BLADE LIFE: Making new bladers in Rockford
“Mortimer, we’re back!” (Pardon the Coming to America refrence.) Well, at least I’m back… somewhat. New city, new park, new crew of young bladers. For those who don’t know why they haven’t seen any L.A. All Day edits up, the Santa Monica Boys & Girls Club skatepark closed a year ago. With a bittersweet feeling my wife and I packed up and left L.A. to move to my hometown, Rockford, Illinois. However, a part of the BGC skatepark lives on. I brought 40 sheets of Skatelite back and used it on a skatepark I built for the Rockford Park District, my new employer, where I’m a maintenance specialist for the ice facilities (Read: drives a Zamboni). I also brought some of the rental blades, which were then given to some deserving kids at one of our first mini-comps at the new park. This summer and fall I ran a blade/skakteboard program at Washington Park Community Center, a neighborhood park overlooked by a local housing project (back in 2009 we ran some clinics there in preparation for the Bearings and Bruises contest). Once again, using the same formula from the Boys & Girls Club, we make blades and boards available for kids to use, with 80% of the kids on blades by the end of the day! It’s really quite easy, once they have a chance to try it out. The kids really took to rollerblading (like most do, when you put blades on their feet). The park district put some money aside for a skatepark, which we built on an unused tennis court. Every Saturday throughout the summer and fall we went to the park from 2-6 pm and supplied rental blades, pads and helmets to all the kids. Every time we’d have 15-20 little shredders waiting for us when we got there, ready to blade. My staff and I, with some help from volunteers, taught the kids the basics.
On October 22nd we had the last event of the season. The winter is setting in quickly here in Illinois. We had a ton of prizes supplied by our friends at Rollerwarehouse and Sunshine Distribution (many thanks to Gill and Geoff!). Colin Martin and The Pull (Chi-town’s new blade shop) crew [Sean Darst, Matthias St. John, Scotty B., Ben Price, Aiden White, Max G., Sebastian, and Jonah S.] came out from the city to show their support for up-and-coming bladers. Local staff Ian Bumphrey, and volunteers Todd Trosper and Joe Tallman also helped out throughout the year. We had beginner, intermediate, and advanced divisions—just for the kids in the program. We even went way back with an old-school race. In total, we gave out 14 pairs of blades and hopefully planted that blading seed in some young rippers from good ol’ Rockford, IL.
Thanks to everyone who helped along the way. — Tracy White
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“I’m not talking to you Mortimer.”
“Mortimer, we’re back.”
! good stuff man, you use computers now??
Nice work mang, you got a good size crew, one lil dude with the stripe shirt already has steezzz! ROCKFORD ALL DAY…R.A.D.!!!!
t whiskey is the man we need 100x more people like him to keep the kids involved. westside.
TW killing it.
Hell yeah Tracey. T Whiskey? Never heard that one.
Great man! Respect from Serbia