Blair Boards: A Project More Scary than the Blair Witch
Not sure how this all happened...
the chronology is not clear in my head, but I will see what memories rise to the surface. ..
it may have been a period in my life where I was still working hard on find an alternate way to work that did not really feel like work. so rather than making good money in an office (at this point I had never had an office job, that did not happen till my early 30s). I joined forces with Jason Farrell and went to the Blair Farm in Poolesville Maryland to work in a barn making snowboards.
Before any of this goes any further there should be a little background...
Bob Blair is an old school skater/snowboarder with some serious talent for catching air. He talks slow and he rides fast. Not sure where the money comes from, but the Blair boys have some serious money.....money to burn....and they all burn baby burn. Bob has a sorted past, but who doesn't. I have heard tales of his old school past, most of which have hit local folk lore status, all of which are true, some may be blown out of proportion, but the core of the message is still true. Bob rode with a colorful cast of characters that called themselves The Toke Team. These guys were the like Hells Angels on Skateboards. It was all about living large and crashing hard. Adrenalin junkies long before the word EXTREME came into vogue. Each individual member was more like a cartoon character than a real person, these guys would have made a great white Fat Albert and the Gang, but none of them were fat. (Wiggy, Tobin, Puker, Hayman, Bob Blair aka The Blur...to name a few...was Micro an official member?.) This is enough background...fill in the blank...use your imagination....on with the story.
Somewhere in the early/middle 90s I heard that Bob was looking for some people to work his new snowboarding manufacturing plant. Okay, it was a crusty old barn with a used snowboard press and a handful of tools. For some reason Jason Farrell and I decided to take on this project. Before you know it we were commuting from our perspective Mount Pleasant group houses in downtown DC to rural Poolesville Maryland in Jason's '67 Cadillac limo to work in Bob Blair's sweat shop. We were the 'jack of all trades, masters of none.' OSHA and EPA had nothing on this place. There were no goggles, no earplugs, no respirators, and no ventilation. It was dream that never left the drool covered pillow case or the unchanged sheets. I recall our favorite part of the snowboard building process was gluing the rails. The glue was a two step process, glue and accelerator; ZIP KICKER. Man, put those two together and you could turn Einstein and Edison into Beavis and Butthead. Man, oh, Man! That stuff could change our moods. Jason would be all grumpy about us working yet another week without getting a paycheck living off his Exxon card and my maxed out Visa card and I would say...."lets go glue some rails" And bam, smiles...giggles...and infantile humor. It was a short lived work scenario. We were not model employees and Bob was far from a model employer.....the product was shoddy and the industry was booming. There seemed to be no place for the Blair Board with its original, yet ghetto graphics adorning an irregular and imperfect product.
We arrived late and left early each day. When we were not making boards we were jumping on the trapoline, taking turns on the brakeless two stroke dirtbike, cutting wood with the chainsaw, or throwing rocks for Jason's housemate Russell's brindle Pit Bull Jake-Dog. It was an episode of denial. Not time well spent. An interesting time, but not the most productive time. Jake-Dog did manage to get laid for his first and only time ever. Jake got a piece and then threw up. We logged a number of hours and never got paid for them (always clocking out before we went on our white trash adventures.) Bob has his blurred vision and an unintelligible rational for never giving us all of our money. We each walked our separate directions angry and bitter. In the end I try to keep my heart rate down by rationalizing things....I should have known better than to think that anything productive would have come from working under someone as sketchy as bob blair. I can only blame myself.
It was a colorful time, not an entirely productive time, yet colorful just the same. The memories are BLURRED as are any memories of Bob Blair. His farm with its 200plus year old house and the parties that were thrown there can be summed up in one word; Decadent. Well, make that two words Drunken and Decadent. Okay, use three or four, sure, use as many as you want. His farm became known as "The Compound." A variety of B-Town skaters lived there. The Compound did infact become Waco East with Bob Blair as the long haired messiah. Those that lived there could draw a more accurate picture than I can. That farm was just a chapter in the history of the local skaters and the local skate scene. A scene that has disbanded, yet still has chapters written all over the country and perhaps all over the world.
There has to be some history of The Toke Team somewhere...
the Annadale Ramp in the early 80's and then the steal coated ramp at Cedarcrest in Manasas VA are a large part of East Coast Skate History
Ramptech is a completely different company that I also worked for. Mike Mapp, aka Micro, was an amped and angry skater with a vision. Skating was dormant, yet he believed. Mike could have been doing custom home building, yet he wanted to build skateboard ramps. In this case a person's dreams came true. But the format was completely differnent. Mike was driven and dedicated. He knew there were things that he could not do, he occassionally listened to advice and occassionally used it. And BAM! It all paid off.
I think I will try to give Mike a call.