You probably won’t come across many 50 year olds touring the country to follow the Dew Tour stop after stop, but that’s the case with Patty Mendoza, better known as Action Zone Patty. Her nickname was given to her by staff members that have come to know her well after she decided to celebrate her 50th birthday with Action Zone passes for premier Dew Tour seating, athlete meet and greets and more. She’s been to Boston, Chicago, Portland and at the end of this week, she’s headed to Salt Lake. In a chat with BMXer Drew Bezanson, he totally remembered meeting and taking pictures with her earlier in the day. In fact, Patty brings a camera and printer in her luggage to print the photos onsite and hand back to the athletes for autographs.
Alli caught up with Patty on the sidelines of the skateboard Best Trick contest during Portland’s Wendy’s Invitational to hear more about the stellar summer she lined up, and how the first three stops have been for her. As the envy of 15 year olds worldwide, the NASA employee from San Jose, CA shared with Alli of the perks of ringing in her milestone birthday at the Dew Tour.
How did this all come about?
I take care of my mom, and my son just turned 18 so he’s off doing his own thing. So I decided to do something for me. I wanted to go to all five stops of the Dew Tour for my 50th birthday. My birthday was in June, before the Boston stop of the Dew Tour.
What does your 18 year old son thing about this?
He likes it but he’s more into art and some other stuff. He’s not really into the sport stuff. He’s coming to Vegas, but he only comes because I like it.
Patty in front of the vert ramp (l) and with Jamie Bestwick (r)
How did you become interested in the Dew Tour?
I went when it came to San Jose in 2005 and then I was heartbroken when the event moved to Utah the next year.
Have you been interested in action sports for a while?
I’ve always liked a lot of sports, but once the extreme stuff came out I didn’t get the chance to be part of it. So I just kind of live it through the athletes, and it’s awesome to watch what they do. I just admire all of them.
You’re from San Jose, CA, so do you fly to every stop?
Yeah, so far, but I’ll probably drive to Vegas.
Do you have time for a full-time job with all these trips to the Dew Tour?
I do (laughing). I work for NASA. I’m a contract specialist and I buy construction services for them. I get so much time of and I’m just spreading my time off for three days a month to go. And actually, in September they don’t let anybody take time off because it’s fiscal year end, but because it was my 50th birthday they let me have the time off. So it’s all approved so I’m all ready to go.
Patty poses with Ronnie Renner (l) and Cory Nastazio (r)
What do your coworkers think about it?
They think it’s awesome. They keep telling me to hold up a sign with their name on it.
So how have the events been going for you? I hear you collect all the athlete autographs?
I have a BMX helmet with about 50 signatures on it. I’ve got a skateboard with about 20 and I’m going to start getting the motocross helmet signed tomorrow.
Is it true that you have a life-sized cutout of one of the athletes?
Yeah (laughing). At the last stop, the Dew Tour staff knew that Dave Mirra was my favorite so they gave me their cutout of Dave Mirra that they took all over Chicago and took pictures of. So when I brought him back to my sister’s house, we put him in what we call a “Dave coffin,” which was a cardboard box for him and we took him on the plane and brought him home. Then I let him out of the coffin and put him on my wall (laughing). It was already autographed and he’s holding the 2009 award.
Are there any autographs you’re still holding out for?
There’s a lot of the skaters that I don’t have yet. I got a lot of the BMX guys, but not a lot of the skaters. I haven’t got P-Rod yet. I know he signed last night but I missed it. I still have a couple stops to catch up to him, so that’s the best part.
With three Dew Tour stops under your belt, what has been your overall experience?
It’s just an awesome experience to watch these guys progress in the way that they do. It’s just amazing.
Any athletes you’ve met that have been your favorite?
It was awesome to meet Chad Kagy from Gilroy, CA. I shot a picture with him. What I do is I bring my computer and a printer and I take pictures and I print them out and then I’ll have the athletes sign them too.
How has it been for you to be part of the Action Zone?
I love it. The Action Zone people have treated me so well. Leigh Rich has been so nice. I walk up and they all say hi and they all know who I am before I even get to where I’m going. It’s awesome.
What’s your favorite part of the whole Action Zone experience?
The best part is being able to go backstage and get the tours where you can meet the athletes face-to-face. In fact, I got a picture with Dave Mirra yesterday and it was so cool.
There’s also free sodas and Dew Tour product, what kinds of things have you been getting, besides all the autographs, obviously?
Hats and free swag all the time with stickers and a lot of other stuff, plus all the water and Pepsi products are all awesome to have. You don’t really even have to leave your seat. I just raise my water bottle up and they come and bring me one. It’s so awesome. Good customer service.
Are you looking forward to the finale in Vegas with the event at the Hard Rock and the vert ramp will be over the pool?
That’s going to be awesome. I just can’t wait to see the setup you guys have for that.
The Dew Tour’s Toyota Challenge starts this Thursday, Sept. 16 in Salt Lake City. If you want the best view in the house and a guaranteed seat at all the event finals like Patty, Action Zone seating is your option. For information on ticketing, click here.
Check out the Action Zone video below: