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As we pulled into Westside Skateshop on Tuesday, July 11, the skies were looking pretty dark, but we were still optimistic that things would be all right. After a visit with Brian at Westside, where we also met up with longtime friends Josh and Jay from Youngstown, it was off to the local skatepark in Lakewood for a quick session before the Game. It was a pretty cool street park with good ledges, manny pads, a cool wedge gap and a pretty legit hubba / rail set-up with a good run-up and landing. Unfortunately, it started raining a few minutes after we got there, although Kelly O’Rourke did manage to get served on the rail before it got slippery.
From there, we were off to the local middle school, site of the éS Game of SKATE. Because it was a little farther from the lake, the rain stayed away, even though the skies were pretty dark. With a contingency rain plan ready just in case, we started the Game. With 84 skaters and the threat of rain over our heads, we kept things moving fast, all the time encouraging the pretty large and enthusiastic group of fans, parents and skaters to support the efforts for the pending Bay Village skatepark.
Our hosts for the day were the local group who is working to get a park in Bay Village, and they were selling raffle tickets to raise money. With stuff donated by éS and Alien Workshop, the tickets started moving, albeit after a slow start, and the event was definitely worthwhile. Out in the lanes, the skating level was surprisingly high, and Michael Guffey had a tough road to climb to the top spot.
Although a slight drizzle started about the same time as the Finals, it quickly fizzled out and the rain threat was gone. An onboard threat in the form of the event organizer, Vince Frantz, not only got third place, but he also earned the honor of being the oldest finalist in the entire éS Game of SKATE series. At 32 years young, Vince has still got it going on. Second place was claimed by Sam Branden, who went head-to-head and to â€œTâ€ to â€œTâ€ with Michael before losing.
Perhaps the funniest part of the whole day came later, when a couple of 10-year-olds got into it with a 13-year-old kid who probably outweighed them both. They were hitting him in the face, kicking him in the shins, and the whole time the bigger kid just smiled and laughed. They couldn’t phase him! Then the little kids' parents showed up, and everyone just walked off calmly like nothing had happened. Congratulations to Michael, Sam and Vince, and thanks to Brian, Lawrence and Vince for all the help setting up the éS Game of SKATE!--Mark Waters