Lexington Skate Jam

Stephen Wells, Reporter

The Lexington Skate Jam, held on Sunday, Oct. 31, from 12:00 p.m. until closing at 5:00 p.m., gathered people of all ages from all around the nation at the Lexington Skate Park. There were skaters from elementary grade level up to high school along with parents, companions, photographers, artists, and even veteran skaters. 

Mary Halseth, an important person in the big scheme of the Greater Rockbridge Country Skateboarder Coalition(GRCSC), spoke on the turnout.

“What was most impressive was the range of age… skate parks are family gathering places,” said Halseth. 

With over 100 people gathered at one time, the scene was beyond filled and gave a sense of togetherness. Parking was stretched all the way out to Wallace Street, Maury River Middle School, and Kids Place. This event gave much needed exposure to how the skate park is needing a massive revamping. Within a necessity for change, the current help they have had from the town of Lexington is grant money from Angela Green, the chief of police. Green, who was sworn in earlier this year, believes if people are physically active and engaged in a sport then they are less likely to be in criminal activities. 

Green said her motto is: “A healthy city is a safe city.”

She is getting at the main idea of supporting to get individuals into healthy alternatives to keep them away from crime. Such an event that backs up this, would be the Skate Jam. To show up there and participate, an item such as a food can or other non-perishable foods was required so it could be donated to RARA. Beyond this, there were accepted donations, 50/50 raffle tickets, and contests with an entry fee of $5 for raffles. 

Further into these events held here, there were three contests besides the raffle. First, the longest manual contest, where you keep the board balanced on the back wheels as you skate. Secondly, a challenging game of a skate-version of H.O.R.S.E., called S.K.A.T.E.. Lastly, the Halloween-themed event, had a costume contest while performing a trick. Bakwuds Skateboards popped up and displayed their Virginian made skateboards and even distributed them to winners. Above all, the DJ’s, DJ HungrYchipO and TRICKLE DOWN EFFECTS, were there to provide plentiful music ranging from hip-hop to EDM during the entire duration of the event. Having more people than expected to join along to enjoy the music and skating, all of the members behind the production were above amazed.

Lance Branham, the main face of the GRCSC, speaks on his reaction to how the event worked out.

“Having the ability to throw an event and learn from it is a blessing in itself much less the turnout we had. Honestly I would have called it successful with 10 people showing up if they were enthusiastic about getting together and having a skate jam. but when you see 100 at a less than 1 month advertised event by a movement that is less than [six] months old get 100 happy enthusiastic faces it’s hard not to be pleased with everything” said Branham.

Branham gave a statement on how beneficial and coordinated it happened and it was humbly put. The overall Skate Jam of the GRCSC, managed to raise $1,450 from the raffle tickets within a time of nine days. Even further, $998 dollars from donations on the day and $125 before. The raffle winner collected $725 out of the $1,860 raised and 167.5 pounds of non-perishable, donated food was given to RARA.

Halseth, who called the raffle winner, said,“It broke my heart, she was at least my age if not older and whenever I called her. She almost cried because she had medical bills. She was the person who needed to win.”

An awareness was displayed from hosting a memorable event at the Lexington Skate Park. As the participants on Sunday had been blessed abundantly with the opportunity and even rewards. Revamping is in due-time and assistance has already been working its way in by exposure from the GRSCS. The coalition will be a non-profit by the end of the year through with a filing. In return, this will allow them to write grants in their own name and give people a tax deduction. The future of this organization will increase exponentially in cognition of how derelict the park’s condition is at the moment. In time, they plan to expand where they help out in the entire process to become a self-sufficient skate park.

Further onto the next steps after revamping this skate park, Halseth explains the big picture.

“Not just the Lexington Skate Park, but to Buena Vista, and one for the county,” said Halseth.


As a reminder to skaters of all ages, be sure to wear your helmets when skating!