chrome ball incident #821: scenario

"For sure Buster and that whole early ‘90s vert generation kind of had bad timing as far as making money and all that. But then again, why do you skate? For fun or for money? In the end, Buster is known as one of the most stylish vert skaters of all-time. He’s not going to retire on it, but if you are into vert, you already know that." -Chris Miller

"When vert was dying, he was the best." -Jason Rogers

Have to admit that, for whatever reason, I've become somewhat fascinated by the tale of Buster Halterman as of late...

For those either not old enough or too trigger-happy with that vert button during the early 90's, Buster is a pioneer of the halfpipe who literally honed his craft inside of a barn in the middle of nowhere. Not in complete anonymity... but close. Quietly inventing tricks that the world had never seen, all by his lonesome in rural Pennsylvania. But word would eventually start to get out about Buster and he was picked up by a few sponsors. A trip was scheduled for Halterman to visit sunny California and upon his arrival, he quickly made a name for himself as he simultaneously scarred the then-booming So-Cal vert scene with this insane new style of his. Skating with childhood heroes at locales he once only dreamed about, suddenly Buster was big time.

He was the toast of the town but it wasn't long after Buster ventured out west that his vertical kingdom started to crumble around him.... though not through any fault of his own.You see, there was no way anybody could've known back then that the almighty halfpipe, skateboarding's most popular style and driving force of the entire industry for the last decade, was on the brink of total collapse. But as unfathomable as it was once believed to be, vert was going to die and along with it were the career aspirations of an entire generation of vertical skaters, including Buster's.

I'm not exactly sure what happened to Buster after all that. I know he ended up getting a job at Gullwing for a while and hooked up a few future street notables with the Groove... but I'm not really certain beyond that.

I do know that the ramp still stands in that same barn as always. Sure, the masonite has seen better days and the flat-bottom is covered in pigeon shit. But every once in a while, Buster will come home and skate it. And as that last photo will attest, he still rips. I suppose that's the most important thing. Legendary status.

Big thanks to Jeff Lambert and Peter Furnee for sending in that last photo. And thanks once again to my man JRog.

p.s. sorry for being so damn wordy today.


Cris said...

Chops, thanks for this. Buster was a revelation back then. Planet Earth was on tour in the East and stopped by our local park (Skate Hut, Providence) for a demo and he tore the place down. Backside disaster backside revert on that ramp 22 years ago was no joke. He had the sickest hangups, slob fastplants, proper McTwists, and a loose style...to be honest, almost like a vert Lotti. A really nice guy on top of it all. I look at my photos from that night all the time.


Anonymous said...

weldons business:

ODB said...

Those fingerflips. Steezy as fuck.

Dave said...

Definitely appreciate the wordiness, Chops. I appreciate the context because, like many, I just can't fully appreciate vert. But when Buster's story is told, it puts it all into perspective.

That f/s ollie to b/s smith is so stylish.

Weird how a few vert dudes who came up in that era managed to survive through it all. See Danny Way; Colin McKay.

JRog said...

Oh dang pull quote! Hmmm....I didn't really mean "THE best" meant more like "he was the best!" haha You could argue Danny was doing progressive things then hence the wiggle room. But I loved the way he mixed things, classic and modern, wall to wall. Case in point, this line: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUYjhnIoRUs&feature=player_embedded#t=297s I was a huge fan of Buster. Still am because he still rips!!

Keith said...

Watched a lot of Now n Later vert parts back in the day. The way Buster and Chris Miller skated the entire surface of a vert ramp seemed different than most.

I like that overturned fs 180 to fakie nose grind come back in straight... sick trick on a ledge. Even sicker on vert.

And that sideways Ryan Fabry sequence is pretty sick for back then.

mdspb said...

That Now and Later part is timeless. Still full of shockers. The stuff of dreams.

Unknown said...

Here is the video footage from the session at Buster's we had the night before Thanksgiving evening 2011.


buster said...

You guys are all to kind and i'm stoked see the old photos. Thanks to Chris Miller, I was inspired to follow a dream, persevere, progress. I'm forever thankful that i was given the opportunity to revive my professional status from 1998 - 2009 - thanks to Tony Hawk's Pro Skateboarder and other media. It was interesting how vert skating became somewhat of a gateway, or catalyst, after the recession that took me out in the early 90's. i just thought it was time to grow up and get a real job since i couldn't put food on the plate via skateboarding. - Buster.

chops said...

Thanks for stopping by, Buster! Super sick.

Hope all is well.