My first time at the Josh Evin Memorial Backyard Bowl Bash was in 2013, the 4th year of the annual event. I was unsure of what to expect. I arrived right at 1pm at the Slocan City Tenacity Skatepark as the Facebook event page had listed, looking around to try understand if the event was a party, a skate competition, or something more somber. Now, four years in, I look back on my initial perplexed state and laugh.
The truth about the Josh Evin Memorial is that it’s a little bit of everything. The mornings have recently consisted of OG’s skating with groms, giving them tips, and ultimately giving the kids time to use the park before the chaos starts later in the day. The last couple years have been ultra hot, and the majority of the afternoons have been spent on the beach of the Slocan Lake. Folks usually mosey on over to the skatepark on the other side of the town when A: the sun starts to wane, or B: they’re too drunk to swim, so skating seems like a better alternative. Once everyone has moved over to the skatepark after the initial beach-session and camp-site set up, things start to get more interesting.
Eugene Voykin plants a right hand and transfers over the hip in 2013.
Once the skate jam is on, you can expect to see cringe-worthy barefoot lines in the bowl, hear the tasteful mixes of reggae, OG hip-hop, and classic metal by Vinyl Richie, smell the intermittent shifting scents of Kootenay weed, smokies, borscht, and Alien’s BO (if you get close enough) and feel the positivity and love that Josh would’ve wanted us to feel from each other. Things continue into the night. The bowl is usually lit up by floodlights, fireworks, and phone flashlights as those who aren’t exhausted from a full day in the Kootenay sun somehow manage to continue contending with pool coping. After everyone’s finished—usually around midnight, everyone heads back over to the town campsite for the real party to begin. A curious bag of mushrooms has likely been going around for the last couple hours by now, and the psilocybin is now fully active under the usually star-filled skies.
Stephan Bottin embraces the Kootenay spirit with a barely-clothed Frontside Rock 'n' Roll in 2015.
At my first memorial, I thought the event was all about skating—I was wrong. Although the majority of the time is spent in and around the Slocan Bowl, the event is less of a memorial, and more of a celebration of life. The truth is, I never personally knew Josh Evin, but after four years of celebrating his existence, meeting his old friends, and experiencing how everyone treats each other at the event, Josh’s character is fully materialized. The memorial works to personify the life of an individual whose life was an example of how we should treat each other, celebrate life, and of course—skate. This coming summer’s memorial will take place once again in Slocan City on Saturday, June 23rd. This will be the 8th annual event, with anyone who loves people, skateboarding, and the Kootenays is invited. We hope to make this year as big or bigger than any of the past memorials, and we can’t wait to see who shows up.
Words and photos by Spencer Legebokoff