by Cleo Coney Jr.
Billy, It’s an honor to be able to interview you for the readers of Coping Block Skateboarding Magazine! For the state of Florida, you have always been an icon, for the rest of the skateboarding community you have been like a ghost. Stories about your mind blowing skateboarding abilities, and your misfortunes have risen to the level of urban lore. It’s time for you to set the record straight; it’s time to let the world know all about William “Bogey” Beauregard and your powerful skateboarding history.
Let’s get this out of the way off the top, Christian Hosoi, Mark Rogowski, and you Billy Beauregard, were all incarcerated at some point. Why were you sent to prison, and what advice do you have for troubled teens and young adults now that you are a free man again?
I was incarcerated for drug and drug related charges. pretty much an out of control life style. Dealing and using that lead to hanging out with a lot of people who I shouldn’t of been with. To those who think that this is an easy life style think again. If you get caught its a real pain. If you get caught more than once the law will come down harder and harder each time. Best thing to do is to just skate your heart out and stay free, remember it’s the little things in life that make you content.
Billy, just how old were you when you began to skateboard and what was your first skateboard?
I was about eleven years old. I was in a boy’s home because I ran away from my biological parents. While I was there someone left me a cheap Makaha skateboard. I would skate in the driveway for hours just sliding and trying to do a three sixty, and stuff like that.
Billy, people know you are from Florida as a skateboarder, but where exactly in Florida did your skateboarding roots take hold?
I am from a small town south of Orlando Florida called Winter Haven.
Everybody had a crew of skateboarders at some point in time, who were the skaters in your crew?
Yes, I had many skate crews at many different times. They would always change as the industry progressed. Many quit and went on to do other things; some went to prison like me. But there are those that stuck around. Like Pat Splat, Steve Altop who is now deceased. R.I.P. Steve, and Chuck Hults. Plus there was a bunch from Lakeland Florida, who when we had to tear all our ramps down for one reason or another, they stepped up and started building ramps over there. Like Jason Connors, Mike Coyle, Jessie, Dave Headson, Brian Kenyon, Jason Gainous, Kent Richards, Kyle, Kent Ramsey. I could go on forever, I’d hate to leave someone out but I know I can’t keep writing them all down.
Now, did your crew street skate, or was there a skate park near where you lived?
We street skated for a while, but not in the way they do today. But as soon as we saw that you could ride ramps it was over for the street, other than to get to the ramps. We would skate ditches and anything else with a bank. But we fell in love with ramps or the likes.
Who was the first really good skater that you saw skate that inspired you?
Kelly Lynn blew me away when I first saw him skate at Kissimmee skate park. We had been skating there for about 6 months. He showed up one day and just ripped. I knew right then I had my work cut out for me. I didn’t stop until I could do everything I saw him do that day.
Was your family behind your skateboarding?
No, Dad wanted me to be a preacher. It made it really hard because he would never come and watch me skate, or go to parks or contests. So I would just hook up with the street people that where outcasts of society like myself. But really I wasn’t, but those who condemned me where. Just took a long time to recognize it for what it was. It was hard to fight your own family to do what you love.
When did you first ride vert, and did it come easy to you?
I believe it was about 1977, I think. No, I don’t think it came easy I would practice for hours at a time to master certain tricks. I think after you learn the basics and you get to a certain point in skating then everything else just originates from what you already know. So at that point things start to click and it gets easier to learn new tricks. But at first it was a real pain in the backside.
Now at some point you entered your first skate contest, where was that and how did you do?
Yes it was this cheesy city contest that the Winter Haven PTA or something put on. They had three different events, Down Hill, Slalom and Freestyle. I entered them all and only won the freestyle event. I was on the front page of the Winter Haven News Chief Newspaper.
How many hours per week would you say you spent skateboarding at that time in your life?
I would say about thirty, sometimes more because of holidays. I would mow lawns to get money to go to the skate parks on the weekends. I had to pay my way to everything that had to do with skateboards.
What sponsor would you say discovered you and your skate talents first? Plus, list all of your previous sponsors in order as you recall them.
I went to a contest at Kona Skate Park in Jacksonville Florida that Sundeck sponsored. There were a lot of big name companies and skaters from the west. After that weekend Powell and Variflex stepped to me about a sponsorship. I went with Variflex because they made complete boards and would get me to contests. Sponsors were Variflex, Schmitt Stix. Independent Trucks, Thunder Trucks, SIO shorts, Vision Street Wear, and Vans. I think that’s it.
Billy, your list of tricks that you are remembered for has always been staggering! When skaters talk about you there are many that are frequently mentioned, like your over contorted Andrechts, your air to fakies, your table top backside ollies, your stalled, contorted, and gnarly inverts to fakie, and your bio backside airs! Did you have a favorite trick, or combination of tricks that you liked at that time in your skateboarding career?
My favorite trick was always the one I was working on to add to my bag of tricks. When I would master that one I would move to another one. But I did have sequential tricks I liked to do. Like backside air to backside air to fakie to three sixty air, or invert into invert to fakie to elgarial.
When did you make the decision to turn PRO?
I went to a contest at Del Mar Skate Ranch. I think it was part of the Rusty Harris Pro/Am series. I skated against the best of the best and did fairly well. So Variflex offered me a PRO model. That meant no more mowing lawns; at least that’s what I was thinking.
Thrasher Magazine once featured an article on a Del Mar Contest in which they said, “you ripped your way to third place on your first visit to the park.” What do you remember about Del Mar Skate Ranch, and that contest?
Yah, same contest I was talking about. That pool was kinky as hell and every wall is totally different. I was used to half pipes that where pretty much the same. So I had a hard time with the pool, but I fought through practice sessions. Even Tony Hawks father said something to the effect of “this guy is no threat, he is so inconsistent”. But I snapped in the contest and even blew my own mind. I was like, “did I just do that?” After the contest Tony’s father stepped and said, “I sure was wrong about you”. He shook my hand and that made me feel real good that someone of his stature would have any interest in me.
The last time I saw you Billy was at an event in Ohio years ago! I believe it was at the end of the eighties at a Bill Danford skate contest. How often did you travel to contests?
For a while there it was like every month I would not only go to contests, but we would do road trips around the United States promoting our products.
Let’s get into your signature model deck graphics a bit. There was an Alligator, and Bogey, and what else?
Yes, the “Bogey Board” was the first with a Humphrey Bogart graphic. I liked that dude. I thought he was the shit. I used to wear a hat like his and everything. “Ya weirdo” that’s what kids would say. But he always got the fine babe. That board didn’t sell too good it was pretty plain. All my board graphics where done by an illegal alien. I had no idea back then. I wish I knew what I know now. So we changed it to the Swamp Gator which was an idea based on my home state, always rains ground soaked. I always was amazed with Gators, such a happy looking beast. That was it for PRO models. I also skated for Schmitt but didn’t stay long enough to get a model.
The Saint Petersburg skate crew would watch your truck hangers wobble back and forth on your backside Ollies, as they floated over-head. How hard was it for you to ride Variflex Trucks?
Everyone made a big deal about it but they didn’t bother me. You just had to use the right bushing combination.
Who built your home ramp and what were the dimensions?
Pat splat was our carpenter in Winter Haven, but there was about three or four of us that would all pitch in. But the Ramps in Lakeland where built by them, I think we helped with a few. Ramps where always changing in our area. Sometimes we would just find some woods that looked good and set up a ramp. You would skate for a while and one day you would come to skate and it would be burnt to the ground or there’d be a note left on it to move it.
While you were away, what about skateboarding did you miss the most?
Everything! It sucked. I would get the Thrasher Mag and just reminisce about old times. Then I would go play Volley Ball and try to take someone’s head off to get out some aggression.
Elaborate will you, on your artwork and what you’d like to do with your artistic abilities.
My artwork is very broad. I have my own style, I call it beaug-art, which is a collage graffiti style that is just madness. I also do portraits in pencil and chalk, realism, still life’s, and cartoons. I'll send you one of Grave Digger. I was going to send it to Thrasher but I have not received any of the artwork back that I have sent them over the years. Maybe we can work something out and I can do a cartoon every month. Hint.
Are you selling any graphic illustrations?
I would love to. I probably will never sell any of it that I did in prison, but I will do work for anyone that would like something done. What I do is, we come up with an idea, or several and we play with them on paper and come up with the final composition. Then I bring it to life. So feel free to email me at http://email@example.com. But we will have to do it through the mail. Because I don’t have a computer. Not unless someone has an old computer, I can do some work for you and you can pay me with a computer.
Billy, are you back on a skateboard?
Yes, but not in the way that I would like to be. Circumstances will not allow it yet due to no job. No license and no car. I NEED A JOB, and it is not easy with out a license or a car.
Will we see you in a skateboarding Masters event in the near future?
That would be awesome but without the above it is going to be hard to achieve that status I'm not getting any younger. I'm a “Barney” remember.
What skaters from the past are you eager to session with?
Of coarse the Lakeland crew, Pat Splat and anyone who would like to have a good time and have fun.
Where are you living these days?
Campbellsport WI better known as BFE.
Why up north?
Had no other options, “I'M COMPLETELY BROKE BUT THE CLOTHES ON MY BACK”.
Any chance you’d head back to Florida?
If the opportunity to be financially set, to do the things I need to do yes.
Billy, I have had the pleasure of skating with you in the past and I want to tell you personally how good it is to know you are a free man! Any last words, thanks, shout outs, or words of wisdom for our readers?
First of all, I would like to thank you for your help and interest. Thanks to all the Lakeland crew for their moral support. Thanks Dad for pawning me off on someone else so you didn’t have to deal with it as usual. Thanks to Paul Schmitt, Chuck Hults and 780 killer Skate Pads for your support with skate gear.