Category Archives: News and Notes

X Games Ventura 2024: A Fusion of Sports, Music, and Culture

Image by @jseemayerphoto

by Joe Seemeyer

X Games, the leading action sports competition and lifestyle brand, returned to the beaches of Ventura from Thursday, June 28, through Sunday, June 30. The festival featured three days of non-stop action sports and music.

In addition to watching some of the world’s best action sports athletes, X Games Ventura showcased musical guest performances, art installations, cultural activations, brand experiences, and a variety of California’s favorite food trucks. The music lineup included:

  • Friday, June 28: Wiz Khalifa, AG Club, and Oxymorrons.
  • Saturday, June 29: Kaskade, Devault, Mija, and Emo Nite with a special guest appearance by Machine Gun Kelly.
  • Sunday, June 30: Fever 333, Blame My Youth, and Metalachi.
Image by Mark Brown

From world-class competitions to lifestyle and culture, X Games has been at the forefront of action sports for 30 years. X Games debuted in June 1995 in Rhode Island. Known that first year as the Extreme Games, the event was devised, owned, and operated by ESPN. The name was changed to X Games for the 1996 summer games.

The X Games are an international sporting competition featuring sports like skateboarding, snowboarding, BMX, and freestyle motocross. Competitors compete for bronze, silver, and gold medals. X Games California 2023 returned to Southern California after a 10-year absence from the region.

Jim White, a member of the Board of Directors for the Ventura Visitors and Convention Bureau, said, “X Games participants were outstanding! There was so much talent and dedication from everyone who competed. There were a lot of positive reactions from attendees, and it seemed even better overall than last year with the expanded space.”

Marlyss Auster, President & CEO of Visit Ventura, added, “Visit Ventura was thrilled to coordinate with X Games to donate tickets to our local nonprofit organizations, giving hundreds of children who wouldn’t have had the means to see a world-class event the opportunity to see X Games Ventura right here in their own hometown. You never know — maybe seeing athletes at the X Games inspired one of our local skateboarders or riders to become the next X Games gold medalist!”

As someone who attended his first X Games almost 20 years ago, I can say X Games Ventura was one of the best I have seen. The X Games are the “Olympics” of action sports, according to several of the families and athletes I spoke with. Each day, fans watched the world’s best action sports athletes competing for gold.

Image by @jseemayerphoto

Here are some highlights from X Games Ventura:

Pacifico Men’s Skateboard Vert Final In a thrilling Skateboard Vert final on Friday, June 28, longtime X Games competitor Tom Schaar earned his first gold medal in Vert at the age of 24. With seven-time Vert gold medalist Jimmy Wilkins sitting in first place in the fourth and final runs, Schaar executed a flawless run in the last 10 seconds of the competition. Moto Shibata, who was just off the podium heading into his fourth run, landed a nearly perfect run to knock Wilkins into bronze.

Moto X Best Whip Final In the final competition of the day on Friday, June 28, American Patrick Evans earned gold in just his second X Games appearance, surpassing 2022 gold medalist Julien Vanstippen. Riding an electric Stark Future bike, Evans defied gravity with his corked-out whip.

Image by @jseemayerphoto

Skateboard Park on the SONIC Park Course On Sunday, June 30, the world’s biggest stage featured a field of eight finalists, all under 18 years old. Among them was defending champion, 14-year-old Arisa Trew, aiming to uphold her title after a perfect rookie year where she clinched two gold medals in park and vert disciplines. Trew impressed from the start, unleashing a series of intricate combos, including a backside air on the extension, McTwist, and backside Smith, nosegrind to fakie. After a dominant first run, Trew outperformed the rest of the field with an 11-point lead and maintained her edge throughout, displaying a relentless drive to push the progression of what was possible. Even in her victory lap, she continued to challenge herself, highlighting her commitment to progression in her sport.

Monster Energy Men’s Skateboard Street Final In his 24th X Games appearance on Sunday, June 30, Nyjah Huston again reigned supreme in skateboard street, winning his second gold this weekend, his 23rd overall X Games medal, and his 15th gold medal, tying Shaun White in the Skateboard Street Final. With his win in Saturday’s Street Best Trick event, Huston earned his first on-site gold medal since X Games Minneapolis 2019 and surpassed Bob Burnquist’s record for the most skateboard golds at X Games.

Image by @jseemayerphoto

Samsung Galaxy Moto X QuarterPipe High Air It was a showdown between the two favorites for this event on Sunday, June 30: Australian competitor Corey Creed and USA’s four-time X Games gold medalist Colby Raha. Raha, who won last year with a 56’3” jump and is a four-time MTX QuarterPipe High Air champ, was edged out by Creed by two feet at 53 feet and seven inches. Now, both rivals own four X Games gold medals apiece.

Monster Energy Men’s Skateboard Street Best Trick On Saturday, June 29, 22-time X Games champion and favorite Nyjah Huston matched legend Bob Burnquist’s record for the most skateboard gold medals of all time. Huston is the most decorated skateboard street medalist of all time and just one gold behind Shaun White and Garrett Reynolds for the most overall gold in history.

Image by @jseemayerphoto

Pacifico Women’s & Men’s Skateboard Vert Best Trick In the debut of Pacifico Women’s Skateboard Vert Best Trick on Saturday, June 29, nine-year-old Mia Kretzer earned her first X Games gold. In a field where the oldest competitor was just 20 years old, Kretzer became the youngest athlete and medalist in X Games history, beating out Ema Kawakami, who held the record for one day. Kretzer landed a cab 720 on her second try.

In the men’s competition, Gui Khury added his ninth overall gold medal and third Vert Best Trick gold medal with a body varial 900 on his first try. On the 25th anniversary of Tony Hawk’s 900, both Khury and newcomer Kawakai landed 900s.

Highlight information provided by X Games.

Ventura Fentanyl Trafficker Receives 15-Year Federal Prison Sentence

Stephen Gregory Reid, 61, known as “Racer,” from Ventura, California, has been sentenced to 188 months in federal prison for his role as a prolific fentanyl distributor, announced the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Los Angeles Field Division last week.

The sentencing marks the culmination of a multi-agency investigation that began in fall 2022 and concluded in August 2023 with a search warrant executed at Reid’s Ventura residence. Law enforcement seized over one pound of fentanyl powder, nearly one pound of crystal methamphetamine, and a small quantity of M-30 fentanyl pills. Reid’s residence is located just one block north of an elementary school.

The investigation, led by the DEA Ventura Resident Office in collaboration with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Ventura and the Ventura Police Department (VPD), identified Reid as one of Ventura’s primary fentanyl traffickers. Reid, with a history of prior convictions for state drug offenses and lengthy prison terms, was a significant distributor of the dangerous drug within the community.

DEA Ventura Resident Agent in Charge Ryan Olson praised the joint efforts of all involved agencies, emphasizing their commitment to eliminating fentanyl distribution in Ventura. “This investigation underscores our relentless pursuit to rid our streets of lethal drugs like fentanyl and hold offenders accountable,” Olson stated.

Ventura Police Chief Darin Schindler echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the collaborative efforts that led to Reid’s sentencing. “Reid played a major role in the spread of fentanyl in our community. This sentencing underscores our commitment to safeguarding Ventura from the devastating impact of this deadly drug,” Chief Schindler affirmed.

John Pasciucco, Deputy Special Agent in Charge of HSI Los Angeles, highlighted the critical partnerships essential to combating the nationwide fentanyl crisis. “Collaboration among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies is vital to ensuring the safety of southern California residents,” Pasciucco remarked.

Fentanyl, known for its potency and lethal potential, has become a leading cause of death among young Americans. With its high potency compared to morphine and heroin, even minuscule amounts pose significant public health risks. In 2023 alone, DEA seized over 80 million fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills and nearly 12,000 pounds of fentanyl powder, equivalent to more than 381 million lethal doses.

Assistant United States Attorney Suria Bahadue of the General Crimes section is prosecuting Reid’s case.

Ventura Pier: A Beacon of Coastal Charm and Community Bond

Mayor Joe Schroeder hailed the pier’s return as a “remarkable comeback.” Photo by Patricia-Schallert and Yana Khynod

by Patricia Schallert

Residents were excited to have the pier open again. Photo by Patricia-Schallert and Yana Khynod

Nestled along Ventura’s picturesque coastline in California, Ventura Pier holds a cherished place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike. Beyond its role as a scenic landmark, this historic pier has witnessed countless milestones—first kisses, engagements, and anniversaries—making it a timeless backdrop for cherished memories.

In 2023, Ventura Pier faced a formidable challenge when a powerful storm swept through, causing significant structural damage and necessitating its closure for essential renovations. The safety of visitors was paramount, prompting a united effort within the community to support the pier’s restoration. Recognizing the pier’s profound cultural and historical value, Ventura rallied together to ensure its preservation for future generations.

Ronda Holden President of Pier Into the Future welcomes residents. Photo by Patricia-Schallert and Yana Khynod

Leading the charge in the pier’s reconstruction was Jilk Heavy Construction Inc., renowned for their impeccable safety record and expertise in coastal infrastructure. Under the stewardship of Barbara McCormick, Fleet and Facilities Manager, alongside Joe and Jim Jilk, the company spearheaded meticulous repairs and upgrades.

The culmination of these efforts came to fruition on June 29th, 2024, as Ventura Pier proudly reopened its gates to the public. The grand reopening was a testament to resilience and community spirit, drawing enthusiastic crowds eager to once again savor its panoramic ocean views, fishing opportunities, and leisurely strolls along its storied planks.

Mayor Joe Schroeder hailed the pier’s return as a “remarkable comeback,” embodying the enduring spirit and unity of Ventura’s coastal community. Ronda Holden, President of Pier Into the Future, emphasized that Ventura Pier transcends its physical structure—it symbolizes the very essence of coastal California living.

A group effort: The City Council, Jilk Heavy Construction  Inc. and others were excited about the Pier’s reopening. Photo by Patricia-Schallert and Yana Khynod

On June 25th, Mayor Schroeder expressed gratitude to the collaborative efforts of community partners, including Barbara McCormick, Josh Jilk, Jim Jilk, Tio Larios, Ronda Holden, and Bill Ayub. Their dedication, alongside the city council and numerous individuals, ensured that Ventura’s heritage remains safeguarded for generations to come.

As Ventura welcomes back its beloved pier, Mayor Schroeder eagerly anticipates the community’s return to create new memories under the sun that rises and sets upon this beloved coastal landmark.

Urgent Call for Dog and Cat Foster Parents

Image by Freepik

Ventura County Animal Services (VCAS) Shelter Beyond Capacity

Our local VCAS shelter is full and in desperate need of animal lovers willing to take a shelter animal into their home. Foster Parents in the VCAS Foster Care Program provide an essential role as a temporary home for shelter pets while they await adoption. Animals that make good foster care candidates may be experiencing anxiety, are shy, healing from medical problems, are pregnant, injured, older, terminally ill, or simply need a quiet place to rest and rejuvenate.

Foster Parent Requirements

  • Provide a safe, clean, and caring environment
  • Provide food, water, toys/enrichment, and shelter
  • Provide exercise and socialization if appropriate
  • Monitor their physical and mental wellbeing
  • Able to transport for vet appointments, adoption events, or evacuating them in case of an emergency
  • Actively marketing your foster dog for adoption – make regular AdoptMeApp diary entries.
  • Screen and meet with potential adopters; be responsive and courteous towards potential adopters; follow VCAS adoption protocols

Fostering is Flexible

The length of time you foster an animal is up to you. If you are having difficulty finding an adopter, you can reach out to VCAS, who will help you market them. You can also send photos or videos for VCAS to post on social media along with the best way you wish people to contact you. Timelines might differ depending on the type of animal you are fostering and their needs:

Adult dogs: From one day to several months. Foster parents can take dogs for day trips or weekend sleepovers. These experiences can be very beneficial for long term or stressed dogs. Fosters can also choose to foster dogs longer term; from a couple of weeks to even months. Some foster parents choose to foster dogs until they get adopted.

Adult cats: From one week to several months. Some cats are frightened or sick and may just need a week or two in a foster home to heal and feel safe. Other cats who have a very hard time living in a kennel, may need a foster parent who can keep them until they find an adoptive family.

Kittens: From one – eight weeks. Kittens only need to stay in foster homes until they are 1.5 pounds and/or eight weeks old. These are the two important requirements for spay or neuter surgery. Another requirement is health. Cats who appear sick cannot be placed under anesthesia for spay or neuter surgery.

How to Become a Foster Parent
Go to www.vcas.us/foster and fill out/submit an online application. If you have difficulty with the form or have questions, email [email protected]. Next, check your email for a link to the foster and volunteer orientation videos. If you don’t receive an email, be sure to check your spam folder. All prospective foster parents are required to watch all foster and volunteer orientation videos. These videos will cover the goals and policies of VCAS, as well as explain foster and volunteer opportunities. Please note: You do not have to become an on-site shelter volunteer to become a foster parent.

After watching the Adult Dog or Adult Cat videos, you will sign-up for a ‘Matchmaking Appointment’ with the Foster Care Coordinator to select your first foster animal! Those interested in fostering kittens must sign-up to attend the Underaged Kitten Training session with the Foster Care Coordinator. These appointments can be made through links you will have received in your welcome email. All VCAS Foster Families are required to follow all guidelines for animal handling set forth in the Foster Orientation Training and Volunteer Training materials.

If you also wish to become an on-site volunteer, please go to www.vcas.us/volunteer to access the VCAS Volunteer page.

Selecting Animals to Foster
The good news is, most shelter animals are excellent candidates for foster! The only caveat is that foster candidates are only animals who need foster care. VCAS doesn’t need foster parents for little fluffy animals who will likely get adopted quickly! The Foster Care Coordinator will assist you in selecting shelter animals who need placement.

Remember – “Goodbye” is the goal!
Fostering is a temporary situation and letting go of one foster animal means you’ll be able to help another. But it can still be hard to say goodbye. Thankfully, the VCAS foster team will be there to help you through it. Every adoption saves one life, but a dedicated foster parent can save lots of lives by caring for many animals who need extra help to find their own new homes. Goodbyes are tough, but oh-so-rewarding too!

For more information, visit www.vcas.us/foster, email [email protected] or call 805.388.4341.

Ventura College Mural Project

$3000 PRIZE! Ventura College will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2025. The Ventura College Art Department is excited to announce a call for artists to design the painting of a mural for the campus. The mural will be painted by students and Muralism.org with supervisory assistance from the artist whose design is selected

Submissions must be emailed to: [email protected]. Include your full name and cell phone number for contact.

Submission Details

  • File size must be no larger than 20mb
  • Format must be either a JPEG or PDF
  • Include short description of the work presented and how it meets the Mural Details section
  • Eligibility: Artists residing in Ventura County

Mural Details

Mural must include elements celebrating:

  • Ventura College and its history
  • Ventura College’s 100th anniversary
  • Diversity and inclusivity of our students

Project Specs

  • Location: VC New Media Gallery exterior wall
  • Mural size: 16′ high x 20′ wide

Due Dates

  • Submission Deadline: Friday, August 2nd by 5:00pm
  • Date of Mural Completion: October 2024

For any questions about the project, contact: Sharla Fell at [email protected] or 805-289-6265

X Games and Visit Ventura Partner with Food Share of Ventura County to “X Out Hunger”

In an inspiring display of community collaboration, X Games and Visit Ventura have partnered with Food Share of Ventura County to donate 11,000 lbs of unused, nutritious food and fresh produce from the recent X Games Ventura Presented by SONIC. This generous donation is equivalent to providing over 9,000 meals to local residents in need.

“This partnership came about just a few weeks before the event — I am thrilled that we were able to rally together to make this happen! Not only did X Games Ventura showcase the beauty of our beach town to a national audience, but we also had the privilege of giving back to our local neighbors,” said Visit Ventura’s President & CEO Marlyss Auster.

Jennifer Caldwell, Chief Development Officer of Food Share, shared her gratitude stating, “We are incredibly appreciative to Marlyss Auster and Visit Ventura for making the connection with X Games. This donation will provide nutritious food to our local community, helping to ensure Ventura remains a vibrant place to live and work. Nearly 17% of Ventura’s population sought food assistance from Food Share last year, and this contribution comes at a crucial time.”

The nationally televised X Games Ventura not only highlighted the beautiful beach coastline and vibrant culture of Ventura but also brought attention to the pressing issue of food insecurity in the area. The 11,000 lbs of donated food will significantly aid Food Share’s mission to combat hunger and support the well-being of Ventura County residents. This partnership exemplifies the power of community and the positive impact that can be achieved when organizations come together for a common cause.

X Games also partnered with Ventura Land Trust and the Ventura Chapter of Surfrider Foundation to host two community clean ups at Willoughby Preserve and C-Street, where 81 pounds of trash was collected between C-Street and the Ventura Pier.

“X Games Sustainability has always prioritized the phrase ‘leave it better than we found it’,” said Jeremy Frees, sustainability consultant to X Games. “This year we had a unique opportunity to do just that: leave a positive, lasting impact on our host community and the surrounding environment by partnering with Visit Ventura, the City of Ventura, Ventura Land Trust, the Ventura Chapter of Surfrider Foundation, and Food Share Ventura County.”

Ventura River Parkway Trail Improvements Project 

The $5 million grant-funded Ventura River Parkway Trail improvement project is currently underway. Paving from Fix/Dubbers to Stanley has been completed, with paving from Stanley to the city limits commencing on July 2.

Visitors will benefit from upgraded wayfinding signs directing them along the trail, complemented by new signage along the city section. Efforts are underway to extend this signage to sections outside city limits not covered by the grant. Trail upgrades from the estuary to Main Street are pending levee recertification.

Friends of The River collaborated with Pacific Coast Land Design (PCLD) to design and advocate for improved, consistent signage. PCLD has engaged the county to gauge interest in extending the new signage along the entire trail.

For more information about the Ventura River Trail Project, visit: To learn more about the Ventura River Trail Project, visit: https://www.cityofventura.ca.gov/2360/Ventura-River-Trail-Improvements.

In addition to trail repaving and new signage, the project includes installation of over 11,000 linear feet of architectural fencing and 79 solar-powered lights. It also encompasses storm water improvements, trail amenities, and upgraded connections.

Friends of the Ventura River is a coalition of community groups and individuals who recognize the need for the protection and enhancement of the Ventura River watershed to improve our quality of life and ensure our future sustainability. Visit friendsofventurariver.org to learn more.

Surfers’ Point Phase II

The next stage of the managed retreat project is set to commence construction after Labor Day 2024, staying on schedule.

The California Coastal Conservancy board allocated $16.2 million on June 1, 2023, toward Phase 2 of the Managed Retreat project at Surfers’ Point. This initiative addresses sea level rise by relocating existing infrastructure inland and enhancing beach dune habitat.

Phase 1, operational for over a decade, has proven effective in safeguarding our coastline and infrastructure. Phase II will align the bike path with newer sections farther from the ocean, enhancing protective dunes. Parking will be realigned accordingly.

Since 1991, the Ventura County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation has championed this project as a solution to coastal erosion. It has become a national model for managed coastal retreat, showcasing Ventura’s success.

Detailed plans for Phase II, available on the city’s website, include the removal of damaged coastal structures, replacement with dunes and native plants, and the installation of a buried cobble berm to protect City and Fairgrounds infrastructure. The project will feature a new multi-use path, parking lot with attendant station, public art installations, new lighting, drainage improvements, landscaping, and electric vehicle charging stations.

For more information, visit: https://www.venturariver.org/2023/06/surfers-point-funding-okd.html

X Games Ventura Brings Opportunities for Local Businesses 

Photo by Michael Gordon

Summer Event Spurs Community Involvement and Economic Growth

Visit Ventura, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing visitor expenditures, tourism revenues, and local employment through promoting Ventura as a travel destination, has announced that this year’s X Games will celebrate Ventura even more than last year. Multiple local businesses, vendors, and contractors will participate in the world’s leading action sports competition. This year’s X Games Ventura event takes place from Friday, June 28, 2024, to Sunday, June 30, 2024, at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

Local businesses, including Spencer Makenzie’s, Happy Place Eatery, and Rocket Fizz, will serve as food vendors on-site, giving thousands of fans the chance to taste Ventura favorites. Over 20 local businesses with special X Games offerings will be featured in the X Games Ventura spectator guide given to every attendee.

Local integration and support in this year’s event take many forms. From contracting with Ventura-based labor crew I Am The Phoenix Labor and Production to teaming up with local PR representatives for regional marketing efforts, Ventura businesses are working behind the scenes to make X Games Ventura a success. Bike Ventura and Revolution Skateshop will again run the free, first-come, first-serve bike and skateboard check at the venue.

A global event like the X Games brings unparalleled excitement and energy to Ventura while showcasing a strong commitment to our local community,” said Ventura Mayor Joe Schroeder. “The X Games, Visit Ventura, and our community partners recognize that our local restaurants, shops, and vendors capture the unique flavor and spirit of Ventura. Hosting such an event is a collective effort, and we are thrilled to see it come together. The infusion of this energy into our local economy allows everyone to share in its benefits.”

Feel-good events like the Ventura Land Trust and Surfrider community clean-ups next week demonstrate that the X Games is not just an event coming to town, but a celebration of our shared values and spirit,” said Marlyss Auster, President & CEO of Visit Ventura. “I am so excited to see so many partners and community members involved. Home pride is once again beaming!”

Event Schedule:

  • Wednesday, June 26: Ventura Harbor Village Seaside Summer Kickoff — Waterfront Wednesdays at the Ventura Harbor start with a special X Games celebration. Fans and visitors can enjoy an X Games ticket giveaway, a Big Lawn Concert, and the FIRST-EVER Visit Ventura Drone Show at Ventura Harbor.
  • Wednesday, June 26: EXtreme Boogie Night — Get moving for X Games Ventura with a special Boogie Nights 5k run along the beautiful Ventura Promenade.
  • Wednesday, June 26: Ventura Roller Disco — Tap into nostalgia under a dazzling disco ball at Ventura’s FIRST-EVER Roller Disco, presented by Ventura Coast Brewing Company. Bring your skates or rent on-site for an introduction to skates workshop, a guided dance lesson, live DJ sets, skate community vendors, and more.
  • Thursday, June 27: Ventura Skate Jam — Downtown Ventura and the City of Ventura present the second annual, all-ages free Ventura Skate Jam to kick off X Games Ventura. Local skate shop BlackHole Skate Shop will host and bring the setup for both young and old to show their skills on the ramps. Young skaters can join in on the fun at Skate & Create, taking place during the Skate Jam, where they can skate a mini park, make their own t-shirts, and more.
  • Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: Visit Ventura Drone Show — Visit Ventura is proud to announce the return of the Visit Ventura Drone Show, an eco-friendly display of 500 drones to celebrate X Games Ventura. Two shows have been added this year, making a total of five shows to dazzle and delight.

The Visit Ventura Drone Show will be a fantastic kickoff to the summer season here at Ventura Harbor,” said Brian Pendleton, the Port District’s general manager. “It will draw visitors to Ventura Harbor midweek in support of our local merchants, including restaurants, retail, entertainment, and boating, and will also showcase Ventura Harbor Village as the vibrant seaside shopping destination it is.”

For more information about community events for X GAmes Ventura, check out the Visit Ventura Blog at www.VisitVentura.com.