Skate Jam attracts laid-back crowd

Sunday, June 19, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 2:14 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

When skater Ryan Sublette arrived at Cosmo Park on Saturday, he was really just looking to hang out and skate.

He knew the 2005 Skate Jam was at the skate park, and he knew there was competition for best trick, but he wasn’t really thinking past having fun.

“I was just coming out and trying to do my thing,” Sublette, 18, said. “It was just about skateboarding. I wasn’t really thinking about entering. I usually don’t like competitions.”

Sublette did more than enter. His laser flip, a complicated trick in which the rider flips the board under his feet while spinning it 360 degrees, was good enough to win the Over-16 age division.

“That trick took me over six months to learn,” said Sublette, who has skated for the past 10 years. “It would get really frustrating some times.”

The trick was one of the highlights of a day that included skate demonstrations by professional skater Dave Davis as well as the Dream Team from Columbia. Throughout the festival, there was a laid back, relaxed atmosphere, something Shane Stander was hoping for as Columbia skaters celebrated Go Skateboarding Day.

“It was just a day of skateboarding,” said Stander of Dream Catcher, a Columbia skate shop that helped sponsor the event. “That’s what Go Skateboarding Day is all about it. It’s actually on Tuesday, but we wanted to do it on Saturday to take advantage of the weekend.”

Stander said he was pleased with the turnout, saying anything more might have been too hectic and was especially happy with the number of parents who showed up.

“Parents that put money into their kid’s hobby of skateboarding can come out here and see some results,” Stander said. “They get to see their kids skating out there with other kids. When you do team sports, parents usually go to see you play, but when you skate, kids usually just head off to the park and the parents don’t get to see them do it.”

Davis said he was impressed with the attitude both the kids and parents had towards him and skating.

“I talked to almost every parent here, and they all want to get to know me,” said Davis, who is sponsored by a variety of skateboarding companies as well as ESPN. “They come right up to me. Usually, when I’ve talked to parents, they’re asking about what sponsors I have or how much I get paid. These people are asking where I’m from and what I do in my free time. I think that’s really cool. They’re more interested in me, not what skateboarding has done to me.”

“It’s funny because the moms and dads are really into it here. In Colorado or California, it’s just the kids that are into it. A lot of kids out there are looking to get into the industry, but here the kids are doing it for the love. Here, the kids go crazy after getting a few stickers, but elsewhere the kids are talking about skating just to get money. That’s leading them in the wrong direction.”

Parents James and Julie Maxwell got all they could ask for from the day. Their 14-year-old son, Seth, won the best trick competition in the Under-15 division. For his winning trick, Seth grabbed air off a ramp, flipped the board once under his feet and caught it in midair before landing smoothly.

Julie Maxwell said it was important for parents to attend these events so they can see what their kids are up to.

“Skateboarding has a bad name,” she said. “But most of them are good kids. If more parents would come out, they’d see that. When kids skateboard, it’s the same as them playing basketball or football.”

James Maxwell agreed that most people tend to have a negative view on skaters.

“They get a bad name because of few bad kids, but for they’re mostly really good kids,” he said. “A lot of people probably don’t know that the kids usually stay after late and pick up the trash around the park after everyone leaves.”

One father goes beyond simply observing. Brian Burns has skated regularly with his kids for the past two years. He injured himself in the park Saturday, but he said he didn’t expect it to slow him down.

“I went up for a nose stall, and my board didn’t get up on the coping and my shin just dropped on the coping,” Burns said. “I popped one of my varicose veins in my shin. I usually wear full pads and a helmet, and it just so happened I wasn’t wearing my knee pads today. How ironic is that?

“I don’t care what the doctor said though; I’ll probably get back out there again later today.”

The Tiger Pilot Club was on hand to promote safety, handing out free helmets. The organization concentrates on educating children against head injuries, and President Robyn Kaufman said the day was a success.

“We started with about 65 helmets,” Kaufman said, “and ten minutes after the event started, we only had one left.”

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