On the drive south to Little Rock, I spoke the words: "There is no event in Arkansas I care more about than Kanis Bash." and standing in the middle of chaos, it couldn't have been more true. There is something about going to a place like Kanis Park for a decade plus that continues to deliver exactly what you want every time: skating, wet concrete, hammers, beer and friends reuniting for a weekend of Little Rock sun. What made this year even more sweet than previous years was the (near)completion of the Brown Ron/Sleezy Steve/JP/Alli memorial bowl. This was gearing up to be another unforgettable bash.
There is something very original and very refreshing about the chaos that ensues at your average Kanis Bash. I've been to many other skate events but nothing quite matches the level of pure raw skateboarding culture that embraces that weekend. So bold would one be to bring a case of brews to their public park, at Kanis, its almost inverse. It's almost like you are out of place if you aren't walking up with a case in your hand and your board in the other. It just goes to show - leave skateboarders to their ways and watch the shred unfold. There was appearances from all of the local skateboard brands including Juvenile(Northwest Arkansas/Oklahoma), Dirty(South Missouri), 1004(Southwest Arkansas), Plug(Northeast Oklahoma) and the heaviest of all LR, 2 Percent.
Too many times has the experience for Kanis bash been accompanied by screaming hot weather, this year was honestly the best temperature that we have had, day of, since I can remember. This of course was at the cost of hellish thunderstorms during the pour day, but we will get to that in a moment. The old park continues to prove why its the best DIY in Arkansas, so many people came out to show support. One key difference this year was the lack of structure, which actually played in favor of the day. No pressure from no direction. The bands went on as scheduled, with a huge thanks to a loaner generator from Corey of C&C Automotive on the front of his sleeper rig. Live music right in the center of the park has become a new staple, creating the soundtrack for the weekend. Kanis Bash is simply incomplete without it.
Now the story of the bowl is a hefty one. About a month before the bash, Little Rock's Master of Disaster Fitty Kent began to brainstorm on what was the next step for the park. Red tape was all over the place but the biggest task was going to be building a feasible budget. Keep in mind, originally some highly-skilled concrete dudes were going to be aiding in this entire project, giving a certain level of confidence in the project. Working with factors like allotted city budget, Kanis funds and whatever could be donated from some key homie's pockets there was a certain size this project needed to fit within to come out as a success.
Around two weeks before the pour, Brock and Kent did the dirt work, with a rented excavator and Brocks tractor which really solidified the build - this thing is happening. On the first main work day, Tristan and Sidani brought what was later identified as some of the most key tools to the finalization, the light and tarp. Forecast was not fairing well, thunderstorms were being called for but that wasn't stopping the scheduled trucks for pour day. If you hadn't figured it out yet, Kent is the superstar behind all the motivation for this. He dug the hole, rebar, arranged with nearly everyone who stepped foot on the site.
Fast forward - Bar is in the ground, storms coming in everyone is scrambling to set the tarp to cover the entire bowl to be able to work during the storms, Kent gets off the phone and says "Cobra Kyle's in stranded in Dallas with a cancelled flight". This seemed like a nail in the coffin. Lo and behold, Kyle doesn't skip a beat, rents a truck and drives to little rock driving 115mph to show up at Kent's, ready to get to work! Only one problem - the most important part of the pour, a shotcrete nozzle, was still on the plane in Dallas or in the air. Either way, the trucks were already scheduled.
The concrete bat signal must have been glowing that night because the day of the pour, the St. Louis boys showed up with the ever-important shotcrete nozzle and in thanks, The Rock brought shroom fuel to power the work. Concrete flowing, 24 total yards of concrete in total, 2 1/2 trucks. Greasy from Jacksonville, FL was a notable help, spending most of his time cutting shape. Cobra Kyle shot the whole thing, and the craziest thing of all, doing so in a full on thunderstorm. Brandon from Texas took care of the top of the wall finishing. Last but not least to play, some of the Fayetteville/JCT crew got the last bit of action to help finish the job off. One of the most unifying characteristics we all share is that DIY skater-bred instinct to play in the mud with the shared goal of building some shit to skate.
The most heart-warming addition to the bowl was the ashes of some of our most loved Kanis family members: Brown Ron, Sleezy Steve, JP and Alli Summers. The love that we have for them is insurmountable and their memory will live through the lifelong shred that this bowl will provide. All and all, the crew reported a smooth pour even after all the obstacles. However the work is not done yet - The massive tile band will take many meticulous hours, the customized tedder stone pool coping needs to be laid, dirt work will take its share of effort and decks will complete the newest edition to Kanis Park. Now, it is safe to say that many of us kept our focus in the back of the park but after this story, I'm sure you can understand why. The best part of Kanis is it's ability to create separate memories for all of us but somehow, it unites us... "They hate us cause we Kanis"