Sacramento skateboarding community remembers Tire Nichols

SACRAMENTO — The death of Tire Nichols is sending shockwaves through Sacramento, where he lived before moving to Memphis two years ago.

CBS13 talked to Nichols’ friend Ryan Wilson about Nichol’s impact on his life and on the skateboarding world.

At 12 years old, Ryan Wilson was eager to skate and make a friend or two. One of the first people he met at the park was another teenager a couple years older than him named Tire Nichols.

“The fact that he could even ollie up on the curb or jump up on the ramps…that was stuff I wasn’t able to do,” Ryan remembers. “So immediately, it was just like ‘this guy is my idol'”.

He and Tire soon became close in Sacramento’s skating community. It’s a tight-knit group in the city and the two of them kept a home base at Regency Skate Park and would eventually venture out to spots all over the city.


Ryan Wilson and Tire Nichols (lr)

Ryan Wilson

“He was my brother,” Ryan explains. “He’d go on vacations with me and my family. We weren’t just skateboarders he was my filmer [too]. We’d skateboard from almost the moment I got done with school around 3:00 until the sun went down.”

Tire moved out of Sacramento, first to Des Moines (he would return to Sacramento for a bit) and then later to Memphis. The two lost touch in the last few years, with Wilson trying to reach out and only sporadically finding information here or there. The last time they met up with each other was in Sacramento when Tire caught Ryan by surprise.


Tire and Ryan (lr) hanging out

Ryan Wilson

“My mom let him into the house, I was brushing my teeth and he just opened the door and I hadn’t seen him in forever,” says Ryan. “I threw my toothbrush jumped on him and…we had the best day ever.”

He’s thought about that hug a lot this week.

“One of my close friends contacted me and asked me if I’d heard and it’s just been like, it’s a lot to process,” Ryan says of the last week. “I’ve never quite lost anyone as close as him.”

It hasn’t been easy. The Sacramento community that knew Tire has had to collectively grieve the loss of their friend as the rest of the nation learns his name and backstory. What Ryan wants people to know is how much Tire meant to the close circle of skaters that all came up riding a few ramps in the Natomas neighborhood.

“The past week for me has kind of been going through the boxes and going through the memories,” Ryan mentions.


Tire Nichols photographing Ryan Wilson

Ryan Wilson

Because of Nichols’ aptitude as a skate videographer, Wilson says he has hours of footage of the two skating together, goofing off or trying to put together edits to bring to skate shops and get sponsored. That’s lifted him and others up as they’ve moved to process their grief. Though that still doesn’t take away the fact that their friend is gone.

“There’s so many people that can speak on his behalf and really tell you what kind of a person he was,” Ryan says. “And we all loved him so so so much.”

On Monday, the skating community will hold a candlelight vigil at Regency Skate Park to collectively honor Nichols’ life.

Andrew Haubner


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