This past Saturday, April 13, Projekt 801 held their first-ever skate and BMX best trick contest. The contest was held at We Are One Skate Park and was complimented by some great music and some tasty Ballpark Franks. Projekt 801 is a non-profit organization supporting kids involved in action sports, which would otherwise not have the chance, to go to college. Every dollar they make goes towards education for these kids. The passion these kids have for the things they do is inspiring and in Projekt 801’s eyes, rewardable. Though the turnout was less than expected, especially given the just over 40-degree rainy weather, the contest went off. Given the small number of competitors, I slightly entertained the thought of competing myself. This was my first time at We Are One and I’ll be the first one to say that it is not an easy place to skateboard. The “worn in” wooden ramps and sealed concrete floor gave the park that slicker-than-whale-snot feel that just seems to end in me going ass over heels more than a few times before the day ends. After my initial evaluations of the park, I felt it best to just remain a spectator to the contest and watch these dudes have at it.

With the PA blasting a mix of Tupac, Iron Maiden and some oldies in between, the stage was set for the skate contest. The runs went down with two heats of three skaters in a jam session format, with four of the skaters chosen for the finals. George Gomez flew around the park with a laid-back style, throwing down front boards and some super tech flip trickery, including a three-flip late kick flip at the top of the drop-in bank. The technicality and style points would land him in third place for the day. Clark Thomas, a new name to the Salt Lake skate scene, threw a hell of a classic hand plant on the 9 ft. quarter as well as a nollie “Gazelle” heel flip on the hip that was absolutely insane. Just to clarify, a Gazelle flip is a 540 heel flip with a 360-body varial thrown in there as well. I’m no engineer, but that many degrees of rotation in one trick deserves some kind of credit, as well as the huge three flip and switch front-side big-spin over the down side of the pyramid. The judges thought so as well, and landed Clark in second place. Last, but not definitely not least for the skaters, was Aaron Gailey. Aaron whipped around the park taking the wall ride to the rafters, huge tuck-knees into the bank and a front 50-50 down the “Green Hubba of Death,” that he would later ollie over to seal the deal for first place. The crowd of all ages definitely got their money’s worth with this one.

The BMX contest only consisted of two riders, but was no less exciting then the skate contest. Big spins and back flips had the crowd clapping and kept the riders having a good time. To my surprise, no skaters were harmed due to BMX mishaps, so that is worth an award in and of itself. The contests went off with some bangers and the guys got some really great stuff including a fresh 50 bucks for first and massages for everyone who placed. Needless to say, these guys got taken care of.

The afternoon closed out with some mini ramp sessions and live tunes in the park. First up were the punk/ grunge sounds of La Verkin and they blew the place away. Thrashing guitars and crunchy 2/4 beats opened the set while Advent Horizon threw down their own twist to end the day out. The young talent took things a little more technical and smooth with cleaner vocals and off beat time signatures. Imagine Led Zeppelin with a little more Frank Zappa and just a touch of Opeth, and that’s a good start point to explain these guys. The contest was rad, the show was rad and the weather still sucked, and so the day indoors was nothing but a good time. Big thanks to We Are One Skate Park, Project 801 and everyone for coming out. Keep an eye out for big things in the future from these guys.