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About Team it all began!

    Where to start? Mmmm....well, it all began back in Birmingham, Alabama some years ago. It was the mid-to-late 80's.....Animal Chin was not even an idea yet and vert ramps were king. In Birmingham, two vert ramps reigned on either side of town......the "Brickyard" to the named because it was constructed in the unfinished concrete block foundation of a home long forgotten.......and then to the north, there was the "Moat"...named as such because a creek partially surrounded it. Many a pro skater stopped by for the occasional visit, and skaters far and wide made the daily or weekend trips for a session. Phil Hosey was lucky enough to own the Moat, and it was there that we all really first met.

    Soon the mini-ramp craze caught on. Easier to build and less expensive (that is if you didn't know where to find your local midnight lumber yard....hehe), mini-ramps popped up all over the place. Some of Birmingham's most notable included Dave Freeman's (8ft high by 6ft wide ramp...cut to 5ft and then extended to 24ft wide), Eric Wren's ramp, Bobby Renfro's (later given to Chris Solomon) and finally Chris Souza's (the first to have a spine in Birmingham). During this time, we had all managed to convince our local shop owner at Competition Skates to build a skatepark...he raced inlines himself, so we had to appeal to his greedy side to get him to agree......told him of all the money he could bring in! haha So soon enough, Competition Skates built Rampage Skatepark. An outdoor park consisting of a 6ft tall mini-ramp with a a spine, volcano, and rollover (all ahead of their time when only saw that stuff at Danny Way's house in videos...haha) and a huge 24ft wide, 12 1/2 ft high vert ramp all lovingly covered in steel. That really set our park the age of masonite indoor ramps, we had steel.....and better yet, STEEL VERT!

    At the time, skateboarding was on the rise again. More and more kids were skating......mostly street because this was about the time the shift happened to "new school". Every new kid that came along and sponged up the new videos thought the world revolved around getting sponsored....not being pro....but being just good enough to get sponsored.......getting stuff for free......the "flow". All of us that had been around for a bit knew better. It was all ridiculous....just skate and have fun! At the skatepark, we all started forming little "teams" as a joke...anyone can "call" themselves "sponsored", right? So soon there was "Team Herb" and "Team LTSP" with 4 members and 2 members respectively, but they left a few of us out that didn't partake in their.....uhmm......"social pastimes" . The next day, in walks Phil Hosey and Rob Smith wearing "Ping" hats, and so, "Team Ping" was born. Now as it was told, the name "Team Ping" came from doing nosepicks on vert......the "ping" is the sound the trucks make when they hit coping....the fact that Phil's dad played golf and had some Ping golf hats lying around was probably just a coincidence....haha. After Phil and Rob formed the team, Chris Solomon was next to join....that is, after he passed the initiation. What was that? Well, you had to do nosepicks on vert of course! At least that was what Chris was told as Rob watched Chris try to learn nosepicks over and over for about 3 hours before he finally did them. With that, Solomon was the third member. Finally, there was Jon "Lil' Jon" Griffin. He was only 13 or so at the time, and although he dominated on the mini-ramps, he could do little else but drop-in on vert. He earned his spot on the team by doing a coping high frontside air. So that was that....the original four members of Team Ping. In hindsight, I think Solomon was the only member that had to do the "actual" initiation. haha In the time to follow, Team Ping became rather well known. What began as a joke, actually turned into a strong bond among friends. On all our many roadtrips, we let folks know who Team Ping was....we've skated and partied with some of the best of 'em! When folks heard that Team Ping was around, they could be guaranteed of a fun session....good skating, plenty of beer drinkin', and no egos to get in the way.

    So many years have passed, and those "teams" from the Comp Skates days have all broken up and gone their separate ways in life save one....Team Ping. We have stuck together through thick and thin, good times and bad, and still skate together to this very day. We picked up a few more members along the way...people we believe fit into our group nicely. So if we happen to be in your town or you in ours one day and you see one of us skatin', feel free to strike up a conversation and enjoy some good skating with us.....hell, we might even let you buy the beer! =)