The 8th Annual Rock the Rails was held on Saturday, August 23rd, and was the most successful to date. The competition was held at the Skateboard Park starting at 11am. It was a perfect day, with sunny skies and a mild wind that kept things pleasant. The weather helped draw a large crowd that enjoyed the day and who were able to partake in the many activities offered by Rock the Rails. The three events of scooters, skateboards, and BMX bikes were broken down into three categories; Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. The competition was friendly and fierce as competitors displayed their skill and determination.
Competitor ages ranged from pre-school to post-secondary, and free for all wishing to enter. The day began with Mayor Greg Krischke welcoming the competitors and spectators to the event and to the City of Leduc.
Shortly before the start of the competition, the Briand family presented a skateboard to Brett Cole in memory of Nathan Briand. Nathan was a keen skateboarder all his life and died tragically while visiting Thailand a few years ago. Starting in 2013, the Briand Family generously chose to make a presentation to a member of the skateboard community on behalf of Nathan. Brett Cole was a friend of Nathan’s, and in his behalf, Cole made personalized boards with a photo of Nathan embossed on the board.
The Rock the Rails competition began with the scooters and the first crowned champion of the day, eleven year-old Kyle David in the beginner class. Kyle’s Dad commented that, “Leduc kids are very friendly and welcomed Kyle when we first moved to Leduc. The older boys took him under their wing and showed him their tricks and told him what he had to do to improve.” This was Kyle’s first competition.
The Scooter competition was followed by the skateboarding event, with the day ending with the BMX bikers displaying their skills. The competition draws individuals from all over the capital region. A parent from Morinville commented that this event is one of the best he and his son have been involved with, and couldn’t believe how neat and clean the park was kept.
Both Mayor Krischke and Councilman Glenn Finstad stated that they were impressed by the skill level and were pleased by the way the participants have treated the facility over the years. They both commented that the park provides excellent opportunities for individuals that prefer individual skills to team activities.
Over the years, Rock the Rails has grown to encompass a Resource Fair that included the local RCMP and Sherriff’s departments, and the Leduc Fire department with representatives displaying equipment and answering inquiries. A Graf Arts Camp, a huge Xtreme inflatable park which included a waterslide, and this year, a free mobile Laser Tag park were just some of the activities that spectators and competitors could participate in while waiting for their event.
The change to a Saturday from a Thursday appears to have been a success with a larger crowd and more participants than in the past.
See more event photos in this week’s paper.
Pictured: Halfway through a 360°. Photo by Tom Dirsa