What keeps you guys motivated to keep the site updated so frequently with quality posts?
Bruce Bales: The foundation Adam Morris and others created for the Iowa Connection is the motivation that keeps the site going. We are blessed to have learned from Adam Morris, and I am especially thankful for him passing the site to me. The Iowa Connection has been going strong for such a long time that we all want to keep it going.
The Iowa Connection really does it’s job. We have connected most of Iowa together on one site. The scene has grown tremendously thanks to the site and to the people involved. I don’t see it stopping anytime soon because we all have too much fun with it.
What are the main contests in the Iowa skating scene?
There is only really one main contest now in Iowa, which is the Iowa River Rumble in Davenport. We’ve only done the contest for three years, but its grown and gotten better each year. Brian Krans got the ball rolling and since a wide array of bladers have stepped it up to keep it going. Phil Austin of Iowa City MC’d the contest this year and handle everything wonderfully. I encourage everyone to come out next year. The contest is usually the 2nd to last weekend in August.
However, there have been many contests in the past. From SSOC in Des Moines to the Quad City Showdown, we have put on many successful events. But, now we really focus more on organized sessions (i.e. End of Summer session, Halloween session, Farewell sessions, etc). We’ve got our annual Halloween session planned for November 13th in Iowa City (check the Connection for more details).
How is the skate scene and how has it changed over the years?
I couldn’t say enough about the Iowa blading scene, and I really won’t try to sum up our rich history either. All I can say is that the Iowa blading scene is constantly growing and enriching itself. I have such a good time when I am blading in Iowa, and for me, that is the most important thing about our scene.
If you had one word to describe Iowa skating what would it be?
Brotherhood. Without a doubt our bladers are a family. We look out for each other, we push each other, and we have a great time doing it. But, it stretches beyond skating. Everyone is friends with everyone. I speak to a great deal of bladers on a daily basis, and I’m sure that is how it is everywhere in Iowa, and parts of Illinois and Nebraska.
The one thing I’ve always liked about the Iowa blading scene is how comfortable it is. I feel at home anywhere I go, and I have gained personal knowledge from every blader in Iowa. We teach each other a lot without even knowing. Our blading skills have transcended past strapping our skates on. Like I’ve said before, I look at the Iowa Connection as a tribe. We travel in packs, we are loud and obnoxious, and we love to blade.
If someone was driving through Iowa and they could only stop and skate one spot or park what would you recommend to them?
Well if they were driving through Iowa they wouldn’t make just one stop. Say this person was coming from the East. They would probably want to stop in Davenport to blade the huge cement park and various street spots, but upon getting there I would tell them about Iowa City, Des Moines, and all the other cities. Then, they would end up stopping somewhere else on the way. That’s just the way it is. Iowa rollerbladers are among the most hospitable I’ve ever met in my life.
From the West they would probably want to stop in Omaha, Nebraska (an annexed part of the Iowa Connection) to blade their various parks and spots. From there they would link up with Corey Buller most likely, and he would point them in the direction of Des Moines.
But to actually answer the question: Davenport skatepark would be the skatepark of choice and the spot of choice would be anywhere in Des Moines.
Who would you say the best ‘up and comer’ from Iowa is?
The obvious answer is Logan Clark of Des Moines. He’s consistent both when just messing around and at contests, he’s creative, and he’s one hell of a person. Logan is so positive and is always smiling. It’s very hard not to have a great time when he is around. Be on the lookout for Logan’s newest Remz edit coming out very soon also.
There are so many good skaters in Iowa though. I’ve said before I could praise every rollerblader in Iowa for something, and I stand by this. A few other bladers that come to mind are: Justin “Jefferson” Augustus of Des Moines, Dustin Dieter of Omaha, Neb., Spencer Smith of Des Moines, and Dan Howard of Omaha, Neb. But, also bladers like Josh Ray of Des Moines, Phil Austin of Iowa City, Alex LaBore of Cedar Rapids, Codee Jennings of Peoria, Ill., Caleb Smith of Peoria, Ill., and Andrew Hall of Oneida, Ill., always surprise me. Oh, and I can’t forget Dante Muse. He consistently blows my mind. There are too many people to name though.
The Iowa scene always seems really tight-knit, which is really good to see. What is something most people from other states don’t know about you guys?
We are a very diverse group, and we all come from different backgrounds. We’ve got bladers who are writers, cooks, roller rink owners, graphic designers and we’ve got a herpetologist (Andrew Gilpin/Iowa City, and a dental student (Josh Hudson/Edwardsville, Ill.) Many of us are artists, creating everything from paintings to t-shirts. We all bring different skills to the table, and we use them to better our rollerblading scene and website.
Photos above: Aaron Schultz. Top p-star. Holy Cross, Iowa
A group of Cedar Rapids bladers breaking in a rail. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Logan Clark. 360 Liu Kang. Iowa City, Iowa
(All photos by Bruce Bales)
Tohmmy Lash, Phil Austin, and Erik Cheung. Iowa City, Iowa
A session in Des Moines. Des Moines, Iowa.
Alex LaBore. Top Acid. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Tohmmy Lash. Full cab kindgrind. Iowa City, Iowa
Caleb Smith. Roll to safety grab to roll. Davenport, Iowa.
Justin “Jefferson” Augustus. Fastplant to top torque stall 180 out. Iowa City, Iowa.
Mike Nardini. Tea kettle. Waterloo, Iowa.
Phil Austin. Judo grab heel roll. Iowa City, Iowa.