Calipatria skate tournament starts new holiday tradition

July 07, 2001|By TIM YANNI, Sports Writer

CALIPATRIA — Fireworks and barbecues are widely practiced Independence Day traditions.

In Calipatria, those traditions were accompanied by a skating tournament Wednesday afternoon.

Vontray Taylor won the tournament's 14-and-up division. Ralph Romero took second and Michael Duarte was third.

Paul Dominguez was the 9 to 11-year-old winner, Jesse Martinez was second and George Magdaleno third. Damian Allen was the 5 to 8-year old winner while Adam Saracosa was second.

Eighteen-year-old Andrew Taylor, president of the Calipatria Skate Committee, said he thinks a skate tournament is a great idea.

Andrew Taylor said some of the things a judge looks for in a skating competition are the skater's style, ability to stay in control and the number of tricks the skater can pull off.

Some of those tricks, according to Andrew Taylor, are kick flips, in which the skater jumps and has the board flips all the way around underneath him before he lands; "shove-its," in which the board turns 180 degrees below the skater when he jumps; and rail slides or "grinds," where a rider straddles a rail with the bottom of his board while sliding from one end of the rail to the other.


Drops and jumps are other popular tricks that skaters perform, said Andrew Taylor.

"I like to skate against people who are better than me, even though I know they'll beat me," Andrew Taylor said.

Andrew Taylor, who has been skating freestyle for three years, likes the competitive aspect of skating and enjoys topping opponents who are at a superior skill level.

"I feel great," Andrew Taylor said of winning. "I feel like I've made it on top."

Andrew Taylor said an advantage of competing in a skate tournament like the one in Calipatria is skaters can get exposure to professional scouts and sponsors.

He added he thinks tournaments are good because they give young people something to do.

Anthony Garcia, a recreation aide for the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program's Steps of Success program, said he enjoys heading to events such as skate tournaments.

"I think it's good for the kids," Garcia said.

He said some people aren't familiar with skating as a sport and tend to write off skaters as troublemakers.

"A lot of people are blind when it comes to skating," Garcia explained. "Something like this is good to show their talents and skills to the community."

Garcia added tournaments are good for the self-esteem of the skaters.

"It gives them a chance to show that they can do it," he said.

Garcia said the Fourth of July tournament may not necessarily become a tradition because of hot weather. He added an annual tournament should be expected around Christmastime so skaters can compete in cooler temperatures.

Safety equipment was required, said Garcia. He said helmets and knee and elbow pads are provided to competitors.

"We have everything for safety here," he said.

He said in the event of an accident, the Calipatria Fire Department was on call and is only across the street from the municipal skate park.

He said he does encourage anyone interested to start skating.

"All they really need is a skateboard and a big slab of concrete," Garcia said. "They start learning from there."

He said the most important thing for a beginner to remember is to use safety gear.

If a beginner falls, all he or she has to do is "get back up and try again," he said.

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