An array of colors flashed before spectators’ eyes as skaters wearing NASCAR racer, space alien and cowboy costumes dashed down the steep bank at Ken Wormhoudt Skate Park, also known as Mike Fox, on Saturday afternoon. People dressed as referees blew whistles when another ripper ollied over the limbo stick held more than three feet above the ground.

“I feel like everybody’s been kind of locked in and not really doing anything,” said Nieko Gonzalez, a local skater who put together the event with his wife and close friends. “I wanted to do something that fits in COVID restrictions and put on a little skate contest.”

MC “Lyrical I” clears the limbo stick, set at the first level, during the ollie challenge. Art by Allison Che. Photo by Gabriela Levy.

The Halloween Skate Contest held a variety of challenges, including “Isaac’s Monster Challenge,” in which each participant held a manual for as long as possible. Special guest and local shredder MC “Lyrical I” rolled in with a boombox and mic to spit rhymes in between seshes. 

“36 years! 36 years of this!” he cried, referring to his ability to hold a manual for so long, and laughter and smiles engulfed the crowd.

For local skaters Lucas De Souza and Jack Cummings, who stood on the sidelines with their boards in hand, the contest wasn’t about who could outdo another. It was about bringing people together during times of stress and unease.

“It’s really cool to see the community coming together, [and having] all this music and the contests and food,” said local skater Makena Barkhuff, who was there to cruise around and watch her friends participate. “It’s really great to meet new people, see their style in skating as well as who they are as a person. It’s super awesome.”

Participants skated as Metallica blasted in the background, the upbeat heavy metal riffs seeming to align with the swift skating and tricks. The “Speed Demon Challenge” required contestants to show off their best skill at a quick pace. Boards were flying left and right, rippers falling to the ground after attempting their trick of choice.

Local skater Lucas De Souza, dressed as Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights, lands a frontside 180 after rolling up a short incline. Art by Allison Che. Photo by Gabriela Levy.

Each challenge had a prize at the end — winners walked away with buckets of candy and knickknacks or new decks. The winner of the final round, the “Best Trick For Treats,” got to walk away with a $300 grand prize. Ten-year-old grand prize winner Mason landed a nollie backside bigspin, where the skater spins their board a full 360 degrees midair and lands on it facing the opposite direction they started in. This move takes years for many experienced skaters to master. 

Contest hosts tried to keep the event small; most of the fliers were posted around the skate park, directed at friends and local skaters, since COVID precautions kept the event capacity low. Overall it was a good turnout, according to local skater Emilio Felix, a close friend of event organizer Gonzalez. 

“[I would like to] thank everyone for coming out, bringing some positivity to this otherwise pretty gnarly year,” Felix said. “Something like this [brings] the community together, maybe bring[s] a smile to one person’s face that wasn’t smiling before.”

Gonzales and Felix currently have no definite plans for another skate event, but are hopeful for another holiday-themed contest in the future.