Topeka skateboarders embrace holiday with competition, community

The sounds of boards popping off ramps and metal grinding trucks on rails increased Tuesday as one neared Mouse Trap skate park in Oakland.

Shredders took their competition runs to impress the judges and crowds gathered for Go Skateboarding Day.

Then-Shawnee County Parks and Recreation employee Gloria Cortez-Leonard saw the popularity of skateboarding in 2016 and organized the first local event. The county has since welcomed community members to come out and experience what the four-wheeled sport has to offer.

“I’m really happy that Oakland got another skate comp,” said local skater Ian Filby, 19. “We don’t really get them that often, so it’s always an awesome experience.”

Filby, along with 19 other skaters, competed in one of three classes for prizes. Even without the event, he often can be seen rolling around the area.

Skating for everyone

Cesar Ledesma, 16, attempts to ollie down the stair set at Mouse Trap Skate Park for the final trick to his competition run Tuesday evening.

As the name of the event suggests, getting on the board wasn’t just for those competing. Within the rounds were skate breaks for everybody to enjoy the park.

“There’s a lot of hidden talent here,” said Greg Rogers, a local skater turned small business owner.

Rogers operates Road Rash, a portable skate shop that was on the scene supplying boards and snacks, as well as donating prizes for the competition and raffles. The business opened last year and is usually seen parked around the skate parks in Topeka.

Road Rash owner Greg Rogers hands out a bottle of water from his shop window that was parked Tuesday at Mouse Trap.  Rogers' business provides a mobile skate shop for the community.

“I just wanted to start it to keep the homies skating and supplied and have somewhere for them to hang out,” Rogers said.

Rogers said the local scene is developing and getting competitions like Go Skateboarding Day encourages that only more.

“There’s a lot of people out here that skate that you don’t really know about,” he said, “but events like this is going to bring them out and hopefully we can blow up the skate community here.”

Looking to shred

Justice Cox, 22, performs a backside boardslide on the medium quarter pipe during his competition run Tuesday.

If you’re just getting into the sport, Topeka has three skate parks you can rip up:

• Mouse Trap, 801 NE Poplar at Oakland-Billard Park.

• Rip-On Skate Park at Shunga Glen Park.

• Chesney Skate Park at SW 18th and Clay.

Each park has their own type of features to explore with everything from flat ground with rails and boxes at Mouse Trap to large vertical bowls at Rip-On.

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