RUTLAND — Brewce Martin’s Skatopia on Hutton Road conducted its 20th “Bowl Bash” with Green Jelly (pronounced Jello) showcasing more than 50 bands playing a festival celebrating skateboarding and the spirit that goes with it.
“I bought Skatopia in November 1995, which is my birthday,” said Martin, originally a Parkersburg, W.Va., native. “We had our first ‘Bowl Bash’ June 1996. This was our 20-year anniversary. This weekend we had probably 55 bands.”
Martin said he believes more than 1,000 people attended the event. The “Bowl Bash” attracts hundreds of comers a year and is one of the biggest events in Meigs County, whether the mainstream public knows about it or not.
Skatopia has been featured on MTV, as well as being included as a “secret level” in the Tony Hawk video game franchise. Martin accepts donations for the event but does not require paid admission. Visitors join the crowd to skateboard, watch skateboarding and jam to featured bands.
Martin has constructed several feats of engineering by extending the rooms of buildings on his property. He’s also built multiple skating pools and features on his property. His home features a skateboard museum that begins at the dawn of skateboard history with sport relics dating back to the 1960s. He says skateboards originally evolved from the scooter. Martin has also constructed stages on his property for the musicians who attend “Bowl Bash.”
Skatopia often has been touted as “enter at your own risk,” but the owner says it’s more than just a place to party.
Martin has often associated with the philosophical idea of anarchy. A documentary was once filmed of Skatopia called “88 Acres of Anarchy.”
According to colleague Tim Tice, Skatopia is about living how you want without being trapped by society and not believing perceived illusions that one so often finds in life. Skateboarding is just a part of struggle and Martin invites those who come out to partake. Throughout most of the year, Martin says life is quieter as he and his visitors work to build a bigger Skatopia and vision.
According to Martin’s son, Brandon, around eight other individuals may currently live on the property, helping contribute to its function and maintenance. Brandon is an accomplished skateboarder in his own right and oversees some of the online presence of Skatopia. He’s been skateboarding for almost as long as he can remember and says it’s become second nature to him at this point in life.
Martin is known to have traveled across the U.S. and skateboard professionally. He is still a member of boarding teams while also being sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon. He plans to continue building on his skateboarding museum and is always in search of another historical board or piece of skateboarding culture to share with those who visit his property.
Martin has said that Skatopia follows its own “jihad.” People ask him about it when he’s on a plane as it is clearly written on some of the shirts he owns. To him, it’s about marching to the beat of one’s own drum and encouraging others who visit Skatopia to do the same.
“I wear this shirt every time I get on the plane,” said Martin. “I want people to ask about (the lifestyle) and tell them its our ‘jihad.’”
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 46-2342, Ext. 2103.