Chad Muska Pulls Ahead of Mike V In Race To Live Out 1989 ‘Barnyard’ Board Graphic

One of the biggest stories in pro sporting over the past couple years has been street poet Mike Vallely pulling up stakes and transplanting himself to Des Moines, Iowa, the heart of American ‘flyover country,’ knowed as a farming super-power, but a long ways from SoCal’s sun-bleached big boxes and the Superfund-glazed sludges of New Jersey’s industrial bayous. In this state, heavily regarded as one of the USA’s flattest, Mike Vallely has occupied himself with power vlogging, earnest nature runs, and operating his family businesses. This bucolic dimension represents a late-career oasis of peace for one of skating’s most enthusiastic reluctant warriors, a becalmed cul-de-sac along a winding road that has led Mike V through professional hockey rinks, wrestling wings, slam poetry exhibitions, Hollywood movie sets and certain other instances.

And yet, pinch-zooming out, Mike V’s long and winding road begins to look more akin to a wobbly circle when one considers how his newfound life in Iowa, a state that is home to more hogs than humans and produces more corn than any other, was foreshadowed more than three decades earlier. In those days, boards were shaped with stone axes and chieftans draped themselves in the the skins of their most hazardous kills. On the ‘9 Club’ podcast, Mike V tells the story of how he came to World Industries, nurtured the switchstance discipline under the dictats of Steve Rocco, and ultimately came out with the revolutionizing ‘Barnyard’ board. “At the time, I was a skater of consequence,” Mike V related on the pod cast. “So many energies came together for that board to be created,” he remarked.

Among these was the pen hand of Marc McKee, whose day-glo farm scene would reverberate across the ages like so many cattle stampeding through an outdoor rave. Flipping the notion of a farm as an aromatic manufacturing plant for bacon, eggs, honey-basted chicken strips and artisanal breads, McKee channeled Mike V’s newfound vegetarianism to present an ‘Animal Farm’ of livestock and poultry rebelling, sporting T-shirts and brazenly hanging out — not so different from the skaters of the day.

MV: It definitely looked different than anything I’d ever seen before, and I slowly came around, but I had two demands. One was that the top graphic be a continuation of the bottom scene with the quote worked into it, and the second was what I determined to be a vulgar and pointless image of a horse mounting another horse – the horse that was getting mounted is still on the board, you can see her smiling face peeking out from behind the barn. I wouldn’t approve the graphic otherwise.

Upon its mass production, Mike V collected months’ worth of $10K to $15K checks, as per various interviews, and inspired some fellow skaters to rethink their own guzzling of hogflesh, ground-up cattle pieces and processed chicken muscle tissue. Across the skating sphere, Marc McKee’s graphic inspired legions of parodies and tributes and reissues, and opened doors for a ‘rural’ skater archetype inhabited at various points by talents such as Chet Childress, Daniel Haney, Justin Brock and Jon Dickson.

But even among the tidelands of Iowa’s grainfields, no man is an island. As his personal orbit grows closer to the lifestyle portrayed in the ‘Barnyard’ graphic, Mike V finds himself locked in a race with an unlikely competitor: Chad ‘The Muska’ Muska. Around the turn of the century, Mike V and Chad Muska occupied opposite ends of pro skatingdom, the latter a handrail champ chased by throngs of chanting kids on some ‘Hard Day’s Night’ type Beatlemania, the former an 80s-bred purist who filmed himself driving cross-country, doing one-man demos in towns a few stoplights away from qualifying as backwaters. As their beards gray, both appear to respond to gravel’s crunch beneath their boots, and the low-tax environment offered by red state legislatures as they produce limited-run, hand-numbered deck drops.

This week, though, Chad Muska claimed the clear edge in the longtime street pros’ quest to immerse themselves in country livin, posting videographic content to Instagram that showcased his expanding poultry brood and elsewhere doing a 360 in a John Deere tractor. In recent weeks, Chad Muska has built chicken coops, battled destructive subterranean rodents, inhaled mass amounts of pesticides and weighed the merits of various types of agricultural equipment. “Although I love my @johndeere I’m also looking into @kubotausa right now because they have some good deals at a local dealership,” he mused at one point, on Insta Gram.com.

Is Chad Muska’s rural turn made even more counterintuitive by the fact that his fits of late have skewed more heavily toward the ‘Fulfill the Dream’ era, or does this all represent a vision seeded during the Shorty’s team adventures on horseback and pilgrimage to the Tea Bowls? Can Mike V reclaim the lead in this barnyard battle royale by expanding his Street Plant brand into an organic farm and tapping the market for agritourism? Is a MuskaStrumz album of front-porch finger-picking in the works, supported by an all-star cast of fiddlers and pedal steel players similar to how Ween did their country CD?

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2 Responses to “Chad Muska Pulls Ahead of Mike V In Race To Live Out 1989 ‘Barnyard’ Board Graphic”

  1. art hellman Says:

    Iowhere? *

    *credit to midwestern shredder @iowhere for this reply

  2. Michael Burnett Says:

    Heavy LOLs with this one 😉

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