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Skateboarders compete for prizes in Chambersburg tournament

June 28, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- A stop at the Memorial Park skate park has become a daily routine for many local skaters.

The ones that showed up Saturday afternoon had the added bonus of a chance to win a prize or two.

About a dozen skaters turned out and dozens of others came to watch the first Memorial Park Skateboarding Tournament, in which skaters competed in five skill events.

"I love skateboarding, it's all I do," said Rondu Bethea, 17, of Chambersburg. "I'm here every day. I can come and skate and then go take a swim."

The skate park sits next to the municipal swimming pool, and many of the spectators migrated over to watch the skaters.

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The skaters competed for longest ollie, highest ollie, old-school high jump, best trick and in a game of S-K-A-T-E -- the skaters' version of basketball's H-O-R-S-E.

The skaters also were scored for a 60-second free skate, but 15-year-old Nick Shadle wasn't pleased with his first run.

"Normally, the 60 seconds is my best (event)," said Nick, of Chambersburg. "I just didn't do as good as I should have. When I was practicing, I was doing everything on the first try."

Nick has been skating since the second grade and that experience made him the best in the tournament Saturday, according to some of the skaters.

Rondu is relatively new to skating -- he started 1 1/2 years ago -- and still is trying to master some of the tricks. Still, he said his strength is the game of S-K-A-T-E.

"I have a lot of tricks that I can pull off," he said.

The skaters that showed up showed off, but the turnout was not as high as event coordinator Jeff Shupp hoped.

"We advertised the heck out of this thing," Shupp said. "I don't know what went wrong."

Numbers also were small at last weekend's skate competition at Cluggy's Amusement Center. Shupp said only about five showed, forcing the event to be postponed.

Last month, only a handful of skaters showed up for a skateboarding "free-for-all" at Memorial Park.

"Competitionwise, it's been dying, but skating is up," Shupp said. "The helmet is a big thing. Skaters don't want to have to wear helmets. But you have a chance to win a deck here today, so why not put a helmet on?"

A board deck was the top prize in each event category, but a helmet was mandatory. One skater initially refused to wear a helmet for his 60-second skate and was nearly refunded the $5 entry fee. Moments later, he agreed.

"See what I mean?" Shupp said.

Saturday was the first official skateboarding tournament at the Memorial Park skate park, which is in its third year.

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