Tepe and Tacos Photos

Last month, I had the privilege of attending Tepe and Tacos, a downhill freeride skateboarding event in near Santa Maria, California. This was my first time at the event and I had heard so many great things, so the expectations were high. I was not disappointed.

First of all, it’s Tepe—short for Tepesque—not tempeh. So many people slipped on the pronunciation, inadvertently pronouncing the event: Tempeh and Tacos, causing everyone to mis-pronounce it occasionally. Tempeh tacos does sound like a healthy vegan meal, but it was Tepe and Tacos.

The event is an annual one organized by Kevin Reimer and sponsored by Powel-Peralta and Skate Warehouse. The event is so grassroots that the only rules are:

  1. NO BITCHING – If you don’t like something, please go ahead and fix it immediately.
  2. HELP OUT – Events are a huge effort, so lend a hand whenever possible.
  3. RESPECT ALL – This is an event for EVERYONE. Respect them, their beliefs, their choices, and their riding ability.
  4. LISTEN – If a volunteer, organizer, or skater asks something of you, listen and react accordingly.
  5. HAVE FUN – This is a no pressure, pure enjoyment event. It’s not about winning, it’s not about being the fastest, it’s about having the most fun. Do that.

Kevin calls for volunteers to help out with corner marshaling and hay bales. In exchange, they get a discount on their entry fee. Another quirk about this event is that the promotion and correspondence seems to live primarily on Facebook. If any participant had a question months before the event, we just had to hit up Kevin on Facebook. Any updates or changes in schedule? Check Facebook. Where event posters and web advertisements have been ways that other events get there name out, Tepe only needs word of mouth and the world’s largest social media platform.

Another extraordinary aspect is that this event fulfills the ultimate dream of camping at the bottom of the course. Wake up in the morning and simply walk to catch the Uhaul to take a run. You feel safe leaving your camping and skating gear at the bottom during the event. At the end of the day, everything you brought is conveniently where you left it and you can get right to cooking dinner and letting loose.

The Sk8Bus at the Shasta skatepark with Mt. Shasta in the background.

Landon Jackson lands in a backside nosepick at the Shasta skatepark.

The Sk8Bus crew at a gas stop on our way to Tepe and Tacos.

I traveled to the event in the PDX Sk8Bus, with Pat Haluska, JP Rowan and I switching off driving. At about midnight on Thursday night, I finished my evening driving shift at the entrance to the campsite. Excited to get settled in for the night, I let JP take over the steering wheel and he drove us into the camp. A narrow dirt road led us past various temporary “campgrounds” until we got to an even narrower section of cars parked on both sides of the road. Because the Sk8Bus has a long kick-tail, a few of us jumped out to help guide JP through the tunnel of cars without scraping our nose or tail. We made it through clean, only inches from touching the parked cars. Triumphant in our success, JP pressed forward to drop in on lil’ creek shaped like a mini-ramp. Unfortunately after our front wheels made it past the bottom of the creek and started climbing upwards, our “longboard” kick-tail performed a tail stall on the down slope behind us.

We spent an hour or so arguing and hypothesizing how to get ourselves unstuck before we resigned to the fact that we were stuck for the night. It wasn’t all that bad. I mean, how often do you get to sleep in a cap spot with a creek running underneath? Pretty plush.

The Sk8Bus with its tail stall.

Free Cascadia!

On the morning of the first day, things started at a leisurely pace. Luckily that gave the Sk8Bus time to get out of the mini-ramp we were tail stalled in. We stuffed firewood and rocks underneath the back tires and we got a bunch of guys to push from the front while Pat put the petal to the metal in reverse. Before riding even started for the day, we were unstuck! We asked some people to move their cars, backed up until we found an appropriate place to park, taking up most of the dirt road and causing other campers to drive around us. Perfect.

Push!

Push!

And we are good to go!

Cascadia is free!

The pavement overall is pretty butter, with only a few holes or scars to watch out for. The course starts on a part of the road that is exposed to the sun and had the only cellular reception in the area. As you descend into the tree covered area with the walls of the hillside on your right, you pass through many sweeping, banked corners. The right-hand corners are mostly blind and lead directly into a left hand sweeper, but there was really only one or two righties you really had to slow down for. Eventually, you come upon a left-hand hairpin that had EMTs and a porto-potty that some called the porto-left. At that point, the wall is on your left, the left turns are blind and it gets easier to spot your lines on the rights. Keep descending until you reach a right-hand hairpin and you’ve pretty much come to the end. With no reception at the bottom, it made people more social, talking about their awesome experiences on the hill.

Miles O’Connell from the Maryhill Freeride crew helped organize the course worker crew.

Head Honcho, Kevin Reimer.

After a great day of riding, I set up my DJ controller and PA system for some evening music. As it got dark for the night, I noticed someone starting a fire right next to the creek. Alarmed, I went over to try and help control the situation only to find out that it was Tyler Howell and Kevin Reimer. The landowners approved of them having a fire and they were moving the fire to an island in the middle of the creek. We enjoyed the ambiance of music and campfire and shut things down at a reasonable hour.

Mama Reimer and Papa too helped all weekend.

The second evening brought a bigger fire, larger group of people lurking, and a larger dance party. I started the evening with some reggae, moved into some hip-hop/rap, called for a small freestyle rap session, and played some hyphy new music. Soon, it was on to moombahton and until rocked some 80s electro to finish of the night. The drinking crowd was just getting started and wanted more, but there was still one more day of riding to get a good night’s rest for.

The final day of riding was bittersweet since the Sk8Bus had to leave in the afternoon to get started on our journey back to Oregon. We said our goodbyes and headed out on our long journey back home. After experiencing such a smooth and well-organized event, I would have to say  that without a doubt, it is a must experience event for anyone looking for three days of radical riding and chill camping. If you missed it this year, make time in your calender for next year. For all the photos from the event, check out the Facebook gallery I posted.

A big thanks to Kevin Reimer, Powell-Peralta, Skate Warehouse, and all the hard-working volunteers for the fun three day event.

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