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Building a Skate Park
By Skyler Siljeg


About Sky

Skyler Siljeg, 11, has competed in over 50 skating competitions, mostly in the Pacific Northwest. He lives in Bothell, Washington. He appears in a new DVD from Kids Who Rip, where he shows his stuff as one of today's youngest and most talented skaters.

As a skater, finding good places to compete was always a problem for me. When I first started skating at age 5, there were few skate parks in the Pacific Northwest and even fewer skate competitions. Young, enthusiastic skaters like me were often left with no place to skate.

Recently, some communities began building skate parks in their towns. However, skate competitions were still hard to find. At first, there were only adult competitions because young skateboard riders weren't as interested. In recent years, the number of younger skilled skaters has grown, but events in public parks are still rare.

Our community was missing out on a great opportunity to have a positive experience and I saw that as a huge problem. I wanted kids like me to use our parks in order to have a chance to show off all we had learned as skaters. About a year ago, I went to the Parks and Recreation Department in my city, Woodinville, to see if it would host a skate competition. We set up a meeting to figure out how we could do it.

In all honesty, I felt nervous about explaining what a skate competition was to a group of adults. To start planning, we made a schedule for what needed to get done. The parks department took care of arranging use of the park for our chosen event days. We sent out sponsorship requests to local shops. A lot of my sponsors were willing to donate their products for prizes. I contacted guys in town who could judge and announce during the competition. We divided up the jobs of making trophies and staying in touch with sponsors. We were working well as a team.

From then on, we had monthly meetings to check where we were in our planning. It was really cool to see how everyone was willing to help out and do their part to make these events happen. The neat part was having adults listen to me share my experiences and hopes for these events.

Our Day to Shine

Finally, the day of the first competition—July 9—came, and we awoke to sunshine! We had gotten pretty nervous, as clouds and rain hit the day before. Everything was ready: We had just put all the prize bags together, the sponsors' banners were in place, and the sound system was working fine. Skaters started showing up and quickly filled each division. We had 54 skaters enter and more than 150 spectators came to cheer them on.

I think that it's amazing that we have local skate parks we can use to showcase our skills. It gives kids a place to learn all about skateboarding and gain some pride. I am really happy that we had a chance to show our communities what we've learned. We all wanted a change. By working together, we made it happen.