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Recapping 5 Months on The Road With Spo, The Captain of the Stokemobile

The Stokemobile took in the sights at Killington.

It's been a little while since we last checked in on the  TGR Stokemobile, and in the time since we've taken our traveling party mobile from music festivals to film premieres to World Cup races.

But in order to really get to know the Stokemobile, it's important to get to know the man captaining it: Scott Esposito, or "The Spo" as we like to call him around here.

One part Captain Jack and one part rolling salesman, "The Spo" has been around TGR since the very beginning and has cultivated a backstory that would make "The Most Interesting Man in the World" blush. We got him on the phone to talk about the Stokemobile's origins, its craziest moments on tour and his life with TGR.

TGR: So how did you first get involved with TGR?

Spo: Well, so I grew up with the Jones brothers, I’ve been with them since the very beginning. [TGR Co-Founder Steve Jones] and I met this guy Charlie Brooks, and he brought us out to Jackson Hole Wyoming for the first time back in 1987 or 1988 and we loved it.

So, shortly after that Steve and I both left Hartwick College and moved to Montana to attend the University of Montana and lived in this sick house called the Fat Boy. It was a wild time as I'm sure you can imagine. [TGR Co-Founder Todd Jones] moved west not far behind us and soon they started filming everything they could out in the backcountry. That's when TGR was just starting up and I kinda went another direction: I moved to Tortola.

A younger Spo in the Caribbean sporting one hell of a haircut.

Yeah I had a family opportunity to run a marina in the British Virgin Islands in Tortola so I jumped at it. I spent 14 years there just being a sailor and a surfer.

Me and Todd and Steve and [Jeremy Jones] all kind of touched on surfing growing up, but we were still kinda figuring it out so when I came to Tortola the TGR family would come down to stay for a couple weeks or a month at a time and we'd just surf like crazy.

Wild times in the BVI?
Oh yeah. It was funny, one time I threw a party at the marina and hired security to make sure people didn't just drift in. Before the event I lined up all the security members and said "If you see anyone dodgy let me know."

30 minutes into the party one of the security members came up and said, "I think we have a problem" and points over to Todd looking super out of place in a Hawaiian shirt. I had to laugh and he was my friend.

Tortola was definitely a party–I was chatting with Kelly Slater at the world premiere of our surf film Proximity, and reminded him how we had met in Tortola previously, at Rob Machado's sister's wedding. Kelly just starts laughing and says "that must've been a hell of a party–I've never been to Tortola, and I'm pretty sure Rob doesn't have a sister." 

A Dead Head through and through.

So how did the idea for the Stokemobile come about?

After a while I moved back to New York to be near family and that was when we started about how we could enhance TGR's presence back east. I had been going around skiing and people kept asking us, "Why isn't TGR up here? We'd love to see more of you guys in the Northeast."

Well, Todd came into the equation and we decided to build this rig to get out to go back to the old school days. We said we wanted to get back to our Grateful Dead roots and get out on the road. We always would see these road warriors at the Dead shows and be like, "Man, I don't even know what that guy's about but it looks like fun."

We partnered up with Outside TV to collectively create, distribute and showcase TGR and Outside TV content and promote both brands at these events. We then brought in BLDG Active and our friend Dr. Andrew Stewart–who became a supporting partner in the project as the official  "TGR Team Doctor"–and took our show on the road. As luck would have it, our first stop was a Grateful Dead show.

It's been a while since we last heard from the Stokemobile, what's it been like over the past few months?
It's been wild, we've been all over and back. In Long Beach, New York we were at a skate contest during New York Surf Week that was rad. We actually got to watch Will Skudin hand over a check to the kid who won the contest right in front of the Stokemobile.

At the East Coast Nationals surf event in Virginia we got to watch Monster set up a huge motocross jump and watched these guys sending massive backflips off it. We got to check out Snoop Dogg at LouFest in St. Louis which was every bit as crazy as it sounds. Another cool moment was during the Levitate Music Festival–we met Stick Figure and found out they were TGR fans, so they came down to hang out for a bit on the Stokemobile.

Scott Woodruff from Stick Figure signed some merch for fans.

I mean, even just a couple weeks ago at the World Cup event in Killington, Vermont, we set up an exterior Outside TV/TGR media lounge screening some of the shows we work with them on like "A Life in Proximity," and we had tons of little kids stop by and just get psyched on what they were seeing. Micah Black was out with us on it, and John Egan came by, and it was awesome seeing the kids react to meeting some of the legends of the sport. It's been cool to see that, how much fun everyone is having. We've had hundreds of people come by at each event and sign up to follow us on social media or through email. It's been all love everywhere we go.

What's the craziest thing that's happened so far on tour?

Oh boy, there are some things that can't be said (laughs).

I would say, the Proximity premiere at The Beachcomber was pretty special. Getting to surf together with the Jones Brothers and our families where we all grew up and learned to surf and then hanging at the Stokemobile before the show was an amazing moment.

Then, the next morning after the premiere, waking up and just seeing people hanging out of cars, sleeping in the parking lot, sleeping on the steps of the Stokemobile. That was the official kick-off event (we aren't counting the Dead show as that was more of a personal launch for us) and it really was nuts, but I guess that's pretty typical Beachcomber. 

Having Steve, Todd and Jeremy all helping launch the Stokemobile was just epic. 

The scene at Hunter Mountain in New York last weekend.

Are you able to hit the slopes when on the road?

I try to as much as possible, which is actually something we thought about when considering partners. There's a reason we have a doctor and BLDG Active skin repair as a partner: You're inherently going to get banged up in these sports, and I've taken a couple spills on so far on tour. 

BLDG Active was a hot commodity after some biking carnage.

So where are you off to next?

We're always on the lookout for the next best spot.

We just took it to Hunter Mountain in New York which was great; we were right at base of the mountain, we had the sound system cranking throughout the day, and people were taking breaks from their skiing to check it out, try out the VR headsets and just talk TGR. 

So after Hunter, we started looking around at other spots in the Northeast that would be great for us and found out that Holiday Valley, out by Buffalo actually gets the second most skier visits of any Northeastern resort, so we'll have to go there.

Beyond that, you can catch us January 27th at Wildcat, February 24th at Magic Mountain, March 24th at Sugarbush and March 31st at Attitash. We'll be adding more stops as well so be sure to keep up with us on social media.

About The Author

stash member Teton Gravity Research

It all began with a dream and a little cash scraped together from fishing in Alaska... Since 1995, we've been an action sports media company committed to fueling progression through our ground-breaking films (37 and counting) and online content.

Scott is the man! I got to chill with him and my buddy Mike Steeves at Levitate music fest, Windham Mt bike Park and recently at Killingtons world cup. Everytime I see the stokesmobile I’m hyped to bring my friends over and show them what TGR is about in person. Creating the stokesmobile out east was an amazing idea! New Englanders are all too sheltered, the marketing is everything TGR needs to build east coast followers. Send it!

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