Central Mass 6 Skate Festival - Organizer's Recap

On August 7-9, 2015, the small rural town of Harvard, Massachusetts welcomed 416 registered competitors from 25 U.S. states, Argentina, Australia, Hong Kong and the Philippines into their midst for the 6th annual Central Mass Skate Festival, the biggest yet. Hundreds more friends, families, staffers, filmers and photographers joined them for this 3-day extravaganza of shred, featuring a downhill race, mini ramp jam, slide jam, downhill park, street course, big air and after-party. Although some months have passed since Central Mass 6, the stoke is still fresh and already frothing for Central Mass 7, Aug 5-7, 2016. Join me in a deeper look inside the 6th annual event from the organizer's perspective, myself, Mike Girard of Emgee Events LLC.

Eddie Henriquez boosts in front of the Biggest Air camera guantlet. Photo by Khaleeq Alfred

One of the crucial elements in the event organizing process is sponsor acquisition. Loaded Boards and Organgatang Wheels have been supporting Central Mass from the very beginning, and have been instrumental in advising, supporting and motivating the mission to grow the event from its humble 50-rider, 1-day beginnings to its current format. It was only natural to have Loaded and Orangatang back on board in "Harvard Hero" Presenting Sponsor positions, leading the charge for radness, and joined by a strong fleet of brands that support and believe in grassroots events, community growth, and the sustainable progression of skateboarding and longboarding. Let me start by warmly thanking all the brands that supported Central Mass 6. The event would not be possible - and not anywhere near as rad - without the support that these brands provide, and I urge you to support them in return. THANK YOU: Loaded Boards, Orangatang Wheels, iNi Cooperative, G-Form Impact Protection, S1 Helmets,  Paris Trucks, MIDS, Bear Trucks, Original Skateboards, RDVX Grip, Comet Skateboards, Narragansett Beer, Vita Coco Coconut Water, Thuro Skate & Snow, NOTB Skateshop, Community Bikes & Boards, Brew Headwear, Eastern Boarder, ENO Hammocks, Forsake Footwear, and Tecnu Poison Ivy Prevention; additional thanks to our official media partner Wheelbase Magazine, and our food & beverage partner, the Harvard General Store.

Official Central Mass 6 event flyer. Artwork by Stefan Kaiter-Snyder (founder of Nashawtuck Longboards, Central Mass' first sponsor)

(I'll go into some of the event preparation, and hope you'll find it interesting. If not, feel free to scroll ahead to the action!)
For the first 5 years of Central Mass, I aggressively grew the scope of the event. From 1 day and 1 hill, we expanded to 3 days across 4 venues, adding a bevy of ramps, rails, a half pipe, live announcing, DJing and a big after-party. After 5 years, it felt like we had hit our stride, and we were maxing out available road closure time and space each day. I was very happy with the general format, so rather than risking over-expansion or tempting fate with the town, I decided to take the Central Mass 5 model and make it as good as possible. The goal: To cater to all skill levels, all disciplines, all ages, and all genders, and offer as much fun and value possible to everyone in attendance. 
 

Tyler Desmarais leading a hard-charging pack of techsliders. Photo: Alex Liu

One of the most unique things about Central Mass is the hay bales. We make 100% of our own hay right here in town. Back when I was running my landscaping company, I met a local farmer who had a hay operation to supply local horse farms with Harvard-grown hay. We had a sponsor provide hay the first few years, but when that connection moved out of state, I reached out to the local farmer to inquire about buying his hay for Central Mass 4. That year, it was a normal transaction. I paid him per bale, and picked it up from his barn. At Central Mass 5, I helped with some of the haybaling process in order to get a discount. For Central Mass 6, I was given full autonomy to make my own hay, from start to finish, for an even deeper discount. I made the following video to show the many steps in the peaceful, time-consuming process: https://www.facebook.com/skatecentralMA/videos/924448447577660/
Once you've mowed, "tedded" (spread to dry 3 times) and raked the hay into rows, the final step is to churn out the bales, stack them on the tractor's trailer, and then re-stack them into storage. I contacted some local friends to help with these last steps, which require the most manpower.

A trailer full of hay from the field behind. Hay helpers: Erik Swider, Trevor Granville, John Hubert

Everything was smooth sailing until later in the day. After an exhausting few hours, the homies needed to head out, but the hay wasn't yet completely in storage, and rain was about to start falling. With daylight waning, it was up to me to finish the job. Stacking hay to 10+ foot height solo is a very challenging task, and my energy was dwindling. Near the very end of the job, an entire mountain of hastily-stacked hay tumbled and needed to be re-stacked. Although I should have been wearing pants, I wore shorts to stay cool... a major farming "no-no."

Late at night, working solo and nearly done stacking, a huge tower of hay takes a tumble

Growing ever more weary, I started to drag the stiff, bristly hay against my bare legs, inflicting scores of seemingly-innocuous small cuts into my shins, ankles and calves. I thought nothing of the cuts, until days later when my legs started to develop painful sores. They became so excruciating that I had to go to the doctor, who determined that I was infected with MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant strain of the Staph bacteria. I was riddled with several bad abscesses (concentrated pockets of infection), accompanied by severe cellulitis from my knee to my toes. It would ultimately take two ER surgical drainings, 3 days of in-patient hospitalization with heavy intravenous antibiotics, and a 10-day decolonizing process to prevent the already-serious infection from spreading further and jeopardizing my leg. The scars earned bear the lesson learned - I'll wear pants next time!

All cleaned up and re-stacked, the job is finally done. Now it waits in storage until August.

Beaten down and infection-bound...

The joys of MRSA and cellulitis, surgical abscess draining, and maximum sanitation hospitalization. Luckily I had my parents and girlfriend to cheer me on!

After recovering from the infection, it was time to move into more serious prep. I won't go into too much detail on the pre-event preparation steps, but these photos and captions will give you some slices of action behind the scenes. If you're interested in learning more about the organizing process, check out my Central Mass 4 Organizer's Recap.

Flyers and resident notices getting mailed out to skate shops and Harvardians

Ramps all out of storage and staged in the yard

All-star volunteers James Contreras and Kathryn Hitchens holding it down in the backyard ramp zone and sporting their spiffy event tees. 

All tarped up for the rain

Liam Buckley mans the backyard miter saw, making final touches on the ramps for Sunday 

Truck full of local hay and ready to slang

Laying down the last of the hay with a badass crew of helpers

All hands on deck for the Thursday night Staff Meeting, dialing the festival's battle plan Chez Girard.

After laying out Friday's plans and wrapping up the all-staff meeting, it was time for some brief shuteye before the next morning's early rise.

FRIDAY: MINI RAMP JAM & STREET COURSE

Mini Ramp Jam flyer - Artwork by Steve Fitzmaurice

Friday brings heavy-hitting talent to the mini ramp jam. Rather than building our own mini ramp, we entrust the ramp duties to Waterville Parks. They run a rad series of summer skate camps, and have a beautiful 5'x16'x32' modular mini ramp available to rent. With an early morning start, Luke Mathison and his crew get to building, and by 11AM, the ramp is ready to test-ride.

Luke Mathison and the Waterville Parks crew getting the mini ramp ready for action

Unloading the street course. This is the only picture we have, but check out Thuro's video below. We had ramps, rails, a pole jam, box, roller and more fun features. Photo: Khaleeq

[Click to watch Thuro Mini Ramp Jam & Street Course recap video]

For the first few hours of the day, everyone who has registered for Mini Ramp can take as many (or as few) runs as they want, as well as sessioning the adjacent street course. It's a fun, free-flowing open session, with riders of all levels able to mix it up, enjoy grilled foods from the Harvard General Store and warm up for the afternoon's competition, if they choose to compete. Meanwhile, everyone who has registered for Saturday's race or Sunday's slide jam can also check in, submit their waivers, receive their wristbands and event tees, and cut down on rider processing times the next two mornings.. plus visit all the sponsors, and spectate all the rad ramp action!

Tandem shreds in the mini ramp. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Riders, spectators and sponsors all mingling and soaking in the mini ramp action in sponsor village.   

Terry Jones and the rest of the CM6 Event Staff holding it down in the registration tent.

Bobby Hommel, pushing skateboarding with his hand-flip magic. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Tom Hurst, blunt to fakie. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Nick Bratko rocking hard. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Ladies rock and roll at Central Mass right with the guys. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Norm Plante gettin' smithy with it. Photo: Khaleeq

Eddie Henriquez lays down a smooth frontside 5-0. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Nick Bratko SENDING a big tre flip. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Dandoy Tongco from Philippines bringing his board board magic to the mini. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Marcus Bandy, Steve Fitzmaurice and many others waiting to drop. Photo: Khaleeq

Eject button. Sometimes things don't go quite as planned.. Photo: Kahleeq Alfred

 

Ari "Shark" Chamasmany regulating the 1s and 2s all day. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Eddie Henriquez airing it out. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Judges Ian Feliney, Luke Mathison, Mike Girard and Marcus Bandy like what they see. Photo: Lisa Acieukewicz

 

Coping dancer Justin Kozoil lays down a boneless. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Dax Pradarits bomb drops a folding chair. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Nose manny on the deck. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Announcing podium. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Eddie cashes out, raking in the lion's share of the $1,000 mini ramp prize purse. Photo: Eddie Henriquez

 

Official Central Mass 7 Mini Ramp Podium (L to R): Bobby Hommel (3rd), Nick Bratko (2nd), Eddie Henriquez (1st). Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Mini Ramp Jam Results:

1st: Eddie Henriquez
2nd: Nick Bratko
3rd: Bobby Hommel

After concluding the mini ramp jam and podium, it was time to clean up the center of town, grab some grub and prep for the rigors of Saturday's DH race.

SATURDAY: Downhill Race

Rising bright and early, we set back up in the center of town, prepped our brackets, staged all the road closure barriers, briefed the course marshals, police, ambulance squad and shuttle buses, and got ripping with our first practice runs. Riders who hadn't registered on Friday had a chance to check in Saturday morning, before and during practice runs. After some early carnage and a few rounds of warmup runs, riders got a hang of the course. We were ready to announce the Pro, Amateur, Junior and Women's brackets and move into racing.

Staffer Kathryn Hitchens gets a few riders checked in, waivered, gear checked, stickered, wrist-banded and ready to rock. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Waiver in hand, scoping out the scene and ready to check in. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Rider's meeting! Mike explains the brackets, shuttles, schedule, safety precautions, and roadmap to maximum stoke. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Skaters listen in on the rider's meeting. Once concluded, it's time to board the buses for first practice heats. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Load up the bus! Two buses run continuous circular routes all day to maximize everyone's number of runs (and comfort). Maximum shred, minimum waiting! Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Emily Pross looks out the window, visualizing downhill greatness en route to the starting line. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

AM, JUNIOR & WOMEN'S DOWNHILL

We started the day off with our Amateur, Junior and Women's division race heats. Racers compete in a single-elimination format in heats of 6. The top 3 riders from each heat advance to the next round, but the bottom 3 are allowed to keep sessioning the hill and using the event shuttles, provided there is enough time and space for those who are still racing. The mini ramp is also open all day for skating on Saturday. Even if you don't win the race, you always win the fun department at Central Mass. Enjoy some slices of the action!

A pack of riders amassed at the starting line and ready for action. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

MG calling Amateur ("Am") race heats to the line. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Women's heat getting ready.... Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

With the start line in her visor, Possala Wang readies her board and her mental game.... Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

On your marks... Get Set... 3..2...1..... Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

...GO!!! A women's race heat, bounding off the starting line. Photo: Thomas D'Anieri

Pushing away into Harvard's verdant forest. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Eli Healy, stalking his prey. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

And they're off! Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Homie reppin' Thuro, a rad local Boston shop and Central Mass event sponsor. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

After pushing in hard, riders enter their speed tuck, draft for aerodynamic advantage, and build momentum for mid-course. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Blasting through the first section of the course. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

A string of riders snaking through the course's upper right kink. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Rounding the bend and about to plunge into the first steep drop. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Eli Healy beasting ahead after rounding the kink and approaching the first drop. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Hand in hand and stoke riding high. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Aussie Max Heaton staying flossy and aerodynamic. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

With sufficient speed, riders tuck through the flat toward the 2nd major drop. Photo: Thomas D'Anieri

Brian Monk administering strong shaka vibes through the flat. Photo: Thomas D'Anieri

 

After cresting the ridge to the 2nd drop, Kieran Kaiter-Snyder holds his tuck and lays eyes on the final curve. Photo: Thomas D'Anieri

 

Action from Above - Riders tuck through the leafy tunnel toward the finish line. Photo: Thomas D'Anieri

Bandaged but not broken, Mike Asinas rounds the final bend. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Boston LB bros gunning for the finish. Photo: Thomas D'Anieri

Max Kuker, owner and founder of MXK Skateshop, enjoying the scenic surroundings as he easy-tucks the final bend. Photo: Thomas D'Anieri

Media magician Matt Frazer gets that ill chin footy. Photo: Thomas D'Anieri

A pack of Am racers approach the finish line. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Emily Pross, steely-eyed and raging far ahead of the women's pack in a league of her own. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Emily Pross, crossing the women's finish line in first place with a commanding lead. Photo: Thomas D'Anieri

With Am, Junior and Women's racing concluded, it's time to move to the feature presentation: the Pro DH bracket. Aside from Women's, Pro is the only DH division with a cash prize purse, and a very sizeable one at that. Find full Am, Junior & Women's results after Pro section below!

 PRO DOWNHILL

After spending the morning taking practice and freeride runs, sessioning the mini ramp, dialing setups, stretching out and getting hydrated and nourished by the Harvard General Store, the big-hitter Pros boarded the bus for their bracket.

Aboard the Pro DH bus, Jared Beers locks eyes with the camera. He knows what he needs to do. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred 

Announcing the instructions and heats to the racers and corner marshals. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Ryan Ricker of Paris Trucks, listening to bracket announcements and getting ready to gear up. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Marcus Bandy lines up the shot. Marcus is the owner of Wheelbase Magazine, official Central Mass 6 Media Partner. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

[ Click to Watch Wheelbase Magazine's Official Central Mass 6 Recap Video ]

Derek from Muirskate also made sure to gather banger content. Media people bust their asses to bring us eye candy! Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

[Click to Watch Muirskate's Central Mass 6 Video Recap]

Ryan Ricker getting ready to film a raw run with Levi Green. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

[Click to watch Levi's hectic raw run]

Emily Pross stacking clips with Tyler Struss, filming for the Video Editing Contest media bank. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

[Click here to watch all the Video Editing Contest finalists' videos.]

Comet Skateboards owner and fellow event organizer Jason Salfi makes his way down the course, with other racers in hot pursuit. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Eyes on the prize! Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Grant Kiessling charging through the first kink. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Dubes leading a pack of top racers over the crest of the first drop. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Québecois Alexandre Parent and Carlos Lascoutx leading a similarly tight pack around the bend. Them tiny trucks! Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Team Mids member and Midslids head honcho Stephan Vaast looking slick in his "Mids Vuitton" Safety Meeting Apparel suit. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Eric Chernushenko leading a long string of riders down the drop and into the flats. Draft + momentum for the win! Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Updating brackets after a round of racing, before hopping back on the shuttle for the next. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Catalina Island Classic Organizer, Timeship Racing Owner, Team Mids member and Central Mass staffer Dubes Eldorff checking in on Mitchell "Kan't Hang" Kreps. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Omen rider Morgan Owens is nearly inside of Englishman Charles Fricker and eying a pass. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Ryan Ricker leading a tight pack of quarterfinalists to the 2nd drop: Stephan Vaast, Luis Marrero, Charles Fricker.  Photo: Khaleeq Alfred 

Filipino phenom and Loaded + Orangatang ambassador Dandoy Tongco, enjoying the ride. Photo: Thomas D'Anieri

Freeriders extraordinare Tom Leary and Norman Plante, streaking for the finish. Photo: Thomas D'Anieri

[Click here to Watch Tom Leary's Official Central Mass 6 Promo Video]

Emily Pross not only dominated the women's division, but dominated most of the men too and made it to Pro Semifinals. Photo: Thomas D'Anieri

A big group of racers converging on the finish line. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Pro Semifinal reaching the finish line, with Ryan Ricker in first and Stephan Vaast hot on his heels. Photo: Thomas D'Anieri

In a nail-biting finish, Grant Kiessling wins Central Mass 6 Pro DH race by an arm's length. Dubes is so close he can taste it. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

After sending the Pro Finals, I enjoyed a quick victory run, celebrating the successful end to a long, action-packed day of racing. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

With racing concluded and the road about to re-open, spectators walk back to town center for their rides to the hotel. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Race Results:

1st: Josh Neuman
2nd: Robert Burns
3rd: Tyler Kaminski

  • Amateur:

1st: Eli Healy
2nd: Liam McHale
3rd: Anthony Cafiso

  • Women’s:

1st: Emily Pross
2nd: Candy Dungan
3rd: Magda Blanc

  • Pro:

1st: Grant Kiessling
2nd: Brent Dubendorf
3rd: Luis Marrero

Although the race was over, the day's excitement had not yet run its course. Hard-working volunteers schlepped haybales back into the shuttle truck and re-placed them on the slide jam hill down the road. Meanwhile racers, spectators, friends and family headed back to the hotel to get washed up and prepare for the evening's after-party at the Billiards Café, sponsored by Narragansett Beer. Ferried by shuttle bus to and from the Marriott, attendees were in for a treat. DJ Ari "Shark" Chamasmany would bring an evening full of delicious danceable jams, entertaining overflowing crowds of skaters who reminisced about the day's adventures and shared stoke in anticipation of Sunday's Slide Jam. Marcus Bandy premiered Wheelbase's Keep On Tuckin' Tour short film, and before we knew it, the bar was closing and it was time to head home and prepare for Sunday's slide jam. Unfortunately - or perhaps fortunately - we don't have any photos from the after-party, but we'll make sure to fix that at Central Mass 7!

SUNDAY: SLIDE JAM

Seemingly before we'd even had a chance to close our eyes, we had to wake up, rally the staff, load up the ramps and head to the slide jam hill. Eyelids were heavy but the work had to be done, so off we went! While one crew ferried loads of ramps to the top of the slide hill and starting layout out the course, other crews finished transporting and placing hay, road closure cones and barriers, trash barrels, registration and sponsor tents, food, drinks and the ambulance squad.

Superstar staffer James Contreras leafblowing the course, with a little help from Mike Ryan. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Volunteers assembling the big air ramp. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Staffers MG, Alaina, Christine, Kathryn & Graham get ready to crush the registration / waiver / wristband / tech inspection / check-in line. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Competitors swarm the registration tent, food stand and sponsor village. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Tents set up for two of the Central Mass 6 "Harvard Hero" presenting sponsors: Loaded and G-Form. Product demos, chill vibes and promo swag abound. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

With the framework in place, we began to process riders, who could take practice runs after checking. Once all riders were registered and assigned to a "pool," everyone assembled for the Rider's Meeting. With 275 slide jam participants, particular rules for hiking, spectating, dropping in, crashing and photography / videography are necessary to minimize carnage. Our ambulance squad is extremely talented, but they can't perform miracles. After reviewing all the rules and recommendations and thanking the sponsors, it was time to shred!

Rider's Meeting! Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

"Riders hike up on the right, look uphill before dropping, don't sit on the hay bales, helmets and gloves required, and don't do anything stupid" -MG Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

"Live Fast, Take Chances.." Dubes prepares to wrangle the most unruly of drop-happy groms at the top of the hill. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Held back by vocal cords and an airhorn, Dubes keeps slide jammers at bay, awaiting their proper moment to drop to keep th hill safe. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

CM6 Pro DH champion Grant Kiessling helping lay down props for the event sponsors. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Tom Weiss lays down a frontside boardslide on the rainbow rail while the crew finishes ramp zone construction. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Cruising over the Eastern Boarder chilly funtimes roller. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

 

Eddie Henriquez killing the upper ramp section. Airwalk over the tabletop. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Tom Hurst skims over the mini kicker and gets ready to rock his run. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Attie Upson laying down a smooth toeside. Despite his stubby setup and young age, Attie threw fire all day. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Micaela Wilson shredded super hard all day, regular and switch on Orangatang Skiff protos. She's a badass. Photo: Alex Liu

Lily Parla sending it. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

More Micaela Wilson, please. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

 

Harvardian Laura Nocka ripped hard all day, coming back for more after multiple heavy slams. High badassery levels. Judge Morgan Owens takes notes. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Cammie Best and Clio Sherman not riding for some reason. The women's division needs you! #girlgang Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Young money Butternut keeps it greasy riding switch. Judge Ethan Cochard adds his name to the shredlist. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Canadian Sam Flint exhibited style, speed and trick variety, sending him podium-bound. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred 

Hong Kong supergrom Robert Burns crushed it on hard wheels and soft. Anthony Cafiso stays close. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Central Mass 6 featured an epic, deep field of tech sliders - our biggest group yet. NOTB rider Tyler Desmarais (in front) was consistently sick. Photo: Alex Liu

Jamie Nieves and Steve Kong, perennial Central Mass slide jam favorites, bring their techy NYC style, fun and flavor. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Jamie gettin' BUCK. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Bostonian Tom Meehan lays down a knee blunt slide. Creative, fast and furious, he's a blast to watch. Camerafolk know what's good. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Josh Wright leaving it on the pavement with this buttslide. M4L. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Tom Meehan has a close call with another ripper. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Steve Sanchez getting LOW. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Grant held out some bonus dollars. Connor Bewighouse goes for the blunt grab. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Josh Wright grabs the cash. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Zakk Hall throwing down one of his many signature blunt slide combos. Legend says he uses a balance cheat code. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

A crew of softwheel freeriders soak in the techslide goodness and patiently wait their turn. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

 

Steve Kong and Norm Plante are happy hikers, getting ready to huck it it on hard wheels. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

C.R.E.A.M. Norm going in for the bills while Nick Sharek rides tight. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Norm Plante, stoked on his run and bonus cash grab. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Hardwheel gang getting positively pitted. Photo: Alex Liu

Zakk Hall snaps the elusive mid-blunt selfie. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Carson Perkins sending it toeside. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Roman Candle, so hot right now. Seriously though this is sick. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Small stance flat foot glove down clone gang. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Stylie speedy toeside check. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

 

Josh Wright hustling a grip of Vita Coco up the hill for thirsty staffers. Central Mass is coco-nuts for coconut water. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Steezy heelside. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

North Carolina supergrom Josh Neuman putting on a clinic. Sadly, he had to fly home before finals. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Philly ripper Jesse Greenberg poking out a fast roman candle. Photo: Alex Liu

Look back at it. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Joey Nickell ripping hard with a stylish squat check. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Jarrod Monacelli blowing everyone's mind, killing it on freeline skates all day. Photo: Alex Liu

Toeside check in perhaps the most scenic slide jam setting possible. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Dialed heelside check over the berm and around the bend. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Loaded and Orangatang's Ethan Cochard with the afterbang. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Cast hand, don't care. Ethan Ledger going HAM despite a recent injury. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Ethan Ledger stacking clips. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Vermonter Matt Doskocil making it look easy. He would go on to win Longest Toeside slide. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Tangled up and preparing for impact. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

PA native Austin Priester flexing for the crowd, representing Amish Downhill. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Ari Chamasmany, part-time DJ, part-time shredder, full-time entertainer. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Ari winds up for his signature cross-legged ladykiller. Fattail for life. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Victor Tu, Justin Campagnone and Josh Wright break out into a MIDS dance party mid-hill. Austin Priester isn't sure if he likes it. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Judges Grant Kiessling, Ethan Cochard, Morgan Ownens, Nate Blackburn and Mike Girard deliberate on finalist selection. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Announcing finalists. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Micaela Wilson going huge in longest slide. Sadly this is the only longest slide photo we have, but peep the videos for more!  Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Will Royce airing it out over the crowd in the Big Air contest. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Dax Pradarits with a scary bail on Big Air, but the rolled landing handled him gently. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Eddie Enriquez going sky-high in his bid for biggest air. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Out of absolutely nowhere, Andy Leiterman misty-flipping the big air ramp on blades. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Massachusetts native Brian Bishop taking it home with the biggest Big Air of the day. Photo: Khaleeq Alfred

Slide Jam Results:

  • Techslide:

1st: Zakk Hall
2nd: Tyler Desmarais
3rd: Norman Plante

  • Women’s:

1st: Micaela Wilson
2nd: Laura Nocka
3rd: Lily Parla

  • Junior:

1st: Robert Burns
2nd: Jake McKenna
3rd: Ethan Ledger

  • Pro:

1st: Dax Pradarits
2nd: Sam Flint
3rd: Levi Green

  • Longest Heelside:

Josh Wright

  • Longest Toeside:

Matt Dosko

  • Biggest air:

1st: Brian Bishop
2nd: Eddie Henriquez

After putting the lid on Central Mass Skate Festival's biggest, best-ever Slide Jam, it was time to clean up shop. We removed ramps from the road, picked up trash, broke down tents, cut down banners, packed up prizes and sound equipment, and shuttled everything over to the center of town for the podium ceremony. The fantastic Harvard Ambulance Squad was thanked for their service, having treated dozens and dozens of small abrasions, bruises and other minor injuries, and the Police detail debriefed and disbanded once the road cleared. Our fearless photographer Khaleeq Alfred could not make it to the podium ceremony, but we have one picture to commemorate the occasion. Victors were crowned, cash, custom medals and gear prizes awarded, and much clapping, hugging, high-fiving and cheering brought a merry end to the absolute whirlwind weekend that is Central Mass Skate Festival.

Awarding the Pro DH 1st place custom medal to Grant Kiessling at the Central Mass 6 podium ceremony. Photo: Aero Media

As the ceremony wound down, weary competitors, friends, family and sponsors hopped into cars and went their separate ways. The remaining staff cleaned up the scene, broke down the headquarters tent and returned to the Girard household for a Chinese food feast. The next day, we removed and disposed of our hay (intact bales went to a local horse stable; loose hay became mulch for a local farm); returned the ramps, rails, boxes and tools into storage; brought back the road barriers, road signs and traffic cones to the Department of Public Works; separated and disposed of all trash and recycling at the town Transfer Station; and returned the trucks to U-Haul. The event was officially, fully over... and it was time to leap into the Video Editing Contest, Burke Mountain Freeride organizing, and starting all over again for Central Mass 7 event preparation. We pow-wow'ed about what went well, and what could be improved upon next summer, and congratulated everyone for all the hard work and a job well done.

By providing something for everyone to enjoy, regardless of skill level, age or preferred riding style, I aim to help grow our skate community into a more well-rounded, interconnected, lasting and larger community. At best, we might reach these goals; at worst, everyone ships home with a positive experience, cherished memories, new friends, inspiration and stoke for next year. The ongoing growth of Central Mass Skate Festival is a reassuring, positive sign in an industry full of mixed signals, and I hope you'll join me along the event's ongoing trajectory.

Central Mass 7 registration begins MAY 5, 2016 at 8:00PM EST via http://skatecentralMA.com/registration. I hope you will join us at the 7th annual Central Mass Skate Festival, August 5-7, 2016! You can follow along the event's updates via the following resources:


THANK YOUs!!!

 I would like to reiterate all my warmest thanks to the amazing, broad, generous and talented support network that makes the whole event possible. Please read the thanks I shared with Wheelbase Magazine for their official recap:

I want to warmly thank everyone who banded together to make Central Mass 6 a success. My biggest thanks go to the volunteer staff for putting in hard and sometimes thankless work night and day—the event would be impossible without you (special thanks to my mom, dad, and girlfriend for helping endlessly and putting up with me at my best and worst); Thank you to the Town of Harvard residents, Board of Selectmen, and Parks & Rec for welcoming this event into your midst, and to the Harvard Police Department and Harvard Ambulance Squad for ensuring everything goes as safely and smoothly as possible.

Thank you to Wheelbase Magazine, our official media partner, or standing behind grassroots skateboarding and community growth, and to everyone who shares Central Mass 6 media and stoke via social media.

Massive thanks to our sponsors, whose contributions bolstered our event budget, stoked out our podium and raffle winners and made our $5,700 cash prize purse possible: THANK YOU Loaded BoardsOrangatang WheelsI.N.I COOPERATiVEParis Truck Co.S1 HelmetsG-FormBEAR TrucksOriginal SkateboardsRDVXMIDSComet Skateboards,Narragansett BeerVita Coco Coconut WaterHarvard General StoreTHuRO – Skate & SnowBrew HeadwearCommunity Bikes and BoardsNOTB SnowboardsENOForsakeTecnuKebbek skateboardsIlldownhill, plus additional hype and support from Omen Longboards and Muirskate. 

Additional thanks to Eastern Boarder for loaning us some kick-ass ramps and spreading word of Central Mass to the local skate community; To Stefan Kaiter-Snyder for our awesome flyer and logo artwork, and Steve Fitzmaurice from the Mini Ramp flyer and Emgee Events logo; to the Harvard General Store, our awesome food and beverage partner, and Billiards Café, our after-party venue; to Doug Perkins for his expert audio work throughout the long weekend; to Zone Products for the beautiful event t-shirts; to MIDS for keeping it real; to Waterville Valley for the epic mini ramp rental; and finally to Dee Bus Company, Moore’s Lumber, NSC Sanitation, Mackay Hardware, ISS Online, Marriott, ISU Irvine, Cameron Frazier, Brian Cortright, Grant Kiessling, Printweiser, spectators, parents, and anyone else who helped contribute to this operation along the way.

Most importantly,  thank you to the riders who spend their hard-earned money to register for Central Mass and who come from near and far to enjoy the fruits of all this labor! We look forward to seeing you at Central Mass 7.

MEDIA

Central Mass Skate Festival Media Page

Official Wheelbase Magazine Recap
Thuro Shop Recaps: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3
Aero Coverage
Boston Globe article

Harvard Press article

Nashoba Valley Voice article

#CentralMass6 Instagram hashtag - 1,500 tagged photos!

Hop in a time machine and check out the archives of my Organizer's Recaps from every previous Central Mass Skate Festival, since the very beginning: 

  1. Central Mass 1 
  2. Central Mass 2 
  3. Central Mass 3 
  4. Central Mass 4 
  5. Central Mass 5

Thank you for reading!

Love,
Mike Girard
Organizer, Central Mass Skate Festival
CEO, Emgee Events, LLC

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