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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 09/09/09
Casey Tapia, 10, of Washington Township, was awarded first place in the Jr. Jam skateboarding competition held as part of the Peach Jam, a new event for the Peach Festival this year that took place on Sept. 4. Tapia, a regular at the Romeo-Washington-Bruce Parks and Rec skate park, took home a handful of prizes for winning the best trick open skate-style competition.
(Observer photo by Debi Martone)
Skateboarders find first Peach Jam to be `cool'
by DEBI MARTONEPeach Jam, a skateboarding clinic and competition, was a huge hit in its first year as part of the Michigan Peach Festival.
Observer Special Writer
"Cool" was the word of the day as the Romeo-Washington-Bruce (RWB) Parks and Recreation's skate park was brimming with skaters of all ages and abilities for the first annual event that took place on Friday, Sept. 4.
A free Learn to Skate Clinic kicked off the Peach Jam at 11:30 a.m. Over 43 skaters, from beginner to intermediate skill level, learned basic tricks from professional skateboarder, Garold Vallie, a representative of the Adrenaline Games Alliance (AGA) who conducted the event as part of their Summer Skate Park series. Skaters learned moves such as frontside 180's, varial heelflips, and fakie bigspins during the hour-long clinic.
Romeo State Farm Insurance Agent Matt Waligora gave more than 50 helmets to participants and for use as prizes at the clinic. All of the skaters also received a free T-shirt, compliments of a donation from the Romeo Area Kiwanis Club.
Numerous other prizes were given during the clinic. Tyler Burkhardt, a 10- year old beginning skater from Fraser, won a skateboard used by Vallie. Burkhardt, who said his prize was cool, won the deck for answering a trivia question about Kid Rock. Another skater won an AGA T-shirt for correctly giving the name of the event originator and coordinator, Officer Linda Blevins, of the Romeo Police Department.
"I am really thrilled at this turnout," Blevins said. "Look at all of these people at the skate park. This is so cool."
Over a dozen advanced level skaters from Romeo and other areas in southeast Michigan took part in the Game of Skate, a brief best trick competition that followed the clinic and earned skaters points towards the AGA Cup. The Chase for the Cup is a multi-circuit competition where skaters compete to win cash and prizes for their overall standings. Colin McNabb, 20, a Gibralter resident who follows the AGA's circuit, earned his first first-place position in the advanced competition.
The main event, a Jr. Jam competition, began at 2 p.m. with six intermediate level skaters showing off their best tricks. Judges Steve Filiau, Mark Thompson and Craig Engwall, all of Romeo, graded the skaters on how many tricks they landed during the 7-minute long open-skate style competition.
Engwall, a 48-year-old skater, frequents the RWB skate park with his son, Jack. Engwall regards the new Peach Festival event as a great way to promote skateboarding as a serious sport.
"Skateboarding doesn't get much love in the community," Engwall said. "But just look at all of the little kids here. You can see their enthusiasm. I guarantee all of these kids will sit and watch this again and again on our local cable channel."
Casey Tapia, 10, of Washington Township, took first place at the Jr. Jam competition. Tapia won a medal, helmet, T-shirt, gift certificates and 60 points, which also landed him in a second place tie for the AGA Cup.
"I think this was pretty cool," said Tapia, who participated in all of Peach Jam's festivities.
Dominic Stefani, of Shelby Township, was awarded second place while 9-year old Adam Skelly, of Romeo, came in third.
The event was hosted by RWB Parks and Rec and sponsored by Dr. Kehoe, Orthodontist, Judge Denis Leduc, Tomato and Basil, Channel 6 WBRW, Romeo Ford, Romeo Theatre and Culligan of Romeo. The Romeo Police Department supported Peach Jam as a community project.
Vallie said he, as well as the other AGA staff members on hand, were very satisfied with the first-time event.
"When we start this out in a small town we don't know what to expect," he said. "Everyone here has been super supportive. The locals were cool, which also makes it much easier."
Vallie applauded Officer Blevins for the time she put into researching and coordinating the event.
"You are super cool," he said.
The Peach Jam is expected to return next year, possibly incorporating a BMX bicycling event.
"Next year this will be a complete Summer Series Jam," Vallie said. It will be way cool."