Who would’ve guessed that one of the most creative riders in BMX has been working in a grocery store since he was 16. But honestly, when it comes to Tate Roskelley, nothing should come as a surprise—if anything, you should only expect the unexpected. Seeing as how conceptual Tate’s riding is, filming a video in a supermarket is right up his aisle. We caught up with him to discuss his latest video for GT, Shelf Space…
One of my favorite things about Shelf Space is that you actually work in a grocery store. You’ve probably done every role there by now… How long have you worked there and what is your current job?
Yup! Been working at a grocery store since I was 16 years old. I’ve had over 15 years in the business and moved around to a lot of different stores. I’ve mainly worked in produce, but within the last few months I got a big promotion and I’m now the Assistant Store director, it’s been crazy adjusting to a lot more responsibility, but I’ve always been a firm believer if you don’t waste time you can always get a session in when ya need.
Wasn’t a grocery store video something you’ve wanted to do for a while?
Oh yeah, always thought about how cool it would be to film in a store, sometimes the daydreams helped me get through busy days.
What’s the back story on how this all unfolded? It was pretty sudden with a small window to pull it off, right?
Yes, big thanks to Paul Oblock for making it happen. We had discussed the idea on more than one occasion, but things always seemed to fall through before we could start filming. A few years later Paul hit me up that we had a potential spot, I didn’t get my hopes up too high at first, but it all worked out and we finally had the chance to make it happen. A local grocer chain called Ridleys had a store they were shutting down. When a grocery store closes a lot of the coolers, fixtures, shelves etc. get moved around to other stores. Lucky for us we had just enough hardware left and we’re able to make it happen, we only had about three full days of shooting and had to do our best to stock the shelves with whatever we could find. Somehow, we managed to make it work.
Where some of the things you did ideas you thought of previously to this project or did everything come to mind once the opportunity was there?
I had to adjust the process because we didn’t have much time and we were asked to do our best at not damaging the equipment. I would have preferred to have a little more time brainstorming, but we really had to shoot on the fly. I would say I used a lot of previous ideas I’ve used and adapted them to the settings.
Other than time constraints, what where some hurdles you encountered?
Another hurdle worth mentioning was the fact that grocery store floors are very very slick, especially with a thin layer of dust that no matter how much you swept seemed to stick around.
What was the hardest thing to pull off?
The clip that took the longest was definitely the spinning six-wheelers I hopped through. It was super hard to get the timing just right—not to mention the fact I had to have my brother, Derrick, and his girlfriend, Jess, spin them each time. We shot it straight down an aisle so there wasn’t much room on either side to swerve if the cart wasn’t lining up just right to hop through and it goes without saying I ate it a few times. In the end we got it done. Big thanks to those guys for putting in all the work!
I noticed a GT logo made from red boxes behind the manual across the cans clip. Are there any other hidden, buried, or blended into the background things like that?
Definitely snuck a GT logo in for good measure, you’ll have to watch again to see if there’s anything else hidden about…
Speaking about GT, the cans with logo wrap was a nice touch. Tell us more about that…
The can logo was probably one of my favorite things about the project. Ben Ward offered to help us out with that. They employed one of their favorite artists, Matt Zuppani, who has done work with GT before. And the end result came out freaking awesome. I’ve got one on my desk right now and was able to give them to all the people that helped out in the project as a small token of appreciation.
Do you feel like if you had access to a super market as opposed to a grocery store you would’ve been able to do even more?
As stated we only had a few days to shoot. Luckily we shot in the town I grew up in, Ogden, which is about 45 minutes north of Salt Lake. I was able to convince some family members and friends to come help, Paul rounded up of few of his friends and family as well. It ended up being a blast working with everyone and they were all happy to help. And best of all… Now my mom realizes why it takes me so long to finish video projects [laughs]. Huge thanks to Judy Roskelley, Derrick Roskelley, Jessie Ruby, Mike Mastroni, John Tinsley.
The filmer and editor, Paul Oblock, did a great job. What’s his background and how do you guys know each other?
Yeah, Paul’s the man. I originally met Paul through shooting a bowling ball commercial a few years back. The premise of that one was me riding a BMX bike around the bowling ball factory (Daredevil Roto Grip—check it out!) I enjoyed working with him and it was then we joked about filming in a grocery store. Fast forward a few years and here we are. Without a doubt Paul did all the legwork to make this happen and never gave up on the idea. We’re both busy with “real jobs” so we don’t get to do as much as I would’ve liked, but I’ll say it probably won’t be our last project together. It was great working on a project with someone that put just as much effort in as I did—and in ways a whole lot more, like staying later to clean up and reset aisles for the next day shoot. Big thanks my dude!
Do you think there’s room to expand upon Shelf Space in the future or do something in a similar vein?
Fingers crossed! I guess the Ridleys (store chain owners) have now seen the video and we’re more than pleased. There is some talk about giving us another store and with a little more time and planning I’d really like to expand on the ideas. If it ends up that we can make Shelf Space II it’s going to be even better!
Let’s talk more about GT, you’ve been on the team for a few years now. What are your thoughts on the all recent team additions—the squad has really grown!
Without a doubt! We still have the OG’s, but to see guys like DeMarcus, Julian, and some of the lady shredders like Duda Penso, it’s safe to say the team is stacked. My only complaint is we haven’t been able to do a team trip together yet [laughs].
It’s pretty cool to see how GT casts a wide net in terms of the style of riders on their team. It seems like they embrace what you’re about and let you do your own thing…
That’s been the thing that’s most important to me. I’ve been coloring outside the lines for a while now and the fact that GT has my back really motivates me to keep at it. It might be like herding cats trying to keep the eclectic bunch of us on the same page, but GT is doing something right. Big thanks for that!
Now that winter has settled in, what do you see on the horizon for you riding wise? A snow edit, perhaps?
Big things on the horizon actually, I’m about to drop one of my most creative sections I’ve ever filmed. Be on the lookout real soon!
Whether you’ve watched it already or not, here’s Shelf Space…