Pro skaters grind in Alabaster
Alabaster&8217;s Veterans Skate Park joined with World Cup Skating to host the inaugural Pat Wachter Pro Bowl contest April 28-29.
Professional skaters such as Benji Galloway, Christian Honoi and Jimmy the Greek were on hand to either participate, judge or just show off.
&8220;This is a top notch event. It&8217;s a world-class bowl and the beginnings of a world-class skate park,&8221; said Galloway, who is ranked No. 1 in the world.
Galloway beat out Tim Johnson of Jacksonville, Fla., by 2.33 points in the pro competition Saturday to win the $1,000 first-place prize and was one of a dozen pros that stayed in town to show off for the crowd on Sunday.
&8220;The session between the pros was unbelievable. They were all stoked. Overall we couldn&8217;t ask for a better weekend,&8221; said Brian Kelly, owner and operator of Ride Skateboards at Veterans Park.
Galloway was excited about the overall impact of the event.
&8220;I think this event is really good in bringing awareness to the community about the positive influence (skateboarding) can have on the youth. It&8217;s really good to see that there&8217;s a movement to making a bigger skate park here,&8221; said Galloway.
Galloway brought his Bacon Skateboarding road team through Alabaster in October &045; a trip that helped inspire this event when Wachter brought a group of kids down from Florence.
&8220;The kids were going nuts. I looked at Brian and said, &8216;There hasn&8217;t been a pro vertical contest here in Alabama in 20 years.&8217; We kind of left it at that, but after I got home, I called him up and said, &8216;If you&8217;re in, I&8217;m in,&8217;&8221; Wachter said.
Kelly, operator of Ride Skateboards at Veterans Skate Park, called Dave Duncan at World Cup Skating and the event was born.
&8220;It took a lot to get it going…but this is a first-class bowl, otherwise we wouldn&8217;t be here,&8221; Duncan said. &8220;It looks like we&8217;re 99 percent sure that we&8217;ll be back.&8221;
Wachter says he and Kelly are working with the city and sponsors to raise the awards purse next year from $6,000 this year.
&8220;Next year&8217;s event is going to be a lot bigger. With a bigger purse, this place is going to be covered up next year,&8221; Wachter said.
The $6,000 purse is the largest domestic purse so far this season.