HoeDown at the Hoof

This years Hoedown at the Hoof is coming up fast! We caught up with Jason Shoemaker to get the lowdown on the Hoedown.

How would you go about explaining Hoedown at the Hoof to a stranger?

It’s really a celebration of bowl/pool skateboarding. I’ve heard it called Christmas for skateboarders but we just wanted to have 1 day a year where we could get a bunch of like minded people together and have good time at the hoof. That’s why we call it a “non-test” because if you care what place you are going to come in than you’re going about it the wrong way.  Just skate and hang out for the day.  Yes the contest aspect of it all is how we get everybody together but it’s always just been about getting everyone together for the best session of the year. 

Do you feel like this contest has just gotten stronger and stronger each year?

That’s been the plan. Grow the event a little bit more each year by adding new elements that add excitement to the day..  We are lucky to work with the best brands in the skateboarding industry who also share our views.  It’s at a really good size right now kind of like seeing your favourite band at the Horseshoe Tavern before they were famous versus seeing them years later at the Rogers centre.  I feel there is still room to grow a bit bigger though.  

I feel like Vanderhoof skatepark is in kind of an odd neighbourhood to host a large skateboard event with things like cheering and loud music going on. How does this go over with the local neighbours?

Honestly we have not had a complaint from the local residents and it’s funny to see all the people out on their condo balconies watching the event. We have had a lot of none skateboard families come out and watch for the whole day and say to us after they really enjoy the event so the location seems to work out pretty well.

Although you say it’s a “non-test” it is a legitimate contest with 3 judges and you give out a lot of cash so in your opinion what does it take to win a hoedown ?  
Over the years we’ve developed a pretty simple point system with our 3 judges to evaluate all the different skaters.   I mean its skateboarding and it’s so subjective when you factor in everyone’s personal style, trick selection and flow but yeah someone’s got to be The Winner! If you look at the winners over the years they’ve all done it a little differently like last year’s winner James Clarke who just went absolutely berserko all over the park. James’ win was completely different than say Daniel Vargas’ win from a few years ago where Vargas was just so damn smooth landing tricks never seen before at the hoof with ease.  Here’s what I think will help your chances though. Use the entire bowl, don’t just skate the deep or the shallow end. Back to back tricks are way better then doing one trick then cruising around for 10 secs to set up for your next trick.  Get the crowd behind you and you help your chances for sure. Save some gas and new tricks for the finals or do what you already did in qualifiers but bigger and faster with sketchy landings.  Don’t snake, there’s lots of time in each heat for you to get noticed.  Transferring from deep to shallow or shallow to deep always gets the crowd going so that will help too.  

Interview by : Jesse Landen