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!

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