Each year, many young skaters migrate to Jamestown to participate in Skate Chautauqua.
This year was no exception. The Jamestown Savings Bank Arena was a hive of activity this weekend. The two-day event boasted a jam-packed schedule from 9 in the morning until 6 in the evening. Skaters rushed back and forth between the dressing room and the rink, eyeing up their competition and putting finishing touches on their makeup. The atmosphere was tense with excitement and apprehension.
The competition is anything but unfriendly at the event, however.
Taylor Cobb gets her hair done as she waits for her turn to compete.
P-J photo by Nicholena Moon
"I personally like watching other skaters more than skating myself," said Taylor Cobb of the Jamestown Skating Club, who has been skating for nine years and competing in Skate Chautauqua for six. "I like watching and seeing what they can do versus what I can do."
Taylor competes in the showcase, which is slightly different from traditional events.
"It's upbeat and you get to do what you want, pretty much," said Christina Walczak, who also competes in the showcase, and has been skating for nine years. "A showcase is like, you dress up in funky outfits and skate to music with words, unlike normal events which have more traditional music."
Walczak doesn't remember how long she has participated in Skate Chautauqua. It is safe to say that she is a veteran of the event.
"I'm not sure, I've been in it for a long time," she said with a laugh.
For Nichole Traniello, who has been skating for seven years and participating in Skate Chautauqua for 6 of those, it's the competition that fuels her passion.
"I just love going out and skating and having fun, and seeing what place I get," she said.
The event has run for almost two full decades, and it is as strong as ever. However, there was a major change for the 18 Jamestown skaters, who worked with different coaches this year.
"Since the main coaches left from the rink, it's been a lot better. There's been more publicity about it," said Cobb.
The event has run every year since 1996, and has showcased many prominent skaters, such as Sarah Hughes, 2002 Olympic champion, and Mike Ando, the 2007 and 2011 world champion. Many skaters hope to follow in their footsteps, and Skate Chautauqua provides an excellent start.