If you go …
What: Second annual Lid Jam
When: 6 to 9 p.m., Aug. 1.
Where: Craig skate park at the corner of Baker Drive and Ashley Road.
— The event is open to the public. Free helmets will be given to skaters who pledge to always wear it. Food and prizes will also be available.
— Carelli’s Pizzeria and J&R Cyclery are sponsoring the event.
Shane Braselton’s bedroom looks like one belonging to most 20 year olds: concert tickets, posters and photos of friends and fun times line the door and walls.
A pair of worn skateboarding shoes, still caked with a layer of mud stuck to the soles and sides, rest near the doorway, and a Sector Nine skateboard sits in the corner.
The rest of the room is filled with items representing a life fond of music, art and skateboarding.
Skateboarding, above all else, it seems.
But, the room is missing one key component — Shane.
Shane died July 29, 2009 in Grand Junction from a skateboarding accident a day earlier in Craig.
He was 20.
“A blast of emotion” greets Shane’s father, Gary, each time he enters the room in his house in east Craig.
“It kind of stops me in my tracks,” said Gary while examining the scars, nicks and flaws worn into one of Shane’s boards.
About a week after Shane died, 15 residents attended a “memorial jam” at the Craig skate park to honor the young man many in the community knew and liked.
“The day that I heard about his death, we just kind of brainstormed what would be really nice to do for him,” said Kenny Stacy, Shane’s friend and an organizer of the memorial gathering. “Anybody who skateboarded or biked or anything like that knew exactly who Shane was. He was a big influence in that area in Craig.”
Since his death, Gary and Shane’s mother, Pam, said they continue to receive an outpouring of support from his friends, co-workers and the community in general.
That outpouring will continue early next month.
Stacy decided to take the idea behind the first memorial event and mold it into the second annual Lid Jam, which is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m., Aug. 1 at the skate park.
The event will be a competition with prizes for winners in competitive skating categories. Free helmets will also be available to skaters who pledge to always wear it.
The event, Stacy contends, is a good way to not only remember a lost friend, but also help make the community safer.
“We are honored that they think that much about Shane” Gary said. “But even more so that this is all surrounding using helmets.”
Shane was not wearing a helmet at the time of his accident, Pam said.
“Being 20 years old, I think he really thought nothing could happen to him,” she said. “The way that I look at it is that when I was that age, that was kind of the way I felt, too. You just don’t think anything is going to happen to you at that age, but obviously it can.”
‘His own person’
Shane was the youngest of Gary and Pam’s three children. He lived most of his life in Craig.
Pam said she remembered Shane as an old soul.
“The thing I always think about Shane is that he always seemed like a throwback,” she said. “He was definitely his own person. It really didn’t matter if it was cool or not, if that’s what he was going to do, he was going to do it.”
Gary said over time Shane developed an unmistakable presence.
“He could come into a room and make everyone feel calm and comfortable,” he said.
Shane was attracted to anything with wheels, Pam said. At 12, he picked up a skateboard for the first time.
“He was kind of the ‘go to the edge’ type of kid,” Gary said. “He worked really hard on the longboards and he was good at it.”
Shane, a 2007 Moffat County High School graduate, attended Mesa State College in Grand Junction for a year before returning to Craig and taking a job at Carelli’s Pizzeria, Pam said.
Carelli’s owner Jim Diehl said Shane was passionate about whatever he did, especially his job at the restaurant.
“He had a real light spirit,” Diehl said. “He was funny. He kept things light around here.”
Both Pam and Gary agreed Shane enjoyed skating because he “excelled” at the sport.
“He didn’t seem to be that afraid of getting hurt,” Gary said. “He handled the pain pretty well … there was some daredevil in him.”
‘Some great memories’
A year after Shane’s death, Gary said the family is still learning to cope with the “void” left by his absence.
“We have our moments still,” he said. “We would see a picture of him and every so often we would even be driving somewhere and look over, ‘Gosh, that kid looks like Shane.’”
“We know he is in a better place,” Pam said. “It would be pretty hard to go on if you didn’t believe that.”
Gary said he and Shane were becoming better friends as time went on. That he was more than just a father is comforting, he said.
“I’m OK with it, much better than if I would have been estranged or something from him,” he said. “We were going places. Camping, just the two of us. Hiking. He wanted me to go with him. We had some great memories.”
Diehl said he still carries memories of Shane, such as a voice message from him on the night of his accident.
“I’ve kept it saved on my cell phone,” he said. “It comes up to, ‘Do you want to erase this message?’ But, I’ll probably keep it on there forever.”
Reminders of Shane’s life are still present in the community, such as two of his longboards hanging on a wall at Carelli’s.
“We thought it would be nice to keep him around and keep him in mind,” Diehl said. “It kind of keeps it fresh in your mind, it keeps it real, you know? Makes you appreciate your day, I guess.”
A leather notebook containing the thoughts and feelings of a few of Shane’s friends is also kept at Carelli’s, said T.J. Kober, a friend of Shane’s and a cook at the restaurant.
The notebook contains messages like:
“Now there’s no mountain you can’t climb, no place you can’t skate and no trick you can’t do. Rock hard and roll fast.”
“Everyone is going to miss you, man. Take it easy, man. Keep on skating, wherever you are.”
“I’m going to live life to the fullest just for you.”
“You are the whole reason that I decided to buy a longboard. I wish we would have gotten a chance to ride together, but I think we will someday.”
Kober said he learned to cope with Shane’s death, rather than mourn.
“I still missed him like hell,” he said. “But, he wouldn’t have wanted me to be sad. He would have wanted me to go on with my life and remember the good times, really.”
Do what you love, ‘but be responsible’
Stacy said he hopes to continue hosting Lid Jam as long as possible to spread the word about safe skating and wearing a helmet.
“This is also a great way for everyone to kind of remember him and celebrate his life,” he said.
Pam said she feels the event serves to teach skaters to “do what they love, but be responsible at the same time.”
“We know the kids are going to do things,” she said. “That’s human nature. They are going to do daredevil things unless you tie them to the bedpost and keep them in the house all the time.”
Young people, Gary said, need to know their actions can hurt people.
“As brave, as strong and as competitive as they are, they need to think about the actions they make and how they could really hurt somebody else,” he said.
Shane would have wanted to be remembered in the spirit of an event like Lid Jam, Diehl said.
“If we can make it a fun event and spread a little consciousness about wearing a helmet when you are skating, I think it is going to be good all the way around,” he said. “I think Shane would dig that, too.
“He would be a big part of it if it happened to someone else.”
Brian Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org.