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Skate Park Holds First Competition

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Tara Gorman | Photographer

Austin Lee was given a custom deck made by his friends for his contribution to the St. Cloud Skate Plaza

The Volcom Stone: Wild in the Parks skate competition held at the St. Cloud Skate Plaza this past Saturday was overflowing with competitors.

Having the skate park that busy is exactly what Austin Lee hoped everyday would be like when he began working in 2006 to get the skate park funded and built.

Lee’s campaign to bring the skate park to reality was not the first attempt in St. Cloud.

“In the past, St. Cloud has tried to make skate parks but they didn’t really work with skateboarders on it.” Lee claims, “They built one park using some ramps from a local YMCA, which broke down after about a years worth of use. They just weren’t that good.”

The Volcom sponsored competition was the first official competition to be held at this skate park since its opening.

“We’ve had a few skate matches, which is kind of like horse in basketball, but nothing official until now” Lee said.

Saturday’s competition was part of Volcom’s Wild in the Parks (WITP) tour, which began in Utah and ends in California. It is a series of free competitions created to give amateur skaters a chance to compete at their local parks.

According to Lee, the event was, “way more successful [than Lee thought], it was a crazy event, so much energy put into it. We had people coming from all over.”

Tara Gorman | Photographer

Skateboarders covered the Skate Plaza practicing before the competition on Saturday

The event was free to enter and offered a cash prize, as well as a chance for winners to advance to the WITP Championships which will be held in October.

“There’s a lot of really good kids here so I’m not sure really,” Connor Zack said when asked how he believed he would place. “There’s a lot of kids younger than me that are probably a lot better than me,” Zack said.

Zack is 13 and lives in Little Falls, Minnesota, and comes to the St. Cloud Skate Plaza about three or four times a month.

Many of the local and not so local skaters believe that it is one of the best skate parks in the area.

“It is probably the best skate park in the Midwest,” Lee said.

Alex Tivis, a competitor at WITP is even considering moving to St. Cloud to be closer to the park.

Tara Gorman | Photographer

Joey Cuellar takes a jump over stairs before the start of the competition

“I’m actually thinking about coming to SCSU for school. Ever since the plaza got built, the skate scene is coming up pretty big here and I think it’s something I want to be apart of,” Tivis said. He is at the park at least every other weekend, even though he lives in Coon Rapids.

Given that the St Cloud Skate Plaza was only established November of 2010, it has seen outstanding attendance and popularity since then.

Many skaters are there daily and every day seems to have 50 plus riders at a minimum.

“I’m out there like every day, we’re always out there.” Lee said, referring to his friends and skaters in general. Lee also remarked on the fact that he has met countless great people through the skate park and made many good friends due to the community of skaters that the Plaza boasts.

Whether you are a skater or not, many can learn from Lee’s selfless ambition to bring the skate plaza to life.

“I don’t really care about the concept that I founded it,” Lee said, “I care that everybody in the long run will profit from it.”

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