In Antrim, N.H., a small town about 30 minutes from Keene, there is a passion and a love for the sport of skateboarding.
Mitch Reynolds, a junior at Keene State College, has been invested for the past eight years in bringing in people who love to skate. With the help of his mother (Barbara Reynolds) and the rest of the Antrim skate park committee, Reynolds has put together a competition that has survived almost a decade and improved the park tremendously.
“Skateboarding itself is not what it used to be and there is not as many people doing it, especially in rural New Hampshire, but everyone who goes there (Antrim skate park) really likes it and people come from farther away to skate it when before it was just the locals,” Reynolds said.
At the age of 13, Reynolds and his mother created the skate park committee. The committee was formed with the goal in mind to raise money and get new features for the skate park.
“When you have a skate park, the go-to event is a competition. And it’s just fun, people like doing it,” Reynolds said.
The skate committee is a non-profit organization which falls under a 501-3C. Therefore, whatever is raised in competitions, the town would match.
“Once the skate park raised enough money, we got together as a group, went to other parks and decided what we liked the best and what we wanted. Then we found a website—a company from out west—they drove a bunch of supplies to us, with plans of how to put the ramps together and we just assembled it ourselves,” Reynolds said.
The park itself has four features that were bought with the competition’s money and assembled by the skaters. According to Reynolds, the features have improved the park tremendously.
He added that before there were only four or five ramps that were pretty small and it was like almost having to wait in line. Dave Stalin has been apart of the skate park committee for six years. He has been a big part of the building process that goes into all the features at the park.
“It’s almost been like a textbook progression. It started with the one big pyramid and then we got the quarter pipe and every new piece made sense to get,” Stalin said.
For a lot of people, but especially for skateboarders, a skate park’s appearance can be an important part of having an empty park or a full one.
“A big change is when you drive by; it looks like an actual skate park, not just a couple ramps that someone bought,” Reynolds said.
The competition itself is broken into two parts. Reynolds explained, first there is a jam style which is when the skater performs his or her best tricks on the whole park with an overall score at the end of a heat.
“Depending on how many kids sign up, we could have more than one heat for that,” Reynolds said.
Following that is a big game of S.K.A.T.E: a skateboarding game using rules based upon the basketball game H.O.R.S.E.
“The cool thing about the game of skate is the skaters themselves are the judges. It’s basically based on the honor system and it’s super mellow,” Michael Lundsted, a local skater and KSC student said.
“I think the biggest thing is we always think the competition is going to run itself. For the first couple of competitions we didn’t plan too much in-advance and we’d be scrambling and problems would come up,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds continued, “The biggest thing for us has been to learn what to do throughout the day. Making sure we are on time and people aren’t sitting around bored. Over the years we just figured it out.”
“The flip side of that is it’s always a volunteer crew that’s working so it’s good-feelings and everyone works well together,” Stalin said.
In regard to the future of the skate park, Reynolds would really like it if there were some kids that were as into skateboarding as he is, to put in as much into the park as he did and carry it on.
“I have people asking me every year about the competition, so people still really like it. But if I wasn’t around to do it or decided I wasn’t going to do it one year, there wouldn’t be anyone to take my place and we just wouldn’t have the competitions anymore and I don’t know if I’m ready for that to happen,” Reynolds said.
For the park, the future is simple. Keep raising money for new features, follow up on maintenance for the equipment already there and reinventing the park.
Cyrus Lyons can be contacted at email@example.com.