August 24, 2005

Sounds of wheels and wood on asphalt, trucks grinding on steel coping and rails, music and cheers echoed past the stretch of cars lined down Wasco Avenue from the skate park almost to Wal-Mart. The Mayonnaise Skate Jam spread 38 competitors and a myriad of spectators around the Hood River Rotary Skate Park Saturday afternoon for a fund-raiser that turned out to be by far the park’s busiest day of the summer.

Although primarily a fund-raiser for the skate park, competition was fierce among the more advanced age groups, and everyone gave it their all for a best of two runs scoring format in both street and bowl events. After hours of skating, individual champions received their prizes and much-coveted bragging rights for the rest of the summer.

Youngsters in the 12 and under division started the street course with nerves of steel, despite many of them competing in front of the largest audience of their lives.

After their stints of fame, the youngsters cleared the course, lined its edges and watched keenly the moves of older skaters. The crowd demanded big tricks and the competitors cheered each other on, with everyone exploding in unison when someone landed something difficult or ate the asphalt especially hard. Best crash was a judged category for each age division, as was best trick and best overall run.

“The event was totally stellar,” said volunteer emcee Sean Stuart. “Every contestant put out an awesome effort and the overall attitude was awesome from everyone. We had killer music playing all day, thanks to Dave Rouge and David Kelleher and both events went extremely smooth. The kids went home stoked.”

Since its development in the late 1990s, the Hood River Skate Park has hosted several competitions. Although not the biggest or highest caliber competition held over the years, the Mayonnaise Skate Jam was different than the rest in one very important way.

“The event was different than the rest because it was very community oriented,” commented Hood River Skate Park volunteer coordinator Julie Tucker. “It was great to see everyone out in the park having fun, kids and parents alike. I am so incredibly grateful for all the time people took to put it together.”

Buckets of sweat, a little blood and a couple twisted ankles, along with the help of dozens of volunteers, raised about $400 for the skate park.