Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Falling From the Top : Mark "Gator" Rogowski
Now think of your favorite sports star, someone you feel has everything. Now imagine them going on trial for murder. No this is not a post on O.J. Simpson. Although this is around my earliest of childhood 1980s early 1990's, Mark "Gator" Rogowski was a professional skateboarder, and also sponsored as a Vision Street Wear model. He was the "it" guy, if you had a board you were trying to emulate Gator, dressing, acting and some followers even tried talking like him. Being known around the world, appearing with other upcoming skateboarders like a young Tony Hawk, promoting skateboarding as a lifestyle.
Gator's image and face became the easiest thing to market with a number of products such as board designs, posters, magazines, videos and a clothing line. His face became well known in the publication Thrasher magazine. Not bad for a kid decked out in brightly colored clothes still in his late teens early twenties making making yearly six figure salary.
Now you might be wondering what ever happened to him and why most of you probably never heard of him. It all started after a nasty breakup with long time girlfriend Brandi McClain. As well as problems with alcohol and depression that later would send him over the edge. He just could not get use to the idea of Brandi leaving. Gator was falling apart and the skateboarding movement was leaving him behind.
March 21, 1991 the ego, flashy clothes, and trademark image became worthless. While Jessica Bergsten an old friend visited Gator, things went wrong. Whether a sexual attraction between the two was heated up at the time is up in the air. Gator would go on to rape and murder Bergsten. He confessed that he raped her, put her in a surfboard bag, strangled her and dumped her naked body in a shallow grave in the desert.
It is also shown Jessica was a long time friend of Gator's ex-girlfriend, so the motive of revenge became evident. After confessing, Gator pleaded innocent and noted the killing was nothing but kinky sex gone wrong. He was found guilty and sentenced to terms of six years for forcible rape, twenty-five years to life for murder. He is eligible for parole in 2010.
Gator was the face of skateboarding and he would go onto damage the image of the "extreme-sport." His Vision Street Wear line of sleeveless shirts, high socks, bright colored short shorts would go onto fade away with the revolving door of fashion. Whether your a fan of the guy or not, he is and always will be a former major force of influence in fashion, trends, and skateboarding.