Last year the visionaries at the Charmcity Skatepark started the process of bringing a vert ramp back to the Baltimore area. Back in the late 1980's Millers Island (Edgemere) a Baltimore suburb had the Hell Ramp. Hell Ramp was a steel giant that truly lived up to it's name. The Hell Ramp was owned and operated by Millers Island legend Eddie Hicks. Hell Ramp also help launch the career of one of skateboarding's biggest stars, Bucky Lasek.
Dundalk, Maryland had the House Ramp which was a vertical plywood playground. Tommy Lutz owned the ramp and had moved on from skateboarding but was cool enough to keep the ramp up for years. Eventually the House Ramp was cut down to 6 foot mini. It remained a go to skate spot for years. Eventually the House Ramp was moved to Northpoint skateboarder Timmy Getz' house and later scrapped. Since then there has been a vert drought in Baltimore with the occasional tease from a passing demo or contest stop.
To quench this thirst for vert wasn't any easy task. The crew at the Charmcity Skatepark had purchased a vert ramp that was housed in West Virginia. It had to be transported and completely reassembled. The drive back and forth including I495 traffic and loading was 11 hours each trip. It took 14 sporadic trips to get all the material. Chuck Tawney and Charmcity Skatepark owner Jason Chapman were extremely careful in marking the materials meticulously so the rebuild would go as smoothly as possible. As to be expected when moving any ramp, especially one this large it wasn't going to be as smooth as hoped. Rex Singleton Co-Owner of the website/social networking page Vert Skateboarding was one of the first to suggest a weekly night for a community build. From that point on once or twice a week a small group of vert enthusiasts would gather and work on putting the ramp back together. This definitely sped up the process. It also caught the attention of ramp builder extraordinaire Mike Mapp from Ramptech. Mike came down with a seasoned crew and worked out the tweaks and eventually finished the ramp to professional specs!
There has since been months of great sessions and this Saturday April 5.2014 will be the first contest on a local vert ramp in 30 years. The contest is titled simply Baltimore Vert Contest #1. The practice is from 12:30PM to 2:30PM with the contest getting underway at 3:00PM! Entry fee for participants is $25 and to spectate is free (Just leave your board at home!) The Charmcity Skatepark is located at 4401 O'donnell St. Suite B Baltimore, Maryland 21224. There phone number there is 1.410.327.7909. The Charmcity website is www.charmcity.tv! - Jason Chapman The National Skateboarding Examiner