Mecca Ditch is a banked slalom skateboarding event in the Las Vegas desert.
It is called Mecca Ditch because the big hike up to it can be likened to a pilgrimage.
Also, there is a Ka’aba-like structure behind it.
The First Annual Mecca Ditch Race, presented by the SoCal Ditchskaters, attracted a motley crew of yee-haw cowboy skate maniacs from the West… Including myself.
It was during Halloween, so for the occasion, @OregonDead and I packed up the funniest of our funny matching outfits and jetted away on a red eye flight to the chaos and carnage of Sin City. For the first half of our trip, we opted to stay off the strip at the Suncoast and golf in Summerlin aka “Scottsdale, Nevada”.
The day before the race, a handful of us went up and marked out a banked slalom cone course that was about ¼ mile long. Although the first Mecca Ditch was not ISSA (International Slalom Skateboarding Association) sanctioned, the course and timing system adhered to their rules:
Underwear without pants, however, is not allowed in sanctioned events, so we rode outlaw on that one.
We had a fun day of setting the course. It runs from the head of the Mecca Ditch to the first bridge.
The sunset hike back out is truly a transformative experience. The hot smear of desert colors over the Las Vegas Strip burns into your eyes, and as you clutch your board, your brain rolodexes through the archives of your most formative shredding memories.
After build day, we went to a nice dinner. My old boss from Denver had just opened a sexy modern Chinese restaurant called ‘Jing’ in Downtown Summerlin. A Las Vegas bachelorette party blog mentioned his restaurant in an article, and as a result, Jing Las Vegas had a red carpet and DJ and was totally stuffed to the gills with beautiful women.
After dinner, we cruised over to the newest resort in town – a temple to money, where players flock to signal their wealth and lay down their dollars at the alter of overindulgence: The Red Rock Casino.
Lucky for us, we don’t gamble. We just dress up and get lost for hours trying to find the exit to these places. I swear, someone is out there designing these casinos to confuse you and take your money.
At the break of dawn on Race Day, we arrived at the trail head. The event announcements online hyped up the spiritual nature of the location. As such, the mood was very somber and reflective because we all showed up expecting to have a thoughtful pilgrimage.
Twenty-one skaters came to compete. We brought big-wheeled ditch skateboards, and each board is as unique as the rider on it: high performance penny boards, souped up popsicle sticks, narrow-trucked downhill speed boards, cutaway dancing boards, and of course, my snowskate that I converted into a skateboard for the summer.
The other twenty-or-so riders were on normal decks. They were skatepark-skating dudes that had never heard of banked slalom. One way or another, they caught wind of the event, showed up and threw down some super gnarly pack runs. Homeboys took additional runs until they were, very impressively, clearing the course on their high-durometer wheels.
We had a special appearance by a rad street derby skater. It made me wonder whether the rise of street derby skating would ever intersect with freestyle skiing. How can we get these chicks on skis?
As you would expect, there was a lot of bloodshed. The Ditch Gods collected blood sacrifices of a broken hip from one person, a broken shoulder from another, a broken wrist, two broken fingers, and lots of scrapes all around. My Sexy Mario Halloween costume was awesome… until I ripped my pussy off.
Despite the carnage, the race was hugely successful.
The podium was as follows:
1st: Paul Chestnut
Supported by Sk8 Kings Skateboards, Old Bones Therapy, and Deathracer 413
2nd: Brandon Sanchez
Supported by Sector 9, Gullwing, and Muirskate
3rd: Hans Frank
Although there was no women’s category, I managed to put up a clean run and snag the Top Racer Award! The beautiful trophies were made by Tye Donnely.
In the evening, Black Lab Slide hosted a parking garage session on the Strip. I imagine it was a loaded cannon of nuts because it was Saturday evening on Halloween.
As much as I wanted to go, Nurse @OregonDead and I were dealing with my road rash, so I was busy doing the old song and dance of limping up to the pharmacy in a stupid slutty Halloween costume and dropping an armful of first aid supplies on the counter. Next year boys!
The next day, we rented a BMW and drove it very fast to the Valley of Fire State Park. Despite the oozing wound, I agreed to a long hike over fire waves, around silicon domes, and through narrow pink slot canyons.
We covered a lot of ground: oozing all over the park, oozing all over the BMW, and oozing all over the crawfish boil at Hot and Juicy.
Finally, we checked into our hotel and changed the first-aid dressing. We stayed a couple nights at the Hooter’s hotel and casino.
Apparently, that jam band Phish was playing a massive Halloween show at the MGM Grand next door. It was all the same god damn fans from the concert in Eugene that we were at a few days ago with @theabortionator . If they weren't so busy grooving all the time, the Phish fans ought to form an army and do something useful, like idk, abolish the TSA or something. It took like an hour of weaving through them to find the MGM Grand’s rideshare pickup.
As we had learned from Jing Restaurant, bachelorette party forums provide the best intel for spotting hordes of beautiful women in Vegas. The queens online told me that “All the hot girls go to the Cosmo”. Boy were they right; that is absolutely where they are. DJ Pauly D’s Halloween show at the Cosmopolitan might have literally been the sexiest dance party in the world.
@OregonDead and I were beat after that, so we wandered back, hitting the Taco Bell red carpet on the way home.
The next day, just like when the South Park characters went to Aspen, we took a Timeshare Tour of the South Point Casino. They were hosting the PBR Professional Bull Riding World Championship, so apparently all the cowboys were in town.
In return for doing the Timeshare Tour, we got 2 hotel nights free. Of course, we’ll be using them for next year’s Mecca Ditch Race!
Man, I’m already dreaming about the next one.
Will I see you there?
Many thanks to the event sponsors, Kurt Smith for the photos, Hovland Snowskates for the gear, SoCal Ditchskaters for hosting, and all the great people who appeared in the edit!
@oregondead @ditchskateboardingofficial @tyedonnelly @surferstylee @mecca_ditch @didootsonrose @matt_pyro @oldschoolditchfoo @hfrank215 @b_roberson_8 @chestnut068 @b_r_a_n_d.0_ @blacklabslide @drangmfglab @dramamama_skates @imrealgone @lynnibob43 @jaegercruize