Skatopia – The Anarchist’s Skatepark

skatopia tattooed on knuckles

Skatopia is a skatepark and festival area in Meigs County, Ohio. It is owned and operated by an ex-pro skateboarder, Brewce Martin, and his “Citizens Instigating Anarchy,” otherwise known as CIA. But obviously not that CIA.

You might remember Skatopia as one of the areas in Tony Hawk’s Underground 2, or from the episode of Viva La Bam titled Mardi Gras: Part 2. Skatopia was created on 88 acres of woods and farmland in 1996. It’s home to Brewce Martin, his son, and his mother. But it’s also home to many virile festivals filled with sex, drugs, loud music, skateboarding, fireworks, and all forms of debauchery.

Skatopia has been described as, “a demented mess that meets halfway between an anarchistic Mad Maxian Thunderdome and a utopian skateboard society.”

Some of the structures at Skatopia include the Lula Bowl, Epcot Bean, Church of Skatin’, The Full Pipe, the Amity Whitelight Amphitheatre, the Skateboard Museum, and, formerly, King Dong.

Who Is Brewce Martin?

Brewce Martin at Skatopia.

Brewce Martin became a pro skater back in 1990. Brewce moved back to West Virginia in 1995 and began working on a permanent Skatopia. 

Initially, the land was leased at Progress Ridge near Parkersburg. But during that same year, Brewce and Skatopia were forced out of West Virginia. Then on November 1st, 1995, Brewce found and purchased a permanent location for Skatopia in Meigs County, Ohio. After collecting donations from over fifty friends, and signing the contract to purchase the land, Brewce and his pals moved the entire ramp complex to the new location. 

Now, Brewce is known as an ex-pro, the founder and owner of Skatopia, and has some producer credits for his work on MTV True Life, Viva La Bam, and Skatopia: 88 Acres of Anarchy.

Brewce Martin’s Accident

Brewce Martin holds up a piece of his skull that has been removed three times.
Brewce Martin holds up a piece of his skull that has been removed three times.

Brewce suffered a traumatic brain injury, caused by a tire exploding in a tire shop near Skatopia. The accident left him in a coma for six weeks, and since then, he and everyone he’s close to say that he’s no longer the same. 

During his stay at the hospital, surgery was performed to relieve pressure around his brain caused by the swelling. He still has the removed chunk of his skull that he shows to visitors to Skatopia.

The documentary, Skatopia: 88 Acres of Anarchy shows Brewce before his injury, as the ringleader in the center of all of the mayhem.

“A guy stomps around on top of a burning car, a woman spits fire into a room of partygoers, someone holding what looks like a handgun is tossed off the top of a car as it barrels down Skatopia’s dirt road.” wrote Matthew Richmond in his article, Skatopia’s Brewce Martin Hands Over Control And A Notorious Skate Park Is Tamed.

Skatopia’s Brewce Martin Convicted of Assault

Brewce Martin stands out front of Skatopia sign.
Brewce Martin stands out front of Skatopia sign.

Brewce Martin was convicted of assault for attempting to run over another man at Taz’s Marathon, a convenience store in Pomeroy, Ohio. 

Coincidentally, Brewce and the man had a verbal altercation many years ago. Then while in the convenience store, the two apparently had another verbal altercation. Although, both accounts seem to remember things differently.

Originally, Brewce was allowed out on a $50,000 bail with 10 percent down. However, after more time in the courts, Judge Carson Crow revoked the bond and set a new bond at $100,000 with 10 percent down, GPS monitoring and house arrest, and an additional $25,000 bond. 

James Phillips explained in front of the court that he was getting gas when he saw the incident occur. James told the jury he was at the gas pump when he noticed Brewce. Brewce yelled out to the man, “You don’t know who you are f***ing with. I will f***ing kill you.” James said that Martin revved his engine, squealed the tires, and drove straight for the victim. 

“I thought the guy was dead,” he said of the victim noting that watching the collision occur, he did not believe the man would live through it.

Of the assault, Brewce eventually jokes that he plead insanity to remain out of jail.

Control Of Skatopia Has Changed Hands

Brewce Martin hands over control of Skatopia to his son, Brandon.

After Brewce’s accident, his son, Brandon, returned to Skatopia from the professional skateboarding circuit to help run the place.

Brandon has begun to take more control of their home and skatepark, Skatopia. And he’s been trying to scrape away the poor reputation that Skatopia has obtained over the years. Brandon will not allow any more burning cars, no more throwing fireworks into the barn, and no more guns. Those are the three new rules of his. Still, that was enough for him to lose respect and some of his friends.

“I’ve lost a lot of friends because I’m trying to do something right. A lot of people just wanted to abuse what we were giving and not be grateful for the opportunities we were trying to help people with,” said Brandon Martin. 

And with that, Brandon didn’t advertise much before their party in 2019. Fewer people showed up than in the past. But no cars were burned and no fireworks were thrown into the barn.

For now, the plan is for invitation-only parties going forward. These days Bruce sits at the edge of the party selling t-shirts, while Brandon attempts to bring order to Skatopia.

Skatopia – 88 Acres Of Anarchy

88 Acres of Anarchy is the 2010 documentary of Brewce Martin’s Skatopia. It is a vivid and wild display of the chaos and mayhem that is not only allowed but encouraged in the old days of Skatopia, and one of our favorite skateboarding movies. It is a mixture of hardcore skating, punk rock, and hillbilly culture colliding into an anarchistic community. Those days being the days before Brewce’s accident.

A constant work-in-progress, the skatepark is a mecca for skateboarders who want to live outside of the rules of society. Cars are burned, fireworks are shot at each other, there is plenty of drinking and smoking, and punk and hardcore bands play while people enjoy all-night skate sessions. 

As the film starts, Brewce begins hatching plan after plan in an attempt to get out of debt and build new skate terrain that will attract more festival and party-goers. 

Brewce’s optimism persists even as the misfortunes continue to pile on. But after an unexpected stay in jail, it appears as if the year’s potential is lost. He returns to Skatopia bent on salvaging his income, his relationships, and the rest of the skating season. 

Skatopia: 88 Acres of Anarchy celebrates the freedom from societal norms that Skatopia can offer. But it also takes a hard look at the dark side of Brewce’s charisma and energy as he switches from an inspiring visionary to a bullying cult-leader in a moment’s time.

Skatopia In Tony Hawk’s Underground 2

Skatopia in Tony Hawk's Underground 2.
Skatopia in Tony Hawk’s Underground 2.

Most people will remember Skatopia from Tony Hawk’s Underground 2. In the game, Skatopia is the only area where you actually get to play as Tony Hawk. It also marks Ryan Sheckler’s video game debut.

A few random facts about the level:

  • There is a cat that will attack you if you ride to the top of the hill.
  • Players can grab and throw Smoke Bombs, which are located within the Big Barn.
  • There is a glitch where if you throw a smoke bomb while the cat is on your head, it will stay there.
  • When put together, the initials on the arcade machine spell out “TEN HARDCORE YEARS KICKIIN YOUR ASS”, referring to the fact that Neversoft had been in business for ten years by the time the game was released. There is also a spelling mistake there. It was meant to be KICKING.
  • Behind the fence at the barn, Bigfoot is hiding behind a tree (if you haven’t found him first in story mode). Throwing smoke bombs will cause him to get knocked down and disappear, unlocking his goal list.

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