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No Bull Bayou Battle

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They say that everything is bigger in Texas; this is especially true when it comes to garage racing in Houston. This adage was proven when the Team NoBull & Carve Skateshop hosted the Bayou Battle, Texas’ first legal garage race, from January 16-18, 2015. It was the largest garage race in history and certainly the largest garage race podium purse of $6,000. Team NoBull is an unaffiliated, self-funded group of longboarding ambassadors who focus on racing. The team was founded a couple of years ago in Houston, Texas and has recently begun including members outside of Texas and the U.S. The NoBull crew has been hosting full-contact outlaw races throughout the city for years.

As the races grew in attendance and popularity, the crew was faced with a serious problem. They wanted to give their unique brand of racing to the masses, but knew it would be foolish to invite those from out of tNo-Bull-Big-moneyown, professionals and young groms to a race that ran the risk of being raided by the police. Last year, Scotty Sheridan of Carve Skateshop and I began working on obtaining approval for a legally sanctioned race in Houston. The critical piece to this was the help (including the insurance assistance) that Jonathan Strauss along with the IDSA provided. Ultimately their perseverance and overall stoke finally paid off when the Hobby Center Parking Garage in downtown Houston approved this groundbreaking event. Realizing that there had to be more than just a $6,000 purse and a garage race to entice skaters to travel to Texas, the Bayou Battle boys decided to make it an entire weekend of both skateboarding and longboarding. Both Team NoBull’s and Carve Skateshop’s goal for this event was to bring the skateboarding and longboarding communities together.

No-Bull-pack-cornerThe Bayou Battle was a huge success and was attended by over 200 racers from around the country. It was the largest skateboarding event ever held in Texas with as many as 300 spectators at the garage race on Saturday night. Skaters were drawn to Houston by the uniqueness of the competition, the three days of skating and the $6,000 purse. Title sponsor Jenni’s Noodle House fed the skaters and their thirst was quenched by title sponsor Lucky Buddha Beer over the weekend. Other title sponsors included Bombsquad Longboards and Waterloo Wheel Designs.

The Hobby Center has agreed to make this an annual event, so add this to your calendar of must-attend skate weekends. Next year’s event promises to be even bigger and better given the joy, stoke and hospitality that everyone experienced. The 2016 Bayou Battle will change its race format to handle the number of attendees by extending the garage race to a full day. It also will seek to close the street outside of the garage therefore creating a “bomb-out” finish. Additional improvements for 2016 will be increasing the length of its LDP course and securing several of the local skateparks exclusively for the event.

No-Bull-Tight-PackThe success of the Bayou Battle Garage Race has already spurred talk of a garage racing series. Skaters in California, Florida, Michigan, Washington and Canada have all reached out to Team NoBull and the IDSA to ask about the approval process. What’s particularly appealing about garage racing is that it is completely inclusive. There were heats at the Bayou Battle where 12 year-old Groms were racing with their dads and competing in the same heat as the professionals. Within the racing community, there are limited avenues for groms and newbies to experience the thrill of competition alongside the pros without buying leathers and donning a full face. Since most garages are in urban areas, legal garage racing opens up an entirely new avenue to introduce longboarding to the masses and bring competitive skating to the inner cities.

No-Bull-hard-rightMany notable riders and pros attended The Bayou Battle including: James Kelly, Louis Pilloni, Dillon Stephens, Billy Bones, Brandon Tissen, Adam Yates, Katie Neilson, Jacob Lambert, Dave Leslie, Anna O’Neill, Brian Cortright, Kaspar Heinrici, and Jeffrey Vyain. Beyond the podium cash, the open class garage race winners also received coveted Coast Medals and Maryhill Freeride complimentary registration. With the support of over 30 sponsors, the prizes were plentiful and the stoke palpable.

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