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Competition draws skaters to Columbia

Friday, April 25, 2008 | 7:01 p.m. CDT; updated 3:13 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Dan Gemmell is a New Zealand native who has been living in Kansas City with a Christian outreach program and touring North America. He is now going to have to make room for a surprise trip to Cincinnati.

Gemmell was one of about 30 skateboarders that were invited to come to the Lord of the Board skateboarding competition held at Plaza 900 on MU campus on Friday afternoon. Missouri Student Association helped host the event.

The event was on a make-shift skating course that doubles as a basketball course most days. Gemmell won the event, his first American competition, and earned a slot into the Manny Mania national skateboarding competition this summer in Ohio.

Gemmell traveled the furthest of all the entrants, but was far from the only one that made a trek. Skaters came from all over the region, including St. Louis, Kansas City, Arkansas and Illinois.

The event also had a Columbia flavor to it, with current MU student John Welch making it to the semifinal round.

“This is a great event because it gets everyone together,” said Welch, adding, “it’s fun and its different.”

Shawn Gibbons, a 17-year-old Columbia resident, came to see the competition for his ‘viewing pleasure’.

“This is a pretty gnarly skateboard competition,” he said.

The only damper on the event, Welch said, was that the weather could have been better. The wet and chilly weather did postpone the event, but it didn’t keep the skaters from practicing while the rain was coming down. They simply went into the parking garages to practice until the course could be dried.

The practice paid off for Gemmell, who held off three other finalists in a final round that turned into a game of "Can-you-top-this?"

Judge Mazi Razani said Gemmell displayed the most consistency, and added that the judges were looking for creativity, originality and whether the skaters landed their tricks.

The top three finishers all earned gift certificates and new skateboards, but only Gemmell earned the trip to Cincinnati.


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