Spencer Smith. Iowa City.
Spencer Smith. Iowa City. (Click to enlarge)

Words and photographs by Bruce J. Bales

Spencer Smith has spent the majority of his life on rollerblades. He has grown up with the Iowa Connection scene, and Spencer is still blading with the best of them. Truthfully, Spencer often surprises me. I’ve always known his determination to be hyper fueled, but it has been Spencer’s finesse that I’ve been paying attention to lately. During our last few sessions, Spencer has laced several tricks with such ease that I’m left remembering them long after the session is over. On this particular day Spencer was motivated and feeling loose, but we didn’t have that much time to session. Regardless, Spencer threw these tricks down with relative ease and we were on our way to some cold beers.
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Checking with Codee Jennings

Codee Jennings. Peoria, Ill.
Codee Jennings. Peoria, Ill. (Click to enlarge)

Words and photos by Bruce J. Bales

A few weeks ago Codee Jennings messaged me about getting an article together for the Connection. As fate would have it, Codee and I ended up working together on a music video in the Peoria area. After filming we found ourselves with a few hours of daylight. Naturally, we went rollerblading.

Codee’s life has drastically changed in the last few months, as he has welcomed twin boys into his family. Codee and his wife, Kim, now have their hands full with three boys in the house, so rollerblading isn’t exactly at the top of Codee’s to do list. From the very onset of our short session, I could tell Codee was squeezing as many tricks as he could into the session because he never really knows when the next one will be.

This mentality is becoming more and more apparent as our generation of rollerbladers age and start families. I think we enjoy rollerblading just as much, if not more than we did. It may be because we aren’t sure how long it will be a consistent part of our lives. Either way, my session with Codee was memorable. The only thing that mattered is that we went skating.
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2016 Spring Session: Waterloo. Photo: Bales.
2016 Spring Session: Waterloo. Photo: Bales. (Click to enlarge)

Words by Bruce J. Bales

Waterloo is a city with strong rollerbladig nostalgia attached to it. Our scene has always gathered in Waterloo for sessions, some of which were truly legendary (see: 2003 and 2008). The feelings those sessions had were present on March 26th when a much smaller group of us met at the Waterloo skatepark for a day of blading and friendship. I think everyone felt it had been too long since we’ve been to Waterloo for a session, and I think they were right. It was too long. But, the wait is also what made it so good to see friends and laugh. It doesn’t matter how long is it until the next one, or even how this one went. What matters is that we are still trying. We are still organizing for the love of family and rollerblading.

Thank you to Dylan and the Huntbach family for hosting everyone after the session for a delicious and much needed feast. We will be back sooner than later this time around.
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Words by Spencer Smith
Photographs by Bruce J. Bales
Video by Bruce J. Bales and Spencer Smith

On the cold monochrome days when life seems to lose its vividity and people in the streets become passersby, with whom you only share a moment and then advert your eyes, on these days the bare trees drape over slush and ice covered, gray streets, these trees like skeleton hands clutching at us, serve as a constant reminder that we are living amongst death. For there is no foliage growing and the colors green, yellow, and blue have become a dull memory of the things we’ve lost and a sliver of hope of things to come. On these dastardly days it is a Midwesterner’s yearning and duty to travel to other parts of the country.
Continue reading ‘Night Shine: A Bay Area Experience’