Students compete through cold to expand skate park

Kara Gutormson

Kara Gutormson

BMX bikers, skateboarders and inline skaters from all across the region ripped up the ramps last Saturday at the second annual Battle of the Wheels. The competition was held at the Brookings skate park and all proceeds went to the skate park fund. This fund has been established for the sole purpose of building a new skate park that will allow extreme sports enthusiasts to put their talents to the test.

Entrants of this competition paid to participate and were asked to classify themselves as beginner, intermediate or advanced skill level. They then competed against those in the same level. A panel of three judges scored the individuals on difficulty, consistency and flow of their stunts. Each individual was given two runs and judged on their best performance.

The judges scored and dubbed the division winners. In the advanced BMX competition, it was Nate Krier, a Volga native, who secured first. Caleb Evenson received second place, while Mack Albright was awarded third place. In advanced skateboarding, Jake Murray snagged first place. Jake is a Brookings native currently living in Fargo, ND. A.J. Vossler of Mankato received second place, while SDSU student Cale LaQua secured third place. Ryan Fleming was the first place winner of the inline skate competition, followed by Coleby Visher and Jason Johnson, who received second and third, respectively.

The current skate park is located next to the high school, at the corner of Medary and 8th Street South. It features a couple of ramps and rails, as well as a grind box for tricks and stunts to be attempted on. It’s the only outdoor location in Brookings designated for BMX riders, skateboarders and skaters.

Anthony Castillo, a junior journalism major, said he is all for a new skate park. He has been skating for seven years. When asked what drives him to continue skateboarding Castillo said, “Skating allows me to attempt the unreal. It’s like no reality exists when you are zooming up and around the ramps. Every second you’re concentrating on what your body is doing”.

Castillo also said that compared with most other skate parks, the small area set aside fills up very fast and doesn’t give people enough space.

Dan Rezac, a senior double-majoring in manufacturing engineering technology and German, competed in the in-line skating competition. Rezac said, “Most people on campus don’t realize we have a skate park. We need to get the word out”.

Rezac also mentioned that a new, bigger skate park would benefit community members and SDSU students as an alternative to the on-campus hangouts.

Chief organizers of “The Battle of the Wheels” were Royce and Charity McDaniel. Royce is the founder of the Brookings skate park fund and Charity is the co-chair of this nonprofit organization. The fund is sponsored by many local and regional businesses who contributed raffle prizes and gift certificates. Major prizes that were raffled off during the competition included a one-month membership to the Powershop gym and a GT zone BMX bike valued at $250.

According to Royce, “This new park is what the skateboarding community needs. A place for people to be able to have fun with enough room to be safe for everyone”.

The McDaniels are also nontraditional students at SDSU. Charity is a sophomore nursing major and Royce is a freshman mechanical engineering major. He is also the skate equipment sales representative at Sioux River Bicycles. Royce and Charity have a passion for extreme sports, which obviously shows through their efforts to get this skate park going. For Royce, who has been skating for eight years, this gave him motivation through high school and a place to meet others who share his passion for the extreme.

For more information contact Royce at Sioux River Bicycles and Fitness.

#1.883293:3581421978.jpg:skateboardcompetition_JD.jpg:Jake Murray grinds his board on the rail at the second annual Battle of the Wheels.:John Dahmer