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Ain't No Business... Like PRO Business!

Chris Gentry

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My Skateboarding career began in

1984

 

Born May 19, 1974, in Houston, TX. I started skateboarding in 1984 at the Skatepark of Houston where I learned how to ride vert. I was Inspired by local Pro's Bryan Pennington, Jeff Phillips and many other Texas Legends and by 1988 I was doing Airs, Frontside Ollie's, Madonna's, Frontside Pivot to Fakie's and winning amateur competitions around the country with my other good friend Mike Crum who hooked me up on Vision Street Wear at the time. My skateboarding career was now official.

Houston, TX. was home to a vert skateboarding contest called Shut Up & Skate where all the top Pro's would come into town for the event, which was every kids dream. I remember being 14 and seeing Danny Way for the first time in Houston, TX. destroy the mini ramp and vert. I couldn't believe what I was witnessing and being that we were the same age, I was inspired to ride like the best.

 

I turned Pro in 1991 with Vision Street Wear and Toured the U.S.A. and Europe. I won my first Pro contest in Paris, France in front of the Eiffel Tower. Vision put out my first Skateboard Pro Model of the Gin-Tree and put me on the back cover of Transworld Skateboard Mag.

Our European Tour was 3 months long, hitting countries like Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, England, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland. I landed in Helsinki, Finland on my 17th birthday in 1991 to begin the Euro Tour. Great experience for a young teenager trying to figure it all out.

In 1992I went on tour with Lollapalooza skating mini ramp demos with Mike Crum, while watching Icecube, WC, Cypress Hill, Boo Yaa Tribe and Rage Against the Machine perform in New Orleans, LA. Houston, TX. & Irvine, CA. Having a passion for rap, that tour inspired my music career to gain steam.

After graduating high school in 1992, the next day I left on tour with Dave Duncan and Eddie Reategui for the MTV Sports and Music Festival Tour in Houston, Miami, Chicago and New Jersey.

2 weeks after being home from the MTV Tour, I loaded up everything I owned and moved to Costa Mesa, CA. and rented a house with Omar Hassan. I joined the Focus team in 1994 founded by Christian Hosoi, Eddie Reategui , Dave Duncan and Barret "Chicken" Deck.

At the end of 1992, I met my sons mother Ricca on an airplane from Houston to L.A. and then ended up getting married in 1995. We started a skateboard company called Kingdom Skateboards where the theme was fantasy in reality. Skateboard Your World. 

Our ad campaigns were meant to be humorous, and so the first one consisted of a Skateboard Spaceship called the Skatecraft, that I built out of balsa wood and Christmas lights. Photoshop did the rest. Being from Houston, the home of NASA, it only made sense. A Skateboard Spaceship that launches a Kingdom Satelite! lol. I  built the Satelite out of PVC and solder wire! In Space Before The Race Began! lol.

In 1995, 411 video magazine featured one my first recorded songs " Outside Lookin In"

By 1997, I built the Kingdom Castle model and the Lowrider Skateboard Car model for our next ad campaign. In 1999, in our following ad, I built the Skateboard Monster Truck model to feature the team: Tas Pappas, Tom Boyle, Bill Weis, Jay Stevenson, Brad Hisser, Warren Day, Nate Broussard and Adam Clark.

In 1999, we launched a Kingdom Theme Calendar that we put together to promote our products.

I was invited to the second X-Games in 1995 in Providence, Rhode Island and by 1997 they introduced the X-Trials as you can see above in Huntington Bch, CA.

Kingdom lasted from 1995 - 2000.

In 1999, I learned a trick called the Rodeo inspired by Bucky Lasek and also a Frontside Boneless Rodeo inspired by Jeff Phillips. Above is a sequence of one takin by Rick Kosick at the Slam City Jam in Vancouver, Canada.

I also learned a trick called the Heel Flip Body Jar as you can see above in the sequence takin by Joanna Tichauer at the US Open of Surf Soul Bowl contest in Huntington Beach, CA.

The Huntington Beach Bowl scene was incredible when you had Chickens PoolKelly Belmar's and the Basic Bowl all within 10 minutes of each other. Above in the left corner you can see a Kickflip Indy at the Basic Bowl, and next to it is a cover shot for Evidence Magazine.

In 1999, The X-Games moved to San Francisco, CA. where Tony Hawk did the 900 and Emenim came out with the Slim Shady LP. Hearing Emenim rap for the first time was like watching Danny Way skate for the first time... like What the? Protivation to the next level!

Shortly after the X-Games were over in July of 1999,  I met Eminem, Proof and Paul Rosenberg  a few months later again in Honolulu, Hawaii at the Snoop and Dre Reunion, where I also met Jerry Long aka Kokane, one of my favorite singers in Rap Music.

The next day after returning home from Hawaii, Kokane called me and invited me over to Snoop's house at Dog House Studios. I showed him a song I had recorded called "Down For Life" and it had no hook on it. A few days later we recorded our first song at Dave Cochrane's Studio in Hollywood.

From then we started recording more songs together featuring various rap artists like  Mr Short Khop who did a song with us called "Opposites", and RBX did a song called "Bang Your Head" with Danny Way on the guitar. Pimpin Young  joined us on a song called "Wig Split". Tilo and Pro Rider Seth Enslow did one called "Maintain" and Jud Nester jumped on a song called "You Know". We also had Chad Muska produced a song called "Skaterz Union"After it was all recorded in 2001, Kokane said, "Let's call it Gentry & Mr Kane Gangstarock " and there you have it. My first album with some great artists.

October 4, 2001 was the greatest day of my life when my son Micah Gentry was born, and so it was time to start steppin things up makin more happen. Ridaz Gotta Ride To PROvide!

PRO or Pro Riders Organization began in August 2002 at the X Games VII in Philadelphia, when an impromptu rule change resulted in myself and some other Vert skaters being left out of the “doubles” and “best trick” competitions. I and my partner Mike Crum had won the Silver Medal for second place in the “doubles” competition the year before in Philadelphia behind the team of Tony Hawk and Andy McDonald.

Angered by the changes, we called together a majority of the Riders, for a "Riders Meeting" who then put our issues and the changes we wanted in writing, “Ink and Paper“. After having each Rider sign it, we presented the issues to the event organizers and the rules were changed to accommodate the Riders.

From that moment on, it was obvious the Riders would have to stick together under one roof in order to have our voice heard in the world of Action Sports 

When I returned home, for the next month, I began putting together the basic documents. That collective voice became PRO, Pro Riders Organization. On September 29, 2002, the first 35Riders signed up to the new PRO. They were my family of Riders with names like Pierre Luc Gagnon, Rune Glifberg, Omar Hassan, Danny Way, Buster Halterman, Jake Brown, Danny Mayer, Tas Pappas, Mike Crum, Sergie Ventura, Lincoln Ueda, Andy Macdonald, Mathias Ringstrom,Matt Moffett, Renton Miller, Brian Patch, Chad Voght, Phil Hajal, Chris Livingston, Jesse Fritch, Darren Navarrette, Christiano Mateus, Max Dufour, Kevin Staab,Darin Jenkins,Ben Schroeder, Aaron Astorga, Austen Seaholm, Dayne Brummet, Dan MacFarlane, Ryan Johnson, Stephen Murray, Koji Kraft, Mike Mancuso, Tim Hall, Kenan Harkin, Cory Nastazio, Seth Enslow, Ronnie Faisst and Trigger Gumm.

This collective voice serves to PROtect, PROvide and PROmote the sports, athletes and the interest of our members, now and forever known as the Pro Riders.

Since 2002PRO’s membership has grown to over 100 of the top professional athletes in the sports of BMXSKT and FMX.

PRO is truly “For the Riders…By the Riders!”

I was on the Got MilkTour from 1999 - 2001 and also skated a vert part in the Grind Movie. In 2003, I did demos at Disneyland, CA. for the X-Games Xperience for 2 weeks straight with Pro Riders Buster Halterman, Rick Thorne, John Parker, Paul Zitzer, Rob Lorifice and others.

After getting divorced in 2004, I went on the Matt Hoffman Crazy Freakin Stunt Show at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL. We did 6 shows a day for 30 days straight with Pro Riders Jay Eggleston, Gabe Weed, Dave Brumlow, Dave Voelker,  Max Dufour, Sergie Ventura, Mike Crum, Phil Hajal and Fabio Da Silva, Tom Stober and John Parker. Every now and then Matt Hoffman would personally show up and Ride.

2004 was my last year competing in the X-Games, X-Treme Economics, at L.A. Staple Center, due to a "Time Out", where I, and the Pro Riders Organization decided to PROmote ourselves on the first live broadcast of the X-Games, with stickers and bandit signs everywhere that read, "Make Us PROud!"

The network would not acknowledge us as a legit organization back then, and we wanted our voice to be heard... and since majority of us were invited as top ten Vert Riders... we came PROpared... with lemons... to make  lemonade.

We felt, since the network was using us to PROmote their Xtreme Brand, for merely prize money and self exposure... then we'll PROmote our organization on their airwaves and let the fans know who the Pro Riders are. Why? According to Forbes "The games helped launch ESPN2, now worth $1 billion, and spawned 20 spinoff licensing deals, including an IMAX movie, five XGames skate parks and X Games DVDs, toys and even ice cream."...

Ask any kid on the street.... would you rather be called an Xtreme Athlete.... or a Pro Rider?

We wanted to let the world know, that we're more than just.... the term Forbes used "cheap talent"...

We're the Real Deal Pro Riders behind Xtreme Sports, and dedicated athletes with families to feed... as we risk our lives for peanuts. As their business grew into millions... and ride fully so...  a lot of amazing riders were being left out. Broke. We needed a VOICE!

The idea was to follow the foot steps of other Pro sports. When they started the PGA, a Players Gotta Play... When they started the NBA, a Ballers Gotta Ball... We started PRO... and so a Ridaz Gotta Ride!

We PROmoted so hardcore, that they escorted me off the X-Games premises after getting 6th place in Vert, and put up signs saying I was Banned. I took the heat for the Organizations decision... and probably because I was most PROactive PROmoting as well, but that's what I felt we had to do at the time, because "Ridaz Gotta Ride To PROvide"... especially when he just got divorced. It was time to "Make Us PROud!"

At the end of 2004, Big Chief from Rap A Lot Records in Houston, TX, invited me to the Geto Boys "Yes Yes Ya'll" music video shoot. I met one of my favorite Rap Artist of all time... Brad Jordan aka Mr. Scarface. Around that same time, I recorded a song called artist called "Houston" with another on of my favorite artist  Big Mike from the Geto Boys.

In early 2004 Pro Riders  also met with with NBC, who was presenting a new tour called the Action Sports Project in direct competition with Casey Wasserman's plan for a skateboarding league. They wanted to follow the X-Games model and build their own brand using the Pro Riders. Great.... if you were top 20 only. it was more appealing for the Pro Riders to support NBC's tour with multiple hours of network coverage, and so the Riders voted to support it. Once NBC had our industry interest, they sold their sponsorship packages with Mountain Dew being the main sponsor, and then it became the Action Sports Dew Tour. 

Even though our verbal deal didn't go exactly as planned, it was still a great tour to be on and help make happen. Big events are not cheap to Produce, and they were willing to roll the dice on action sports and we were able to PROmote... It was a new opportunity for everyone. The first stop was in Louisville, KY in 2005.

The top left photo is a group photo in Louisville, KY looking from left to right with Pro Rider Vert Skateboarders Sean White, Rob Lorifice, Danny Mayer, Jake Brown, Jean Postec, Sandro Dias, Chris Gentry, Rune Glifberg, Bob Burnquist, Mike Crum, Anthony Furlong, Tas Pappas, Lincoln Ueda, Bucky Lasek, Andy McDonald and Jesse Fritch. DOIN IT PRO! 

The photo below is one with BMX Pro Rider Dave Mirra, Tom Stober and Jay Miron and the one to the right is FMX Pro Rider Nate AdamsRidaz Gotta Ride!

After some bumpy roads in 2005, by the end of 2006, Pro Riders had found a new look and had a new plan. We now had Proriders.com and our new logo that involved two unique swooshes, that gave us the feel of a new beginning. Pro Riders... For the Riders... By The Riders! As you can see below.

In April 2007, I drove solo 10,000 miles around the entire country in 6 weeks on my Pro Riders Lincoln Up The World Tour. I wanted to let the Riders know our new PROtential and hand deliver our new shirts and hats, then we would go ride at the local spot. After the tour, our brand name became clear... Certified Pro Rider.... You Pro Ridin... or you just ridin!

June 22, 2007 on the Dew Tour in Baltimore, MD, one of my best friends, BMX Pro Rider Stephen Murray, was paralyzed from the neck down after crashing on a double back flip in the finals. Everything we do and represent as Pro Riders, is for our fellow Riders, to have a foundation in place incase an accident like Murray's occurs or when guys like Pro Riders Jeremy Lusk and Jeff "Ox" Kargola loose their lives. Like in other Professional Sports... We're building a foundation for PROtecting Riders!

Special thanks to Aaron Cooke from the ARF Athlete Recovery Fund and all the Riders and Sponsors that donated to Steven Murray's Stay Strong Mission. I wrote a song called "Stayin Strong", where Stephen called me right after qualifying for the finals, excited and ready to Ride, and then later that evening all our lives changed.

Stephen Murray is the pure definition of PROtivation. He is an inspiration to the world and the Real Deal Man of Steel. He always has a smile and two of the most  important things in life... family and a great Attitude! So next time your feeling down, all you have to do is think about Stephen Murray to lift yourself back up. He told me a quote one time that I'll always live by, He said "Just when you think that you have nothing left... reach inside and dig deeper!

We launched the new Pro Riders look on July 4, 2007, at the Pro Riders Freedom Fest in Fort Hood, TX. It was a welcome home for wounded soldiers and a great show with Skateboard Vert  Pro Riders Jake Brown, Mike Crum and Danny Mayer, with BMX Pro Riders Jimmy Walker and Koji Kraft with PROnouncer Abe Towery. We also had FMX Pro Riders Jimmy McGuire, Justin Newman and Greg Hartman with PROnouncer Ryan Johnson.

The photo at the top left from left to right are Pro Riders Greg Lutzka, Allen Cooke, Simon Tabron, Alistair Whiton, Ronnie Faisst, Pierre Luc Gagnon, Luke Parslow, Dave Dilleward, Stephen Murray, Nate Adams, Sergie Ventura, Rune Glifberg, Cory Bohan, Jake Brown, TJ Ellis and Todd Potter. For The Riders... By The Riders!

In February 2007 I attended the Magic Show in Las Vegas, NV. and ran into Pro Rappers Young Buck, Young Dro, Battle Cat & Paul Wall and they weren't just ridin... as you can see... they were Pro Ridin.

In August of 2007, The Pro Riders were invited to the Magic Show in Las Vegas, NV., where we put on the Pro Riders Magic Showdown. Performing was BMX Pro Riders Jay Eggleston, Koji Kraft and Jimmy Walker, along with the Skateboard Vert  Protential Riders.

In 2007, I also put together a new album called "Part Of The Puzzle" and worked with producers like Dave Roen, Mike Dean, Crucial Beatz, P-Rod, MYG, Todd Brown, Kevin Gardner and Funkdaddy and had featured artists like Kokane on "Ridaz Gotta Ride" and MC Relapse and MR RE on a song called "Major League". Seattle's finest Young Livio got on a song called "Git It In" and my boy MYG in Portland PROduced and rapped on "It's My Party". All the way from Houston, TX. I had Bobby Morin and Billy Cook on a song called "Do It Like Me". Pro Rider Entertainment in the PROcess!

February 2007 was a sad month when we lost our Makin Us PROud Pro Rider Jeremy Lusk. He was an incredible person and rider who always let me know he was representing our cause. He is dearly missed and we will always Ride For The Cause! His web sight to support is the Lusk Legacy Foundation. Ride In Peace JL! Ridaz 4 Life!

In 2008 - 09 Pro Riders, Omar Hassan, Danny Mayer, Dave Duncan, Rune Glifberg, Chris Gentry, Anthony Furlong, Simon Tabron and Zack Warden with team manager Steve Mateus were at Bumbershoot Seattle, WA.

after Hurricane Katrina hit, Bun B was helping out the community and I heard him on the 97.9 The Box in Houston, TX., so loaded up my car with everything I didn't need and dropped it off to him. It's always good to give. Livin and Givin is what it's all about. PROtivation. Ride on Bun... Trill OG UGK 4 Life!

The photo above in the bottom from left to right is Pro Riders Chris Gentry, Rune Glifberg, Bucky Lasek & Dave Duncan. 2008 Rock Star Photo Shoot.

In 2008 I received a call from Zac Soto from the Source Magazine and they wanted to do an interview with me on sports and music. He wrote up a cool article called PRO Style:

Chris Gentry brings a Hip-Hop mentality to the skateboard world of riders.

Words by Zac Soto.

To say Chris Gentry is a hustler would be an understatement. His every word is geared toward building the brand of PRO- Pro Riders Organization- a union of skateboarders, BMX Riders and other rider athletes."One of our mottoes is, Players gotta play, ballers gotta ball and ridaz gotta ride". Gentry says.

A skater since 2001, Gentry founded PRO Riders in response to what he saw as a growing need for rider athletes to have more control over their sport as a business and a brand. " I just decided that enough is enough. We weren't getting what we deserved out of the sport. With Pro Riders, We're trying to be grown men and have our own merchandising and our own brand".

Hard work has paid off for Gentry, whose organization has become a force. "Now, we have over 120 riders, "says Gentry."Instead of individuals, we go as a unit, negotiating and bargaining".

Music plays a central role in Gentry's style: "When we ride, we need something to ride to, so music has a major influence on riders. Skating is the physical rhythem, and music is the audio rhythem. Gentry's passion for the merger of music and motion extends to his activities outside of skating. He records under his own Pro Rider Entertainment. His latest release , "Part Of The Puzzle", is available now.

Gentry sees no reason why Pro Riders can't just as easily segue into other lucrative partnerships. "We're trying to turn vitamins into Ridamins," says Gentry."That's the mentality. That's the difference when we ask, "You Pro Ridin, or you just ridin". "Ridaz Gotta Ride".

In 2010, Thrasher Magazine had the Etnies team Ryan Sheckler, Sean Malto, Jose Rojo, Willow, Mikey Taylor and the Etnies film crew fly into Houston, TX. for the  “King of the Road” tour, with cowboy hats on to record a song with me and my Producers at RCG.

Emerson Windy made the beat in CA. then I flew to Houston, TX. to record vocals at Rap A Lot Studios, thanks to J Prince, DJ Domo Raine & Emerson Windy with Reese Peese Production. The following year in 2001 RCG recorded another song for Thrasher Magazine's "Hall Of Meat".

In 2011 - 12 Skateboarding Vert Pro Rider Mike Crum hosted the Tribute to Jeff Phillips and the "Shut Up & Rumble" 2 years in a row at the Overground Skatepark in Dallas, TX. RCG also recorded a song and music video called "Shut Up & Rumble". We've had Pro Riders Lincoln Ueda, Jake Brown, Pierre Luc Gagnon, Christian Hosoi, Josh Stafford, Elliot Sloan, Craig Johnson, John Gibson and many other Legends.

 

 

 

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