I don’t know if it’s readable or not, but among the million names on Ron Allen’s Life Thank You board (see post below) is Ryan Clements’, Skatepark of Tampa‘s current co-owner.
While Ron thought Ryan came on a road trip to Cali with his dad, Clements has a different version of the story -he even ended up owning the very board that Ron talks about. How did it end up traveling from coast to coast? Here’s Ryan’s take on things. Pretty cool little anecdote.
“Obviously I always knew who Ron Allen was. Off the subject here, but I
particularly recall Ron turning pro when he was like 27, which is ancient to a kid that’s like 16, you know?
Anyway, my life-long friend Jeb Stewart was getting some stuff from Life and/or Fun but Ron owned both of those companies and was really into Jeb. Ron came to visit in Florida one time and hung with us at Jeb’s place when his parents were out of town. We hit it off and hung in the hot tub.
I was so hyped that Ron was spending time with us. You’ve got to remember that we were living in Florida. Meeting and hanging with a big-guns pro really didn’t happen to us. I mean, we had some pros around, but nothing on the level of someone that was getting covers and legit coverage. But I got to hang with Ron a couple of other times and skate with him a bit, too.
So Jeb ended up moving out west to Oakland and rented the place just below Ron’s place right there in the city. I took a road trip with some other pals and got to stay out there for a week with Jeb. Although we didn’t see Ron too much that trip, I knew that he knew we were there.
Anyway, when I saw my name on that board I was really blown away. I mean, I didn’t think that Ron even knew my name, much less cared enough about me to think about putting my name on a board with all of his friends. There are some heavy hitters on there and I didn’t see where I belonged, but I was certainly honored. Now this is WAY back before people collected boards. Once I finally figured out that I wanted to have one and not skate it, they were all gone… and Ron had the only one left in existence. He wasn’t parting with it.
Here’s where the story gets cool though : fast forward 19 years when I read in Skateboarder about Ron’s favorite boards and saw the one with my name on it. I showed my girl and said, “Check it out… my name.” She laughed and said, “That’s funny that someone has the same name as you.” I explained that it really was me and she suggested I get one of the boards. I told her that it was impossible and that Ron held the only one, and that he wouldn’t part with it.
Well, during Tampa Am in December 2008, my girlfriend Jenna met Ron Allen in person since he was in town hanging out. She went behind my back and told Ron how much I liked the board, etc. Believe it or not, Ron gave the board to her and she presented it to me on Christmas in front of our family and friends. I was literally floored and completely speechless. I didn’t know what to say because I didn’t think that I deserved it in the first place. The board is now hung in my office at Skatepark of Tampa.”