Updated: June 21, 2010, 11:41 AM ET

Checking In: Keegan Sauder

Contest cash, motorcycle crash and BFFs

Nieratko By Chris Nieratko
ESPN Action Sports
Archive

Zero and Vans pro Keegan Sauder has been quietly killing it forever but this past weekend he made some serious noise by laying down a flawless run at his second-ever Tampa Pro contest, landing third place and winning himself $10,000. It was rather surprising for many people, since Keegan is not regarded as a contest skater, but no one was more shocked than Keegan himself. As a result, he's decided to retire and go out a winner (maybe?).

ShigeoKeegan shows the fatigue of video deadlines in the final stages before the release of his pro debut in "Strange World."

It's 8:30 in the morning. Are you generally an early bird?
Yeah, for the most part. It's a good part of the day; why miss it?

That's not very punk rock or rock 'n roll.
I'm not very punk rock or rock 'n roll. I'm just normal. Boring. Average.

You say you're boring and yet you don't act nearly as Canadian as one would expect.
Well, I have been living stateside for a little while now.

What good qualities can you think of, if any, in Canadians?
People say that we're nice but sometimes I feel like I can be a dick. If you live there you get free health care but that's not a good quality about me. We have a lot of drinking water and free camping.

Do you need ID to get the free health care? Or can I go up to Canada and say that I'm Keegan Sauder and get free hospital visits?
All you have for health care up there is a health card that just has a number on it. I remember once someone I knew broke her collarbone and she just went to the hospital in Canada with a friend's health ID number. They don't really look at the IDs and there's no picture on the card. So technically you could. The person who owned the card would get in trouble if you were ever busted but I'd just say you stole my Care Card.

Next time I get seriously hurt I'm going to do that.
Well, it can't be too serious because you have to be able to make it all the way to Canada without dying.

Just over a week ago you won $10,000 for 3rd place at Tampa Pro.
Yeah, my friend was like, "You had two qualifying runs, two semi-finals runs, and three finals runs. That's seven minutes. You got paid ten grand for seven minutes!" It's the most money I've ever made in seven minutes and probably the last time.

What are you going to do with your seven minutes worth of money?
This is really boring but I'm going to go to the dentist for the first time in seven years. Maybe I'll buy a keg.

Mike BurnettKeegan Sauder gets a frontside rock beneath an epic sunset in the Cayman Islands.

Don't you get free dental in Canada?
No, not free dental. Just the hospital stuff. It's not that amazing but it's still pretty amazing compared to the U.S.

Were you surprised at how well you did at Tampa?
Yeah, I seriously was. I thought Peter Ramondetta should have gotten higher because he was skating really good. Really tech, gnar, fast. But I got third, I'm stoked.

You kind of pooped the bed on your two other finals runs but you put together one flawless run. Who was driving the car for that run?
I have no idea, man. I was honestly so tired. I flew in on a red-eye flight Friday night and got there Saturday. I figured I totally blew it getting there that late. I heard that last year Dennis Busenitz was like, "Fly me in as late as possible." I was like, that's a rad idea: minimal time and you'll be all fired up and then you'll be out of there. I got there and was like, "I'm screwed. I'm so tired." Somehow that one run worked and I got third. I was shocked.

Were you holding back all these years until you went pro to unleash the monster within?
I don't think so.

You haven't been pining over last weekend's Tampa Pro for the last 10 years?
Yeah, I've just been waiting for this moment my whole life. My whole life has been building up to this past Sunday. Everything. Now I'm just lost, more than I ever have been because I have nothing to focus on.

Are you considering retiring?
Yeah, I think I'm done. Third, once, is all I have to offer the entire world. I'm totally useless to my family now. I have nothing left, I'm spent.

Have you ever fall and go boom on your motorcycle?
Yeah. Definitely. Most recent one was on a Baja trip that was sponsored by Harley. I was going really fast and somehow pulled it. I think I was going about 65 mph and trying to slow down on a straight section of dirt road I hit a bump and got tossed and landed 219 footsteps away from the bump. I was just laying next to the bike when I came to a stop. I was in shock. Scary, really scary. The bike was totaled; there were holes in the engine case, the handlebars looked like a pretzel. I was just bruised up. Luckily I had a helmet on because I could feel the helmet hitting rocks the size of your fist and I had a bump on my head from inside the helmet. Without the helmet my head would've broken open in several places, for sure, and I'd be dead.

What's it like being BFFs with Rick McCrank?
It's the best thing in the world. It's pretty rad; you get to ride in his van with him. It's 4-wheel drive and diesel, so that's pretty cool. And you get to watch him skate! And when you show up at places people will ask, "Is that Rick McCrank?"

What do you say to them?
I usually say, "Yeah! It really is! It's not even a fake one!" And when I lived with him, I got free boards. Thanks, Rick. That was a couple years of free boards. Hopefully he doesn't get in trouble for that.

ShigeoKeegan Sauder walks back uphill between runs at a fun looking ditch spot.

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