Extreme addiction

Got Milk skateboarder Chad Shetler holds onto his board to

Got Milk riders dazzle Garlic Festival crowd with tricks by
skateboard, by bike, by in-line skates
GILROY – Pro Biker Gabe Weed came to the 2003 Garlic Festival determined to woo and excite spectators by introducing his extreme sport art form of flat-land riding.

He accomplished that goal with dazzling spins and hops on his bike. But not from way up high on the 30 foot wide, 12 foot high half-pipe. Instead, the Walnut Creek-native, now settled in Huntington Beach, was at eye level – performing stunts of a different sort.

“Flat-land riding, it’s kinda something new,” said Weed, an 11-year veteran of pro flat-land that has been around for some time but is not highly televised like the other high-flying extreme events.

Between the three-a-day sets, however, Weed developed an unexpected addiction to all the garlic goodies the festival had to offer.

“I love it,” said Weed, 29, as he chowed down on another pepper steak sandwich following the second of three Sunday demos. “I’m addicted to this stuff.”

A flat-lander uses the pegs and pedals of the bike to hop around the platform and spins the handle-bars as well as the body of the bike around to complete tricks. Weed is a master of his trade.

“I like it. It’s my favorite way to make a living… The crowd usually gets into it,” the Got Milk? rider said. “(Theses demos) are a chance to see it in person.”

There was a lot to see at the Got Milk vert ramp – which gave off thrilling displays of skateboarding, in-line skating, BMX biking, and flat-landing.

“Got Milk gets the best talent they can. This is an all-star team,” said Kip Williamson, the master of ceremonies and team manager whose job was to get the crowd going. The great thing is you never know who or what you are going to see.”

The Got Milk Tour employees three teams that travel the country during a six month span – hitting up different venues through the states.

The Garlic Festival flyers included Weed; Australian in-line skater Sam Fogarty, 22, who video-gamers can be in a PlayStation 2 extreme game; skateboarder Chad Shetler, 26, of San Clemente; BMX biker Dave Brumlow, 32, of Florida; skateboarder Dean Randall, 30, of Orange County; skateboarder Jesse Fritsch, 24, of College Park, Pennsylvania; and Williamson, the vocal leader of Orlando, Florida.

“It’s good fun for the kids. They’re all stoked and we get to do what we like to do,” said Shetler in his first year on the Got Milk Tour and at the Garlic Festival. “It’s crazy how many products they can make into garlic. I didn’t know you could do so many things with garlic.”

The Got Milk Tour – which has been part of the Garlic Festival for three exciting years – promotes the importance of drinking milk to youth for the 2,300 dairy farmers in California, while putting a show on for the kids at the same time.

“Folks at Got Milk thought it was a rad combination,” Williamson said. “You see guys fall all the time. You don’t learn without falling.”

And all athletes, especially extremers, need strong bones since they are always testing their bodies limits and taking hard spills in the process.

“If (the crowd is) into it, you get psyched and do better tricks. If they’re not into it, you don’t do as much,” said Fritsch, a 14-year skateboarding veteran in his second year of demos. “This is more of a show. For the most part, the people here haven’t seen anything like this live.”

But Fritsch was not as into the garlic tasting as his teammate.

“It’s cool, but it’s too much garlic in the food for me,” he said.

The Got Milk crew, wearing black shirts with white trim, braved the heat all weekend long to put on a show for the garlic crowd.

“It’s starting to affect me a little,” said Weed of the heat, “but I was in Tennessee with the humidity and Concord where it was 108 degrees.”

It wasn’t anything some garlic couldn’t cure, though.