At the Canada Day Skate Competition in Whitehorse, skateboarders wanted the government to invest more money into the Second Heaven Park.
In Watson Lake, the skateboard community is happy to simply have a park. It was, after all, recently on a path to destruction.
“It was being used for parties and stuff, so people in the town thought, ‘Why do we have it if it’s just a place for people to go party?’” said Amanda Brown, a recreation programmer with Watson Lake.
“We’ve ripped out a lot of the trees, trying to make it more open.”
With a little ingenuity, Brown and recreation programmer Alyssa Magun convinced the town to keep the park, located in the woods behind the local high school, by proving its worth with a skateboard competition, held Saturday in conjunction with other Discovery Day festivities.
“They wanted to rip out the skateboard park,” said Brown. “They wanted to rip it out, but Alyssa (Megan) wrote a note to the mayor and council saying we’re planning on doing a skate competition and we have a lot of active youth that use it. If we put it to good use, they can’t take it away.
“We’ve done a lot of landscaping, we’ve cleaned it up, we’ve done a couple of graffiti nights. We’ve had three-on-three basketball, so we’ve had the skate park being used while there’s a three-on-three tournament over there.”
The Discovery Days Skate Competition, which organizers hope will become an annual event, not only saw five of the best local tricksters faceoff against each other, it also was the setting to unveil the park’s new official name, Tha Hood Flats, further legitimizing the park as an accepted recreation spot.
“I hope we have it here again next year – it’s so fun,” said Cody Ball, who came from Lower Post, BC, to compete. “All the people came out and people were out skating. It’s never like this.”
With an array of kickflips, 50/50s and a backside shuvit, the 20-year-old Ball took home first place in the competition. Coming second was Curtis Carlik while Kevin Pete took third.
“I liked it a lot. It was fun,” said Ball. “I practised for a month straight, fixing up my lines.”
Although the park obviously has its critics, the competition lured out a few dozen spectators. In fact, at points the crowd spilled on to the course.
“When I went for that 50/50 over there some girl got in my way and I wasted my time, so I had to go back up,” said Ball. “So that was half my time there.”
Ball, who has been skating for seven years, also won the “Game of Skate” competition
– a game similar to “Horse” in basketball – at the Canada Day competition in Whitehorse, beating out 16 other skaters in the flat land contest. He also finished fourth overall in the advanced division.
The Discovery Days event, Watson Lake’s first skateboard competition, along with the town’s recreation department, was organized by B.Y.T.E. (Bringing Youth Towards Equality), which also helps organize the Canada Day competition in Whitehorse each year.
“Alyssa and I phoned B.Y.T.E and they were awesome – they said they’d help,” said Brown. “We couldn’t have done it without them.
“It all started with seeing these guys out, and we thought, ‘Why don’t we have a skate competition. We have this nice facility, we have to use it.’
“We’re trying to get active with the youth here and this is the best way.”
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