Photos: David Flotte
WORDS: STU GOMEZ
St. Louis, Missouri, located right on the edge of the state, is a historically dense city. The riverside metropolis—it’s literally ground zero for the term “west of the Mississippi”—not only has a lot of spots but it also has rich history of producing numerous notables: you’ve got your Fred Sanford, the bipolar homie Don Draper, that chick from “The Office,” Yogi Berra, and Steve Berra (possibly no relation).
One recent St. Louis emigre, Tyler Peterson, has become quite the fixture at The Berrics. He’s instantly recognizable; with his Cardinal-red coiff and his vise-grip-pinch crooks, Peterson is our resident redheaded St. Lunatic.
His journey to LA started with an Instagram post four years ago, back when he was fifteen. At that time, the social platform was just beginning to build steam as the primary avenue for young bucks seeking sponsorship. Peterson filmed a sick kickflip-back-tail-bigflip out on the box at Plan Nine (his local park), and, as a hail Mary, he tagged several industry influencers in the post. His list of heavy hitters included Ishod, just because he’s the best; Steve Berra, because Peterson would religiously watch The Berrics; and Tyler Cichy, HUF team manager. This one clip landed him on HUF flow and led to him sharing a house with Berra for an extended period, skating The Berrics whenever he wanted to. How’s that for beginner’s luck?
“That post got a lot of love,” Peterson remembers. “Berra replied and was like, ‘Damn! How old are you?’ I knew that people from small towns in the Midwest have this weird connection and I knew he was from St. Louis so I told him, ‘I’m fifteen… and I’m from St. Louis.’”
The possibility of Berra taking him under his wing was an opportunity that Peterson jumped at, though it did seem a little too-good-to-be-true (“I thought I was being catfished,” he says). But, once Berra could convince Peterson’s parents that this wasn’t an “Amber alert” situation, doors began to open one by one. Peterson eventually started to get flow from other companies like SOVRN (the home of Walker Ryan, Mikey Taylor, and Jack Fardell) and Skullcandy. Both sponsors are super supportive of Peterson’s projects, and he’s responded in kind by relentlessly repping them. Once Skullcandy stepped in and offered to pay for his filming trips and incidentals, Peterson knew that he needed to get serious about putting a part together. That part, incidentally, will be part of The Berrics’ continuing “Next New Wave” series.
In late October, Peterson flew back to his hometown for a few days on Skullcandy’s dime. His goal was to get a few more clips in an environment that’s familiar to him but is seldom seen in skate videos. He stayed with his folks and then buckled down for a weekend of full-time clip questing.
The going was tough; a steady stream of kickouts hampered his productivity. And there were even dietary issues to contend with. As a dedicated vegan, Peterson found it rough to get his roughage—the best he could do on the road was a salad at the local Steak & Shake. (A Steak & Shake salad; that must be some “secret menu” shit.) But Peterson had some success. All in all, nothing can beat that proud local-boy-makes-good feeling of flying home to get clips. What do you say? Let’s meet the homie in St. Loouee.
Is it hot in herre, or is it just Tylerre? Did you know that the Arch’s nickname is “The Gateway to the West”? Fun fact: this is also what Tyler (our resident St. Lunatic) calls Berra. //Every time I try to leave, sumthin’ keeps pullin’ me back, me back… Tyler, aka Gingy, hit the jackpot with this amazing thrift store find. $1.98? That’s a bargain right thurr.
One call away Tyler’s choice of cutty spots required DIY skills that he has yet to hone. Big cracks call for much Bondo; luckily, Tyler’s handy dad was easy to reach by phone. His dad even Quik-creted the more stubborn landings. “My dad did concrete for seventeen years… he Quik-creted one rail that was dust,” Tyler says. “He made the rail perfect!”
Bust a cap, out of there in a hurry/Wouldn’t you know, a drive-by in Missouri Or… get a clip, out of there in a hurry. Ice Cube may or may not have cruised through STL, locked and loaded and looking to slang product (as immortalized in his song “My Summer Vacation”), but he definitely was trying to get away. And St. Louis offers plenty of options for a So Cal city boy looking for a change of scenery. There’s the Botanical Garden, and they’ve even got one of the finest zoos in the Midwest. And have you seen the Arch? You can actually ride to the top of it! You’re welcome to stay in St. Louis as long as you like; but please leave your gats at home.