Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A big THANK YOU to our 2016 Midsouth Triple Crown Sponsors and Volunteers!

This post is all about acknowledging how grateful we are of our sponsors and volunteer’s generosity and faithful commitment to making the Triple Crown Skate Series happen. If it were not for them, we would have no venue in the Midsouth for kids to learn to skate and compete.

  A single FB post simply wouldn’t provide enough space to properly recognize all those involved in making the 2016 Midsouth Triple Crown happen.  So I decided to dust off the old Skatelife Memphis blog to accomplish this task. It’s been nearly 4 ½ years since my last post!  I think time is warping or something- it doesn’t seem that long ago…..

If you’re a spectator that just happened to attend of the events, you’d think that you’re watching a casual get together of skaters who decided to teach skateboarding to some kids followed by a friendly skate competition and free lunch.  And you’re impression would be correct. That’s really all we’re doing, but to do it right, organize it and make it fun requires a lot behind the scenes work.

Let’s start with Terry Kerr of Midsouth Home Buyers. Terry is a long-time friend who’s done very well in the buying, rehabbing, selling and management of houses in the Midsouth. He’s also been Skatelife Memphis’s sole sponsor since we started skatelife back in 2006. Year in year out, I have relied on Terry and he’s always been there for us .This year has been no exception. We were able to cover all of our cost thanks to his donation. In year’s past we were able to have most of our boards donated but times are hard for local skate shops and board companies.  Thanks to Midsouth Home Buyers we were able to purchase, at full cost, decks and gear from our local skate businesses which included Cheapskates, Fluxes and Ritemind decks. We’re hoping the local skate business scene continues to flourish and grow!  

Another perennial supporter has been Greg Cravens, a local Midtown cartoonist and graphic artist. If you pick up a copy of the Memphis Flyer you’ll likely see one of his very clever witty illustrations sprinkled throughout the pages of the paper. Greg has created the event graphics for the past three years  as well as for the Triple Crown T-shirts. For the last event 2016 Triple Crown, he set up shop down in Hernando and spent hours of his own time drawing cartoon caricatures of anyone who wanted one for free! He’s a great Dad and has been such a reliable volunteer for the series- he’s another perennial anchor volunteer. Of course he’ll tell you it was nothing- don’t believe him!

Kris Gurley created the layout and graphics for the 2016 poster and Greg put the finishing touches on it. Kris Gurley IS the other half of  Skatelife Memphis. It would take another post to detail everything he’s done, so if you see him just give him a big hug. I am so grateful to have him as my right-hand man in all things relating to skatelife.

This year, Kirkwood Vangelis and Zach Robert, co-founders of Fluxus skateboards generously donated their time to help judge the half-pipe and Hernando park events. The same goes for the Loughridge bros, Mitch and Coleton,  who were our judges for the street competition.  You guys had a tough job especially with the scores so close for every event this year.

Amy Covey, Liz Miller and Michelle Shafer all helped participants check-in and updated our lists. Basically they were in charge of taming the chaos that comes with getting everybody ready and signed-up for the learn to skate clinics or the competitions. Tiffany Smith was also a huge help in last years mini-halfpipe event, she scrambled to get some prizes at the very last minute and was able to find some certificates to award every skater that competed in that event.

Chad Crawford is the soul of the competitions, he brings the stoke, excitement to PA system and reminds us that without the support of parents and the stoke of their kids, we wouldn’t be doing these events. He pumps and riles up the skaters, ultimately always pushing and encouraging them to do their best.  We’re grateful to have such a cool MC running the show! He’s been our MC since the series started back in 2013.

Ed Pidgeon, a.k.a. point man and principal fundraiser for the Hernando skate park (i.e Pidgeon skate park), worked out all the details with the City of Hernando so that all we had to do is show up, set up and run the final competition. Thanks Ed you’re a hero to all of us!

Speaking of Hernando skate park, Lew from Fickle Skateboards made the trek from Ohio to set up his mobile skate shop at the last event. He also donated a deck to the event that Chad gave away for the "most beat-up board award." It was great seeing Lew, talk about dedication!

Miki Vuckovich, the guy in charge over at the Tony Hawk Foundation, generously provided us with some sharp looking Powell Peralta decks, t-shirts and stickers. My son Doran is very happy skating on one of those decks that he won at the Hernando event. For the past five years, the Hawk foundation has consistently provided skate equipment and prizes to Skatelife Memphis.  A truly great organization!

April Golden has been working with kids in North Memphis for well over a decade at the MAM Greenlaw community center. Kids have literally grown up at the center with her as a “Mom.”  You’ll be hard pressed to meet a more humble gentle lady than April. For the street competition, I was supposed to pick up Isaiah from the community center in the morning. He wasn’t’ able to make it that day,  so bummed,  I left and rushed off to the competition. Several hours later, April shows up with Isaiah to the competition. Talk about commitment and dedication. And that’s just a typical day for her juggling the unpredictable lives and schedules of the kids that she works with.  Thanks to April and her husband Detric, we were able to build the indoor half-pipe in the community center back in 2009, which now we currently use to co-host half-pipe event with Memphis AthleticMinistries (MAM).

Let’s not forget all that tasty food from Chick Fil A,Germantown. Anthony House, the owner has now been fueling our stomachs with chicken for the past two Triple Crown seasons. Our stomachs are indebted to your generosity!  He also gave away a ton of Ts, stickers, packs and giftcards for our prize tosses!

Jackie Trenthem over at the Memphis Division of Parks has made this season a breeze.  We met once to to discuss the event, she gave us the green light  and as quick as you can snap your finger,  we were set to co-host the street event with the City of Memphis for the second year in a row. In the past we’ve had to spend a lot of private donor funds towards liability insurance. Now, with the City hosting the street event we’re able to use those funds for prizes rather than paying for insurance. It’s a perfect partnership and we are honored and VERY grateful to help run the event on behalf of the City.

Ron Hale of Cheapskates needs to mentioned just because he’s one of the most dedicated people I know to help the skate scene alive here.  Everyone is always stoked to see Ron come out to almost  every event we’ve had and if he’s able to provide gear, he does.  Let’s keep Cheapskates and Ron going by continuing to patronize his shop-buy his stuff.

Of worthy mention is Domique Watts founder of Sergio Kosco, he provided us enough hoodies and T’s to last through two Triple Crown seasons. This year, Matt Bell, owner of PDX leather, sent us a bunch of Rad Railz  that slide for miles on the coping and parking blocks.

I would be remiss not to mention the parents who provide the support and opportunity for their kids to explore their gifts and talents. We are certainly grateful to be able to share your stoke of watching and teaching your kids to skate and show case their skills in the competitions. 

It’s been a great series this year. We had only one injury and it was minor.  We may have new competition and clinic coming this fall that would be open to all ages. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Helmet Ordinance Update

I received written confirmation via email from the MPD that the Helmet Ordinance requiring users to wear helmets at the Memphis skate park, will go in full effect starting January 1, 2012. Users not wearing a helmet will receive a $50 ticket.

Instead of waiting to get a ticket,  take that money and go purchase a helmet  at a local business such as Cheapskates , Blue City Skates, or the  MG Skateboard shop . Your brain and pocketbook will thank you.

Monday, December 12, 2011

1st Annual Memphis Food Grind !

 Join the holiday spirit and help us get some food collected for MIFA!

Here's the scoop:

Skatelife Memphis, Cheapskates, local area businesses and churches join forces for 1st Annual Memphis Food Grind in Support of MIFA (Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association)

Volunteer members of the local Skateboard advocacy group SkateLife Memphis along with Cheapskates Skateboard shop want to help restock MIFA’s pantry shelves this holiday season through their 1st annual Skatelife Memphis Food Grind to benefit MIFA.
The week long event kicks off at Dec 17th ,10am, at the newly constructed Memphis Skate Park in Tobey Park.

Skatelife Memphis Food Grind engages our youth within the communities they live to support MIFA’s efforts to continually feed 55,000 Memphians and families in crisis on an annual basis and especially during the holiday season.

During this weeklong effort,  individuals can drop off nonperishable food items at the following locations Dec 17th through Dec 23rd.

Memphis Skate Park – Tobey Park Dec 17th 10am-4pm One day only at this location
(Located directly behind the Memphis Board Of Education)
Cheapskates skateboard shop 1576 Getwell Rd Dec 17th – Dec 23rd
Greenlaw Community Center 190Mill Ave Dec 17th – Dec 23rd ( 1-7 pm)
Blues City Skates 569 S. Highland Dec 17th – Dec 23rd
Mid-Town Bikes Shop 517 S main Dec 17th – Dec 23rd
Advent Church 1879 N. Germantown Pkwy Dec 17th – Dec 23rd (10-4 pm)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Helmets: Wear one and show some gratitude

The issue of wearing helmets at Tobey skate park has been in the news a lot these days. You can read about the ensuing incidents in the Flyer, CA  or see it on Channel 5 or ABC24.  Basically a number of skaters have been ignoring the mandatory helmet rule and as a result several news stories have been aired, covering the consequences of skaters not observing that rule. As of yesterday, that rule is now a law since the Helmet law/ordinance passed unanimously in last night’s City Council meeting. Users of all ages are required to wear helmets or risk receiving a $50.00 citation ( Check out the Flyer story).

Three days after the park opened, a skater seriously injures his head and the news was all over that story. Thankfully he’s going to be ok. Then several news stations and local papers covered another helmet-related incident which involved the handcuffing of a 12 year old skater.  I don’t want to get into the details and the nuances surrounding the circumstances that led up to these events. Rather, let’s just say these events would not have happened if users were wearing their helmets. Period.

Perspective and history

As a skate park advocate that has been working on getting a skate park for our City, I find the disregard of the posted rules very disappointing. The City spent well over $500,000 for this incredible park to be built and how do a number of skaters thank the City? They give them the collective finger by blowing off the rules and next thing you know we’re in the media looking like a bunch of spoiled ungrateful brats.

On the other hand I am not surprised. As a friend of mine pointed out, gratitude is an elusive character quality that takes years to cultivate. Few of us have it in our younger years.    Many skaters have no idea of how much time an effort went into getting this park so showing gratitude is low on the priority list- especially if being grateful means looking “uncool” to your friends or “limits your ability to creatively express yourself.”

It’s also important to keep in mind that the helmet rule is not enforced in any of the local area skate parks so what we have is a younger generation,  perhaps two generations of skaters that have grown up not wearing helmets.  Even within most California skate parks, which also have similar helmet ordinances, you will find the majority of users without helmets. 

I am encouraged to see a number of skaters that are wearing helmets, especially the younger kids and older skaters that have been involved with taking the Tobey skate park project to fruition. 

I hope that City is able to get users to wear their helmets, it's for their own good mind you, but based on what I have seen in most parks, it will be an uphill battle.  

In the meantime, Skatelife will continue to slowly change the skate culture’s attitude towards wearing helmets as we work with teaching skateboarding to kids and their families at the park on Saturdays.  One day, I hope, the next generation of skateboarders will see wearing a helmet no differently than wearing their seat-belts. 

In the meantime wear helmet at the park and show some gratitude to our City. After all they made us an awesome first rate skate park!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Blues City Skates donates protective equipment for kids learning to skate

Just yesterday Emily Ward-Markle contacted me and indicated her interest in having her new business help out the skate community. Emily and her business partner ( and fellow Derby girl!) just opened up Blues City Skates.

I asked Emily how she found herself starting a skate business.

This was what she had to say:

" I started doing roller derby about a year and a half ago and instantly fell in love with it. However, as I progressed I realized there were no local businesses where I could buy skates, get skates repaired or anything that catered to roller derby, even though the modern movement has flared with a vengeance."

So there you have it. If you are a looking place that really knows their skates and are also is very passionate about what they do then you need to check out the new shop. You can also find the shop on FB here.

As you know from a recent post on the website, Skatelife received a lot of skate helmets from the Tony Hawk Foundation but we're still in need of pads especially children's wrist-guards. Thanks to Blue City skates we'll be receiving a bunch of wrist-guards! If you come to our May 14the family "learn to skate" clinic you can thank Emily for providing the wrist-guards for your children.

We are very grateful for Blues City Skates becoming our 2nd official sponsor!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Council moves skate park project forward

For more details check out the Memphis Daily News report on Tuesday's City Council meeting.

I think the gist of the vote was a motion to approve the Tobey skate park design. We're getting closer!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Innovative edge lives outdoors

CEO for cities wrote the below post that suggests a relationship between a city's outdoor recreational options and its "innovative edge." It's not an earth shattering type of finding since it's already been shown that exercise greatly enhances brain function, but still it's useful and meaningful data that further supports our need to foster a healthier community full of outdoor recreational options to chose from.
Doing this also means healthier more creative kids which is what excites me even more than boosting our "innovative edge."

"A recent analysis of Portland’s athletic and outdoor cluster released by Portland Development Commission may also shed light on clusters.

Joe Cortright, a collaborator on the study says:

“The athletic and outdoor cluster is remarkable for many reasons. The jobs in Portland are at the apex of a global industry. Firms in the industry depend heavily on the local talent base, which is producing entrepreneurs and spinoff firms, and also attracting businesses to locate or relocate here. And the industry's innovative edge draws heavily from its close connections to the region's outdoor culture. Athletic and outdoor firms learn from and extend the region's "hybrid lifestyle"--blending work and play, and turn this knowledge into new designs and products. And the athletic and outdoor industry is a critical component of the region's creative industries.”