Wow - 10 years of Rampfest… it’s pretty crazy to think about! Most businesses don’t make it to the 10-year milestone, so we’re beyond stoked that we’ve been able to keep providing an awesome skate park for kids and adults to ride / skate / scoot!
As some of you may know, I’ve owned Rampfest for almost 5 years now, and in that time we’ve made a few changes, built some new ramps, and started some new programs. Well, we haven’t even come close to finishing yet. We’ve got so much more in store, that I can’t wait to get started.
But today, I don’t want to get carried away with the future, I want to talk about the past. Like most small businesses, the path to today hasn’t always been easy for Rampfest - there have been plenty of up’s and downs along the way.
I remember the first time I visited Rampfest so well. It was in 2008, and the park had just been opened by Brett Williams. Brett was a BMX’er for way back, and was super passionate about giving kids a great place to ride.
Check out this video here for what the place looked like in the beginning:
Yeah, we know - the plywood looked a lot cleaner! But hey, it’s been well used!
The first time I came to ride, I travelled down from Brisbane and met Brett. We chatted about BMX competitions, park designs and all sorts of stuff. Brett worked like a madman to make this place happen (along with a huge crew of dedicated riders who I couldn’t even attempt to list without missing someone), and you could see how proud he was of the finished product.
For me, as a young BMX Rider, it was a dream come true to ride a place like this - the ramps were big, smooth and fast! The first couple of years of Rampfest flew by in a whirlwind of hotdogs, milkshakes, backflips, and flairs.
Rampfest played a key role in producing some of Australia’s most well known BMX & Scooter riders. Then, after a few years, things got a bit tough - as they always do in business. The economy slowed, BMX and Scooter sales dropped off, and the park had a few lean years. This lead to a change of ownership - with Brett passing the torch on to Sam Moore and Jesse Pidgeon from Fist Handwear (you’d still know this brand as they make the best gloves on the market!).
Sam and Jesse brought the same passion and dedication to Rampfest - and with some new ideas, a new team, they kept it rocking through some seriously tough times. They hosted some amazing contests and made sure Rampfest was still the park to ride!
Here is some video of one of their highlights - the Fox BMX Pro back in 2013:
Then, my good friend Liz setup a meeting with Sam in October 2013 to chat about events. The more Sam and I talked, the more ideas we threw around, and more I got excited about what could be done with Rampfest. It was a long way from the original glory days now - but there was always big potential.
So after about 3 months of chatting, I bought Rampfest from Fist with my business partner, Steve Morrisey, from Ride On in QLD. I moved to Melbourne and worked closely with Sam and Jessie to make a seamless transition.
Over the next 2 years, Steve, his wife Sam, and I worked our backsides off to keep Rampfest growing and evolving. It wasn’t always easy, but when I look back on it, it was an exciting time! We built some new ramps, put in a bigger shop and kept the events rolling.
Here is a highlight for us - the 2014 RampFest BMX Open:
Then, towards the end of 2015, Steve and Sam decided to step out of the business to focus on their young family, which leaves Rampfest with me.
One thing that really stands out to me about the story of Rampfest has nothing to do with the actual skatepark. It’s the fact that through all the changes, there is no beef between any of the past or present owners - which is a rare thing in business. I think it’s simply because we all bought into Rampfest for the same reasons - to get everyone pumped on Action Sports.
Since 2015, I’ve done my best to keep the park fresh with some new ramps here and there, plus keep developing new events & programs. It’s rarely easy, but always challenging, exciting and at the end of the day, extremely satisfying.
Whenever the grind of running the place gets me down (and believe me, there is a grind - it’s not just giving out high-fives to run a skatepark, despite what some might think!), I just get out for a roll on a Saturday or Sunday morning, see how many kids are stoked, and everything is ok again.
We see some serious Pro’s come through Rampfest - and I’ve seen more insane tricks in that place than I ever though possible, but honestly, nothing gets me more excited than seeing a new kid drop in for the first time. Or nail his/her first tail whip, or air, or 360 or whatever it is!
As I write this I can actually feel myself getting goosebumps about last weekend, when a young guy who started riding at Rampfest a couple of years ago nailed his first Backflip! His face said it all - the stoke was HIGH!
Or about the little legend Chantelle, aka “Nails” - who came along to a “come & try” day, and has become a fixture during every school holiday program ever since.
These are the kids that make Rampfest awesome for me. It reminds me of how stoked I was when I learned a new trick - it’s really a high that can’t be beaten. And I’m pretty sure that’s why I’m so determined to make Rampfest into the best Action Sports Park in Australia - it might not be fast or easy, but then again, nothing that’s really worth it ever is!
Finally, to wrap up this little trip through Rampfest History, I just want to say thanks to a huge number of people. There are far too many people to name, and I’d be terrified of missing someone if I tried, so I hope everyone knows who they are. Anyone who has ever run a business knows that you never succeed alone - and Rampfest is certainly no exception.
I want to thank the original builders, riders and staff - who along with Brett, laid the platform for everything Rampfest has become.
I want to thank Sam & Jesse and all their staff and friends for all their hard work and passion in running Rampfest.
I want to thank Steve & Sam partnering with me back in 2014 and helping me fulfil that little-kid dream of owning a skate park.
I want to thank all my friends, family, business advisors, mentors and anyone who has listened to me rant, bounce ideas around, and talk (probably incessantly) about Rampfest since 2014. Your support has been amazing - and without you, I’m sure I couldn’t have made it this far.
I want to thank all of our suppliers, partners and other industry people who share our passion for action sports and have all contributed in one way or another to what Rampfest has become, or to the Australian action sports industry as a whole.
I want to thank all our staff - past, present and future - who bring friendliness, passion, hard work and expertise to our business every single day. Without them, we can’t be what we are.
And finally, I want to thank all of the riders, skaters, scooter’ers, parents and customers who have come to RampFest. There are well over 40,000 of you around Australia and the world who have visited Rampfest. Without you guys, your support and your patronage, we would not get to keep doing what we do. All I can say is that I hope we’ve give you as much as you’ve given us.
That’s a wrap for me today - I hope as many of you as possible can join us on the 26th of August to celebrate the 10th Birthday of RampFest.
Even if you can't make it down, I'd love to hear from anyone about your experience at Rampfest from the last 10 years - whether its a photo, video or just a good story, feel free to send it to me her: