By Lee Harkness
DJDC executive director
As many of you are aware, we are always looking for something new to happen in Jamestown. We are also working to involve our younger generation, young professionals, young blue-collars and young entrepreneurs - well guess what, we had another first recently that involves all of these features.
Pete Scheira, of Suburban Blend, and his staff hosted the first Block and Rock Session, which is part of the ''National Go Skateboarding Day'' in Jamestown. Suburban Blend is a store located on Third Street in downtown Jamestown. The store was founded in September 1997 and was purchased by Pete Scheira and Billy Bacon. The store features snowboards, skateboards and all of the equipment revolving around these sports, along with a wide array of clothing for the younger generation. These guys love the sports of snowboarding and skateboarding and do everything they can to promote the sports.
Pete tells me that skateboarding is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States right now. Each month, 500,000 skateboard decks and 100,000 wheels are manufactured. One in 10 teenagers now owns a skateboard, with more than 9.3 million skateboarders in the United States today. According to the Skate Park Association of the U.S., skate parks are the top choice of teenagers today when polled by Parks and Recreation departments.
Well, you are wondering what this has to do with Jamestown. Pete and his friends hosted a first-time skateboard event recently on Third Street. They built four large and different ramps in one week. The materials were donated by Gary Lynn and the Community Helping Hands group. They got extra help from Matt Homan, Dustin Gifford, Mike Taylor, DJDC and the City of Jamestown, and the event was a huge success.
For those of you who have not seen this, it was really worth watching. These young people move from one ramp to the other at high speed vaulting into the air, turning, maneuvering and doing just plain crazy things. They actually had a competition, and I believe Pete is looking to bring more of this to Jamestown. They had 70 ''competing skateboarders'' and over 100 registered. They had skateboarders from cities such as Dunkirk, Buffalo and Cleveland.
In addition to the skateboard competition, they had bands located on Potter's Terrace for the enjoyment of all who were attending. There were hundreds of people downtown for this event. Other local businesses involved were Lisciandro's and the Labyrinth Press Company, and they supplied both food and drink.
While this looked to me like a place to get your body bruised, scabs on your elbows and wrecked knees (for us older people), this was a great event for our younger generation, and, as I said, another great first for Jamestown. I would hope that Pete and his company will continue to grow this sport in Jamestown - it just goes to show how creative a community this is getting to be - and a community people will want to visit and stay in. It is also something to help maintain our population of great young people.