For several years I have dreamed of getting world class skateparks built for our youth here in Wenatchee, WA. We are on the city’s Master Plan with a 50 plus page study and we have put in countless hours to make it happen. However, anyone who has ever gone through the process of getting a skatepark built knows the challenges. Although it has been very frustrating at times and disappointing to the young skaters we are still making the best of it. We have added a few minor improvements to our 20 year old skatepark (that was never built correctly) and we built a small skate plaza across the river in East Wenatchee. Luckily, the locals in my community have rallied behind me and helped me with many fundraisers, awareness events, demos and keeping the parks clean. It is very inspiring to know even when there is no money in the city budget, the skaters still wake up every day, grab their boards and skate their hearts out regardless of skatepark delays and setbacks.
Enter the making of “Putting Wenatchee on the Map” a full 60 minute plus skate video produced by Derrik Kinzebach and friends. Derrik is a 20 year local skater that has big dreams with his own skating, but wanted to do something positive for skateboarding in our town. Over the past couple years he and his homies have shot countless hours of footage. Plus Derrik was able to get a hold of more footy that other local skaters were working on. As a result, he worked countless hours editing everything together. The idea came to me once I started to see the individual parts he was posting online. I called Derrik up and congratulated him on his accomplishments and shared my thoughts. I knew he wanted to put all of the parts together into one complete video and burn copies to give away, but I was feeling more. When I said I thought it would be amazing to have it shown at a local theater he agreed for sure, but he thought there was no way it would happen. We made a deal. I told him if he could finish the final edit with credits and all, then I would take care of the rest. It is important to mention that collectively all of the skater’s efforts to lay down their best tricks had blown me away as well. I couldn’t wait to make this happen for all of them and to reach out to the rest of our community.
The next seven weeks I proceeded to secure a venue, fund raise and market the premier of “Putting Wenatchee on the Map.” The title just made sense, so I had to do this right since the local skaters did their part. Although we are under served with adequate public skateparks, they took today’s technology, old school love for skating and rallied together to show the world what the skate scene is like in North Central Washington. Derrik and I decided on the Performing Arts Center for the one night only premier. My goal was to make it as over the top Hollywood as possible to reward the skaters for all of their dedication and hard work. Not to mention to stoke out the rest of the community in attendance. We picked the date of Friday June 29th which ended up being the last day of Skate Camp at Kenroy Park. There was a bit of a scheduling conflict, but it all worked out for the best. I had a limousine (paid for by Revolution Snow & Skate) pick up the featured skaters at Kenroy Park. As everyone was finishing up their week long camp, it was pretty awesome seeing their faces as the limo rolled up to the skatepark. Also every campers received a free ticket which was nice to be able to do.
As the skaters arrived at the theater, they walked out onto red carpet being greeted with cheers from family and friends. The energy was building to say the least. The scary part was I didn’t know what to expect once we went inside. Truthfully, we had only pre-sold seven tickets and there were editing issues with the video all afternoon. Even after several weeks of editing and promoting the event we were not sure if this would this be a nightmare or a huge success? We put posters & flyers all over the valley, had an event on Facebook and even a substantial write-up in the newspaper. Most of the parking was out back, so I really had no idea what to expect. My gut was that by pricing the tickets low and comping the right amount of people it would all work out. As I followed the stars of the show into the building I was very happy to see the lobby packed with people. Many whom I knew and some I did not which was what I was hoping for. One of the goals was to get as many parents, grandparents and others in our community to come out and see our local skaters killing it on the big screen. The great thing is that it worked! There were many family members, friends and others excited to see what the hype was all about. Although I didn’t get to meet him, Duff McKagan (Guns & Roses) who has a vacation home in the area was there with his family. Apparently, he was low key and wearing a Mariners hat, and quietly taking in our local skate event. There was even a G-N-R song in the video, so it was perfect.
As the evening progressed, somehow the PAC staff got everyone seated and several of the skaters came up onto the stage with me to introduce the film. As we looked out over the audience, all I could think was, “We did it!” The theater was almost completely sold out. There were people of all ages cheering us on and amped to see close to 40 local skaters tear it up on the big screen. The energy was seriously amazing! Throughout the entire movie, the crowd clapped and cheered as they were amazed by what they were seeing. As soon as it ended, we got back up and thanked everyone again for attending, did some drawings and did an autograph signing in the lobby. I encouraged everyone there to follow us up to Pioneer Skatepark for a monster session and to take the opportunity to stop by our skateparks as often as they can. Although it was getting late for some of the little groms, we did see many of them at the skatepark that night. Our local skatepark efforts may not be on the time frame we would like, but skateboarding is alive and well in Wenatchee. We reached out to the community and they came through for this event. If you can build it and film it, then they will come.
Community for Wenatchee Valley Skateparks and the NCW Skate Core continue to work for our local skatepark cause indefinitely. Eventually we will reach more of our concrete goals. For now, the skaters will keep their cameras rolling and the stoke going no matter what. If you would like to support our cause, please Like us on Facebook and go to YouTube to watch the “Putting Wenatchee on the Map” original individual parts. The final “clean/family friendly” edit shown at the premier should be on there in its entirety very soon!