Sports

World-famous skateboarders reunite at Cloverdale Rodeo 

Darryl Grogan from California doing an English Handstand at the World Freestyle Roundup Skateboard Championships. Darryl won the Pro Division at the 2012 World Round-Up. - Jim Goodrich
Darryl Grogan from California doing an English Handstand at the World Freestyle Roundup Skateboard Championships. Darryl won the Pro Division at the 2012 World Round-Up.
— image credit: Jim Goodrich

It’s not only cowboys and broncos at the Cloverdale Rodeo — for the sixth year in a row, skateboarders from around the world will be descending on Cloverdale for the World Freestyle Roundup Skateboard Championships.

It’s an event that draws a crowd.

“Some people compare it to figure skating,” long-time skateboarder and championship producer Monty Little said. “It is and it isn’t.”

Regardless, “It’s really interesting to watch,” he said. “No matter where you do it, you draw an audience.”

The championship was first started by Monty Little and fellow skater Kevin Harris in 2012. Some of his friends were putting on a skateboarding demonstration at the Agriplex, and invited him down to see what they are doing.

Little met the general manager at the rodeo, and his friends mentioned he had created the world championships at Expo 86.

“He said ‘Well I’d like to do something like that here,’” Little said.

“And I said, ‘I’ll tackle freestyle.’

“He said, ‘That’d be great. Get the world to come.’”

It did.

More than 60 freestyle skaters from 12 different countries will be at the world championships over the May long weekend. The youngest skater will be eight years old; the oldest will be in his 50s.

In years past, there have been around 34 people competing. Last year, there were 46 representing 11 countries.

Many of the skaters stick around year after year.

“Yes, it’s a contest but they’re here to see each other and to skate with each other,” Little said. “It’s a huge family reunion. Literally.

“Everyone says once you’ve been at the Roundup, the only reason you can’t go the next year is because you haven’t got the money to get there.”

The event will feature competitions for amateur and professional skateboarders, as well as showcase a number of different displays.

The World Freestyle Roundup Skateboard Championships takes place during the May long weekend at the Cloverdale Curling Rink. This year, 62 competitors from 12 different countries will take part. Jim Goodrich

Also at the event will be Rodney Mullen, the second ranked skater in the world.

“They say 80 per cent of all the tricks out there, in freestyle and street-style, he was the one that created them,” Little said.

Mullen was originally a freestyle skater — meaning he did tricks on flat pavement — but has since moved over to street-style, which uses stairs and rails and concrete slabs called hubbas.

Little said Mullen normally rides between one and two in the morning, and tends to keep his riding a solitary activity.

Although he may not ride at the competition, Mullen will be present during the professional finals and the awards ceremony.

The World Freestyle Roundup Skateboard Championship officially takes place from May 19 to 22 at the Cloverdale Curling Rink, but the competitors also take part in many other rodeo activities, like the parade and the bed races.

Little brings whichever skaters are available during the bed races on Thursday, April 18 to line the main street and perform. If it rains, it becomes too dangerous for the skaters to participate — especially since they’re competing for a $10,000 prize only a few days later.

But it’s an important part of the competition for Little.

“We saw it as an opportunity to make sure we’re involved in the community, to give back to the community,” he said.

For more information, and to see the daily schedule, visit the World Freestyle Roundup Skateboard Championship event page at www.cloverdalerodeo.com.

 

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