Mobash Bros.

Huck carcass!" These are words of advice that Jake Spencer, a local skater with a schnozz reminiscent of the skating great Tony Hawk, offers to other skaters young and old. As a novice skater myself, I tracked down Jake and his skater bro, Ray Hertz, at Missoula’s MOBASH skatepark in hopes of discovering the secret to their skating ability. The skatepark turned me onto skating and these two guys have been there as models of skating excellence. Hopefully understanding their mentality will unearth what it means to "huck carcass" and maybe even unlock my inner skate beast.
For local skaters, MOBASH provides sanctuary – a safe haven where they can enjoy smooth riding conditions and dangerous obstacles while protecting the rights of pedestrians. From the dawn of skateboarding, skaters have been saddled with the rebel stereotype. The expansion of pavement not only freed urban society of dusty roads but also created an environment where skateboards can be ridden with little regard for the general public. Jake and Ray, who skate as a daily ritual, fit the "skater punk" persona, but not because they try to. They accept the stereotype because they’re stricken with an irresistible ability to skate very, very well.
The skatepark gave impetus to my own skating odyssey. Constructed in 2006, MOBASH is an $800,000 facility nestled alongside the Clark Fork River just south of the Orange Street Bridge and is the creation of the Missoula Skatepark Association. Since my hometown, Missoula, had evolved to the point of having a skatepark, I wanted to not only support it, but also to ride it.
Jake and Ray both hail from small Montana towns, Jake from Plains and Ray from Potomac. Both towns offer little to the skateboarding youth. Jake recalls how the road he grew up on became littered with skating props such as ramps, rails and boxes. Cars wanting to pass would have to wait while the props were temporarily moved out of the way. For both skaters the long ago projects of building and moving props remain fresh in their minds and remind them of how fortunate they are to have a stellar park such as MOBASH.
Today Jake and Ray are, as they call it, "getting fat" on the skating terrain available to them in Missoula. And, though they are young up-and-comers, both have roots that reach deep into skating’s heritage. I found it interesting that when asked what skater they look up to, both answered not with a new star, but with a classic: John Cardiel. When I got into skating, the skate films I watched over and over were, in geologic skateboard time, brand new. Jake and Ray are inspired by films that far predate my experience, such as those by the Bones Brigade and a famous filmmaker named P-Stone, who made such films as Beer Slave, Beer Helmet, Keg Killer, and Shotgun. I suppose back then skating was less about skating and more about being different. Today, skating is mainstream with companies like Nike, Adidas, Red Bull, and Levi’s marketing directly to consumers who were once on the fringe. While Jake and Ray know their history, they are also in tune with what’s new, and they agree that Missoula needs "more core little kids who show us the true meaning of being gnarly." True carcass huckers?
So, in my first outing as an alternative sports commentator, I want to thank these two athletes for showing me a glimpse of how great skaters live and what they think. These guys are into gas station corn dogs, cutting the roofs off cars, and learning to "drift" on a moped. They get pumped on new things that make moms nervous. Still, they maintain a strong sense of tradition, even to the point of singing 80s The Cars songs to their girlfriends. Whatever "huck carcass" means, one thing remains certain: Jake and Ray will continue to inspire novice skaters like me to push their ability to the edge and then launch into a new realm of possibility.