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Ripon park part of skate jam series

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Ripon park part of skate jam series

Chris Kovacs and Teresa Barton go over some of the paperwork for the upcoming Central Valley Am Jam skate series that the two "skate moms" organized themselves. The four-stop tour will hit Riverban...

JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin/


POSTED March 30, 2009 4:03 a.m.
Chris Kovacs and Teresa Beaton were by no means strangers to the world of competitive skateboarding.

The duo – both stay-at-home moms that gave up their place in the workforce so they could an active role in raising the children – found themselves traveling all over the Western United States so that their sons could take their shot at skateboarding glory.

One weekend it would be Southern California. The next, the northern tip of the Sacramento Valley.

But when they were making a swing through an amateur event spread out over three cities in Northern California, Kovacs started to wonder why there couldn’t be something like this closer to home – an area ripe with skate parks and skateboarders tired of having to travel in order to get the recognition that other areas seen to take for granted.

“We spent the weekend going from Redding to Anderson to Red Bluff, and we thought to ourselves, ‘Why can’t we bring something like this back here?’” Kovacs said. “We have some really awesome skate parks and skate shops that are really supportive of the kids in the area, so it became an idea that we just started thinking about and it’s grown into what it is today.

The Central Valley Am Jam was born.

With fellow traveling skate mom Teresa Barton – who had worked in sales until 12 years ago when she left to stay home and take care of her son – the pair began lobbying skate shops and local business for support to make what would be a four city tour possible.

With the first stop kicking off at the Riverbank Skate Park on April 18 before making stops in Tracy on May 16, the Ceres Skate Park on June 21, and the Curt Pernice Skate Park in Ripon on July 11, adequate funding would be necessary to make the sort of impact that would send the message that the Central Valley is in fact a hotbed of skateboarding talent.

“We knew that it was going to cost some money – because this isn’t going to be your Mickey Mouse skate event,” said Beaton – a Hilmar resident. “We wanted to make sure it was done right, and to give these kids the environment that they want so that they can be recognized right here in their own hometowns without having to travel.”

On top of having a DJ and a live performance by Turlock band Monster Mash at every event, thousands of dollars in grand prizes from sponsors such as Mainland Surf and Skate in Modesto, Woodpushers Board Shop in Riverbank, and Stacy and Ken Fishburn of the 209 Boardshop.

The five top overall points earners will also qualify for the California State Games from July 16 through 19, and prizes for the top five skaters in each age group – broken up into nine and under, 10-12, 13-15, 16-17, and 18 and over – will also be awarded.

Registration will begin at 9 a.m. on the day of each individual event, and the contest will start sharply at 10 a.m. and run through 4 p.m. Skaters participating in all four events can save money by paying $45 to cover all entry fees. Individual entrants will be charged $15, and any money left over will go to various charity groups around the area.

Due to limited space, those wishing to participate are encouraged to visit www.centralvalleyamjam.com and obtain an online registration form. Walk-up participants will also be accepted as long as there is space available. Helmets are required at all contests, and full pads are required at the Tracy site.

“We’re just hoping to offer a series that will give skaters here in the Central Valley a place to go and be recognized,” Kovacs said. “A lot of kids don’t have the chance to travel somewhere to participate in a contest because they don’t have the means, and this will give them that chance.”
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