missed one or two but the ones you did make you can still remember, you may even still talk about it with your friends to this day. And that’s what we wanted. To stoke the kids, create some memories and have a good time….. The Demo Days!
TNT Tony Trujillo Vans/Anti Hero
Demo dates and pros throughout our 40 years so far at amateur athlete skate shop. Which one was your favorite? If you have pictures or video please let us know. We often did not have time to stop and take pictures due to the craziness that issued.
- 1986- Powell Peralta Bones Brigade Tour Jesse Martinez, Lance Mountain, Mike McGill.
- 1988-Lifes a Beach/BBC Tour Bill Danforth, Jeff Phillips, John Gibson, Bryan Pennington, Troy Chason.
- 1990-World Industry Tour Rodney Mullen, Jason Lee, Randy Colvin, Ron Chapman.
- 1991- World Industry Tour Rodney Mullen, Chris Dune Pastras, Kareem Cambell.
- 1992- Real Skateboards Demo Salman Agah, Jim Thiebaud, James Kelch.
- 1997- Powell Peralta Demo Mike Santrosa, Charlie Wilkins, Stacy Lowery.
- 1999- Toy Machine Skateboards Ed Templeton, Kerry Getz, Bam Margera, Mike Maldonado, Brian Anderson, Elissa Steamer, Josh Harmony.
- 2002- Circa Footwear signing Mark Applyard, Chris Cole, Colt Cannon, Caswell Berry.
- 2003- Kids in Emerica Tour Heath Kirchart, Andrew Reynolds, Bryan Herman, Brraydon Szafranski, Kevin Spanky Long, Aaron Suski.
- 2004- Enjoi Skateboards Demo Jerry Hsu, Louie Barletta, Caswell Berry, Jose Rojo, Clark Hassler.
- 2005- Es Footwear signing Tom Penny, Eric Koston, Rick McCrank, Cale Nuske, Pj Ladd.
- 2005 Summer Fest Demo/ Blind Skateboards Kris Markovich, Aaron Artis.
- Early 2000s- Stussy Demo Scott Johnston, Danny Montoya, Richard Mulder, Justin Eldridge, Keith Hufnagel.
- Vans RIDIN Dirty Tour- Anthony Van England AVE, Dustin Dullin, Jason Dill, Johnny Layton, TNT Tony Trujillo. Dylan Rieder.
- 2007 25th Anniversary Demo- Matt Ball, Vinny Vegas, Ragdoll, Corey Duffle, JT Aultz, Terry Kennedy, Clint Peterson, Jason Dill, Fred Gall, John Layton, Evan Hernandez, Billy Marks, Shariken Shannon, kellen James.
- 2008 Summer Fest Amateur Athlete Skate Shop Demo Rodrigo TX, Bobby Worrest, Mike Anderson, Dan Pensyl, Willy Akers, Joe Tookmanian, Jimmy Macdonald,
- 2010 Emerica Signing (cranberries and Corona Tour) Leo Ramero, Spanky.
Other Notables I could not remember what date they came- Evan Smith, Brian Sumner, Grant Taylor, Chad Tim Tim, Frank Gerwer, Brandon Westgate , David Gonzales.
The days were crazy. A date and or name may be off by a year but needless to say. That is one Crazy lineup. And we can only hope demos will one day return!
Here are Photos From some of those demos listed.