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The day was picture perfect and organizers could not have been more pleased with the first annual "Grand Slam Skate Jam" held at the new skate park in Fort Hall Saturday as part of the Shoshone-Bannock Festival activities.
"It started off with a lovely ribbon cutting ceremony at 9 a.m. and then we had the 'skate jam,' " said Mildren Manulito, organizer for the event. "Everything was ready...the competitors were excellent...the emcee Brad Beech did a great job...what a success!"
Beech, who is a well known Native American skate boarder from New Mexico, travels across across the country bringing 'skate jams' to the nation's reservations.
"I was so happy that Brad [Beech] could be here," Manulito added. "He took the time to visit with our youth and he is such a great role model."
The energy was palpable as skate boarders from throughout the region ranging from beginners (aged 10 and under)...the ladies open jam...to advanced boarders did their best tricks, jumps, grinding and gliding on the $70,000, 4,800 square foot park, which boasts five ramps, a handrail, a grind box and several ledges.
Winners at the competition took home prizes ranging from T-shirts to brand new skate boards.
The skate park, which opened this spring, was made possible through community donations and grants (including a $10,000 grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation) and is part of a greater plan to increase recreational opportunities for the youth in Fort Hall with a proposed, 150,000 square foot, $30 million sport complex slated to be completed in 2014.
Other business donors for the skate park include Fort Hall Casino, Wada Farms and Mike and Barbara Hildebrant Foundation.
"I really want to thank all of the sponsors and volunteers of this event including everyone from the Fort Hall Wellness Center," Manulito stated, "they did a great job and we are already looking forward to doing it again next year."