State of Confusion Skate Park and Shop
Decision to Keep Skate Parks in Baltimore
State of Confusion Skate Shop and Park is one of Baltimore’s new places to go for skaters who are looking for a clean, safe environment. This 6,000 square feet park is owned and operated by Ron Dreyer and Curtiss Taylor.
One of the main features this park has to offer is its smoke and drug free policy. It is also appealing to many skaters because of its indoor climate control.
The owners decided to purchase the park because the previous owner did not have the time, drive or desire to continue to maintain the skate park. Dreyer says he hopes to one day buy the other half of the warehouse to attract older skaters because the space would allow for larger ramps. Dreyer’s inspiration to buy the skate park came from his love for the sport.
“I skated from 1979 through 1986 until I was injured. I do this so I can live vicariously through the guys,” Dreyer said.
Best of Baltimore 2005
State of Confusion Skate Shop and Park won the Best Skate Park award in the Best of Baltimore 2005, given by the City Paper. The skate park offers the youth in Baltimore a place where they do not have to worry about any confrontations with police officers, which many skaters do.
Park Driven Toward Younger Crowd
Dreyer and Taylor’s main focus are the young children who come to the skate park. Dreyer says one negative about owning a skate park is it occasionally becomes similar to a day care. Many of the younger skaters parents are not involved in their children's skating.
“Last week a 6-year-old came to skate by himself. A cab dropped him off outside and I had to call his mom. It makes no sense that some of these parents do not know where their kids are,” Dreyer said.
“You’re not going to get chased off here,” Dreyer said. “This is a fun place to skate. It gets old not being able to do what you want to do.”
The cheap rates to skate at the park are a plus for the young skater. It costs $5 for every two hours and $10 for all day skating. The park hours also attract many skaters because the park is open year round. The hours of operation for the park and shop are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. The park and shop are open on Thursday from noon to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 7 p.m.
State of Confusion's Skate Team
Dreyer and Taylor have also managed to gather seven skaters to create their own skate team. The team attends local skate competitions.
“I’m more about the kids and building their confidence than getting the best skaters out there and winning every contest,” Dreyer said.
Dreyer’s military background helped him create a way to divide the skaters on his skate team. The first rank is the sergeant, also known as the team captain. The sergeant for the State of Confusion’s skate team is 17-year-old Brandon Russell. The next three levels of ranking are specialist, first class and private. The skater works his or her way up the ranks from private to sergeant.
Russels said, “I like to come here because we are always getting kicked out of public places by the cops. They even try to steal our boards away from us. We’re not trying to hurt anyone, but that’s why I come here. I come here as much as I can because it keeps me out of trouble."
Zachere Eaton of Baltimore says he chooses to come to State of Confusion Skate Park because it is cleaner compared to other skate parks, and it provides better obstacles to skate.
“I like skating here because there aren’t any bikers or bladers. It’s just fun to skate here,” Eaton said.
Seven-year-old Joey Hornish is a member of the skate team and shows great potential. Dreyer says Joey has a half-pipe in his back yard and predicts by the time Joey turns 15 he will become a professional skateboarder.
“Joey’s mom is different from a lot of the parents. She is focused and ultimately supportive of Joey,” Dreyer said. “He has won The Ocean Bowl Contest in Ocean City, Md. for the last three years. He has beaten kids twice his age. He recently won the advanced 14 and under age group contest at Charm City Skate Park,” Dreyer said.
Skateboarding influenced by Video Games?
Dreyer says he believes the popularity of skateboarding is directly related to the popularity of video games.
“I chalk it up to Play Station and X-Box. Look at Joey, he knew his favorite sport and trick when you asked him without hesitation. I’m convinced it’s because of video games. They become familiar with the names of the tricks on the game and then they come in here and try to imitate the trick,” Dreyer said.
Want a Place to Skate and You're Not Going to Run Into Kids?
Dreyer and Taylor also provide special time periods for the skaters who are older than 21. On Thursdays from 9 p.m. to midnight, the State of Confusion Skate Park holds an Old School Skate Night. It costs $5 and many skaters come because they do not have to worry about accidentally running into a younger, less experienced skater.
“I love to come here on Thursday nights,” said professional skateboarder Rodney Jones. “I get to see guys I haven’t seen in years and we just have a lot of fun skating.”
The Older Skate Night session is held every Sunday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. A skater must be at least 30 years old in order to skate.
Dreyer and Taylor are strict when it comes to the skaters abiding by the park’s rules, Dreyer says.
“We make anyone who wants to take a step onto the skate park sign a waiver. The waiver basically covers us if they get hurt. If you are a minor you must have your legal guardian come in and sign a waiver. It can’t be your aunt. We must see legal guardian paperwork,” said Dreyer.
Dreyer and Taylor have a daily log the skaters must sign in as soon as they come through the door.
“We want to keep track of the kids while they are here,” Dreyer said.
All skaters must wear elbow and knee pads and a helmet. The skatepark has helmets to rent.
Challenges Owning a Skate Park
Dreyer bought the park and shop to help increase the popularity of skate parks on the East Coast; however, he is faced with challenges.
“I do this for the kids but as a business owner I have to keep track of many issues. Skateboarding is an [expanding]sport and I know Baltimore doesn’t have that many skate parks, so I’m going to try to make this one a success,” Dreyer said.
Dreyer also comments that he wants his skate park to be a a place for the younger skaters to learn the basics as much as he wants the veteran skaters to feel comfortable coming to the skate park.
“The majority of the skaters who come here are under the age of 18 but we also have professionals, like, Jake Rupp and Gary Smith, who like to come skate here,” Dreyer said.
Skateboarding and skate parks have come a long way since the days when Dreyer first became interested in the sport. There are many more skate parks than there ever was before; however, owning and operating a skate park is not all fun and sometimes tiring.
Dreyer's Thoughts for the Future
“The sport is only going to progress and morph. It will advance with time just like anything else. As strong as the sport is now, we’re not going anywhere,” Dreyer said.
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