If you ask Tim Hodgson, a 40-year-old father of two who’s been running the skate park at the Escondido Sports Center in Southern California for the last 19 years, about Cony Hawk, a three-and-a-half-foot delineator post with 3.2 million TikTok followers, he’ll give you two very different origin stories.
The first begins on a moving skateboard where Cony, as he’s affectionately referred to, was “immaculately received.” His father, Hodgson assumes, was a delineator post named Joseph Hawk. And his mother, of course, was named Mary. Cony started shredding when he was six. “Because that’s the age when you can start skateboarding at the Escondido Skate Park,” Hodgson explains. At 18, Cony became a park maintenance worker. But Hodgson and his colleagues quickly realized that Cony had much more to offer the world and decided to promote him to part-time skate instructor and nighttime security guard. “That’s why he lives at the skate park — so he can keep the park secure and keep an eye on things after dark,” Hodgson tells me.
And, of course, so he can skateboard 24/7.
The other Cony story begins last December on a Wednesday afternoon, when Hodgson needed 20-year-old Mason Malick, a former skate-park attendant at the Escondido Skate Park, to move some cones. “Every skate park in the world has cones laying around to block off some new hole or indicate that a section of the park is under maintenance,” says Hodgson.
In this case, there were plans to use one specific post to help obscure a particular section of the park. But Malick was struggling to get the cone over to where Hodgson wanted it. “I told him to put it on his board and push it over,” says Hodgson. “It” was Cony. And without having ever stood atop a skateboard before, Cony rolled perfectly throughout the park like a natural-born Z-Boy.
“Instantly, we were wondering how that would go down a ramp,” says Hodgson. And so, they next perched him at the edge of a 20-foot-high launch ramp and gave him a little push. Down he went, albeit a bit wobbling, straight into a box jump referred to as Rocket. “Cony does a two-foot air and lands on the board,” says Hodgson. “We were all like, ‘This is amazing!’ We knew he had it in him to be a star.”
From there, they had him try a 50-50 grind, which he stuck exquisitely. After that, they sent him down the quarter pipe. Before too long, Cony had more than 100,000 views on TikTok. Obviously, a lot of it had to do with the fact that he’s a delineator post doing skate tricks — “Whether he was falling or landing at the start, people were interested,” Hodgson says — but many action-sports accounts also have issues with TikTok banning their content for violating community rules. “Even verified accounts will have their content be reported for ‘conducting dangerous acts,’” Hodgson explains.
Cony, though, is impervious to such dangers. In fact, the only time they enter his orbit is when he’s obliged to share screen time with mere mortals. “When I have people involved in the videos, it’s more likely Cony will get pinned with a community violation,” Hodgson says. “Literally even just someone riding a skateboard next to him.”
Otherwise, Cony has proven unstoppable. In March, he scored his first TikTok video with more than a million views — it featured three different stunts soundtracked to a “sheesh” sound that was trending on the app at the time — and the Iowa State Tourism Board has also flown him to Lauridsen Skate Park in Des Moines, home to the largest open skate park in the country, for a photo op. “I had to purchase a hard golf case for Cony [to safely fly in],” Hodgson tells me.
Given Cony’s demanding travel schedule, Hodgson has also now introduced Baby Cony into the mix — a traffic cone smaller than the size of a finger. “I can’t take Cony in the passengers’ section of the plane,” Hodgson explains. “But Baby Cony can grind in the window.”
As for Cony’s namesake — the legendary Tony Hawk — Hodgson says, “Shaun White has dueted our videos, so I know it has reached some of his fellow pro riders, but so far we’ve had no contact with the Birdman himself.”
In the meantime, Hodgson and his family are enjoying the extra five-figure income from his adventures with Cony (he spends roughly four hours a day capturing and cutting Cony content). “I never expected to grow such an amazing following and group of friends on TikTok,” says Hodgson, who thinks the Cony connects with people because skateboarding is either something you love, or you find very tough to do. Either way, he adds, “If you see a traffic cone shredding big ramps and getting massive air, you’re inclined to keep watching what’s going on!”