1st Annual Craig Johnson Bowl Jam – Texas Is The Reason

Texas is the reason to honor a true skateboard legend. That’s why, this past weekend, Todd Prince and I, packed up the shop, got in the rental and headed for the first “Craig Johnson Bowl Jam” at 4 DWN skatepark in Dallas, Texas. The weather was typical Texas heat wave hot, just like the skating. Huge props go out to Mike Kelly, and crew for building a solid perfect bowl. It took all 41 days to construct this monument that will make Dallas the premium spot for bowl skating.

Craig Johnson

Shout out to all the sponsors who contributed to make this happen: Vans, Embassy Skateboards, Super 8 Skates, Bones Wheels, Skeleton Key, Indy Brewing (for all the free beer), Conspiracy Skateboards, The Point Skateshop, The Taco Dude and everybody.

Mike Kelly

A lot of familiar faces on the Texas skate scene showed up for this one. The vibe on this day didn’t feel like a contest. It felt more like a family reunion, with an eclectic group of shredders who have one purpose in mind. That purpose is to activate the switch. The skating was top shelf to say the least. Isaac Martinez (40 +) from Austin, and Mike Kelly (Masters) from his van, both got top honors in their respected divisions.

Gavin May

The “Open” and “Sponsored” division was off the chain. I’d like to say I was impressed with Gavin May from New Braunfels. He reminds me of a young Chris Gentry, and he took the Open division. Sacc Castillo and Harley Till placed second and third. As the sun was setting, the sponsored guys were getting in the zone. That was about the time the free beer started flowing. The DJ stationed on the platform blasted out the tunes. What would happen for the next 20 minutes or so, would be something etched in your mind for a long time.

Ben Johnson

The name Ben Johnson will be remembered. Why? Because normal human beings can’t comprehend what he was doing. I can remember watching Craig Johnson skate with a sense of urgency. At any given moment he could slam and die, literally. He skated on the edge, every run, every time, no matter what! He would lock up on a huge “Indy” and somehow, by the grace of the “Skate Gods” live tell about it. Embassy team rider, Ben Johnson, reminded me of Craig Johnson on this day. He exerted and activated the vigorous action switch. He used up all his “9 Lives”, in the first two runs. He skated to the “Captain Gnar Gnar” tag, and didn’t disappoint anyone.

Auby Taylor

Let’s not forget about Auby Taylor who skates for Black Label. He brought the Jeff Phillips vibe to the party. I’m used to seeing Auby in a vert ramp situation, so this was fun to see.

Ivan Rodriguez

Mr. Hesh (Ivan Rodriguez) took third, from Grand Prairie, and he skated like his life depended on it. He threw down huge boneless’s, Roast Beef airs, lien disasters, taking most of it to revert. The “Heads” of Dallas would say Ivan has a bright ass future. I keep telling this Embassy team rider, “Get your Passport”.

Chip Wright

All in all, it was an epic weekend hanging and skating with friends. Shout out to Chip Wright for handling the mic duties, and thanks to the Godoy’s for killing it with the music. Shout out to Billy Smith, Dana Buck, Kitten Rose, and all the players involved. Special hugs to Mike Crum for handling this gathering with the true Texas spirit. Until next time, SKATE FOR FUN!

Words and photos by Lee Leal
Ivan Rodriguez

Sacc Castillo

Auby Taylor

The Godoys.

Ivan Rodriguez

Ben Johnson

Ivan Rodriguez


Ben Johnson

Embassy Skateboards Booth

Harley Till

Craig Johnson and Lee Leal

Ivan Rodriguez

Isaac Martinez

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson

Ivan Rodriguez, Craig Johnson, Ben Johnson, Auby Taylor, Mike Crum.

Todd Prince

Sejo Alvarez

Taylor Bray

Craig Johnson, Mike Kelly and Mike Crum.

1st Annual Craig Johnson Bowl Jam.


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