Amateur skaters get their day in the bowl 

The Major Taylor Skatepark will play host Sept. 15 to the Tom Wood Scion Skatepark Jam, an annual proving ground for local amateur skateboard and BMX enthusiasts.

Entrants will compete in a jam format, meaning that three skaters or bikers will go at once on the concrete shell, and will be separated into three different skill levels. Prizes will go to the winners in three events: a general skateboard competition, and a best trick competition in both skateboard and BMX.

Mike Pryor, manager at Key Skateboards in Greenwood and a judge for the Skatepark Jam, hopes that the event will become a local institution. “Hopefully, if we do two competitions a year, we can keep the skate scene growing and fight for some better skateparks,” Pryor says. While similar competitions have been previously held at Major Taylor, Pryor thinks that this year’s event has been better planned and will feature better prize packages.

And if there’s any sign that skateboarding is going mainstream, it might be its appearance in gym class (although dodgeball has yet to snap up that major TV deal for its league, except in the eponymous movie). Indianapolis Public Schools introduced skateboarding to its wellness curriculum last year, and will promote this year’s Skatepark Jam to students. IPS picked up 25 skateboards, along with the relevant safety equipment, and the materials rotate every two weeks to a new school. The skating community pitched in on the initiative; the Beech Grove Sk8 Shop volunteered to educate gym teachers and help them develop lesson plans. IPS wellness supervisor Audrey Satterblom says the program has been a success. “Some kids have wanted to skateboard even though they didn’t like the other stuff.” Satterblom will be passing along information about the Skatepark Jam to PE instructors who will be teaching the skateboard unit this year: “We want to encourage students to drop by and see exactly what’s going on.”

Doors open to the Skatepark Jam at 10:30 a.m., with competition lasting from 12 to 6 p.m. Participants will need to pay a $15 registration fee at least 30 minutes before their event begins. Spectators can get into the event for $5. Concessions, exhibitors, a DJ and give-aways will fill out the event. For more information check out www.skateparkjam.com or call BTA Enterprises at 317-884-3836.

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