Scott Mescall, a longtime fixture at Austin Land & Cattle, a devoted mentor to the skating and BMX-riding youths of Austin and a man unofficially known as the "Mayor of House Park," died on July 12. He was 49.
Mescall’s body was found in his home by his roommate, according to friends. The Travis County medical examiner has not released a cause of death. According to Austin Police Department, there is an open investigation into Mescall’s death and no other details can been released.
If you visited Austin Land & Cattle from 1993 to 2018, you undoubtedly came across Mescall, known to his friends and the community as "Scotty Mescal" (the altered last name a play on the alcoholic beverage). The gregarious Mescall arrived in Austin from El Paso in 1993 to help Freddie Daughtry, current restaurant co-owner Theresa Mertens’ father, open the steakhouse that became a staple among action sports enthusiasts, Clarksville residents and denizens of the Texas Capitol. The restaurant was modeled after Daughtry’s Great American Land and Cattle in El Paso.
Mescall, who served in a variety of capacities at the restaurant over his 25-year run, from manager to public relations specialist, infused the lair for lobbyists and steak lovers with an energetic bonhomie that made him as comfortable with the children of staffers as he was with lawmakers and kingmakers.
"He had a way of making people feel welcome and accommodated, even above and beyond a normal restaurant manager’s duties," said Jordan Acevedo, the restaurant’s general manager who worked with Mescall almost daily for 16 years. "He was very personable and very personal with his customers. He knew them all by name; he knew what they did, what they liked, what they didn’t like. And that goes doubly for all the legislators."
Mescall, a longtime action sports enthusiast, was as regular a presence at the Heath Eiland and Morgan Moss BMX Skate Park as he was at the restaurant that sits just a kick-push away.
The El Paso native was almost always the first person to show up at the park, according to regulars, arriving before sunrise to sweep up debris and greet fellow early risers with coffee. Mescall wouldn’t just keep the physical space clean; he was unafraid to run off bad actors and devoted countless hours to mentoring and encouraging younger skaters.
"He felt it was his personal obligation to protect not just the park and the space for people, but also the people who were there, to protect them from bad influence, to pick them up and encourage them to get up when they fall down," said longtime friend Mark McMillan, whose son Mescall inspired to become skater. "He was a point of support, and he helped people to grow into the sport, to enjoy it."
Professional BMX rider Aaron Ross, a titan of the sport, moved to Austin in 2006 and first met Mescall during his regular visits to Austin Land & Cattle with fellow action sport athletes. He would soon come to know him, as everyone else on the scene did, as the "Mayor of House Park" and a man whose impact expanded beyond the local scene.
"I always thought Scotty was ours, like our 10-person crew," Ross said of Mescall. But a trip to the X Games in California changed that. "Scotty knew everyone from around the country and around the world. He had a huge heart and was one of the nicest guys, and I think whether people were coming to Austin or he was visiting them all over the world, he just loved people that share the same passion in action sports as he did."
Mescall is survived by his father, Edward Mescall, and sister, Karen Mescall. McMillan established a GoFundMe to help the family following Mescall’s death.
The effect of Mescall’s death could be seen in the days following his passing. Visual artist and musician Tim Kerr created a mural with Mescall’s visage at the Far Out Lounge & Stage in South Austin, where Mescall operated a food truck and served as the venue’s unofficial mascot.
And within days of Mescall’s death, some of his friends started an online petition at Change.org to encourage city officials to rename the skate park after Mescall. McMillan reached out to let them know the park was already officially named in honor of an Anderson High School student who died from a skateboarding head injury and a University of Texas graduate who died in a car accident. The online campaign is now targeted at finding another way to commemorate Mescall and his relationship with the park and the community.
"We want to do something to allow Scotty to continue to watch over the park, while preserving what the park is already," McMillan said.