KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Chad White said he’s been waiting for a skateboarding competition to happen in Kalamazoo for a long time. He was born and raised here, is an avid skateboarding fan and has even sponsored several competitions throughout the country. On Saturday, Kalamazoo's having its first ever skate event. And White is the host.
“We’re going to have competition out here,” said White during an interview at Upjohn Park. “Couple different classes. We’ll have a DJ out here. We’ll also have food trucks available for people to eat. It’s just going to be great day out at the park.”
It's called the The Six Starz Skate Jam, sponsored in part by his surfboard and skating company. White said he’s expecting anywhere from 50 participants to 300. He’s even flying in a few skating celebrities to judge the competitions.
“We are bringing in a pro skater,” said White. “His name is Ruben Najera. He is also an actor as well too. He’s going to be signing autographs and doing a demo for the kids.”
White said when the city approached him about the event a while back, he was all in. He immediately found more sponsors, created a few flyers and called up Najera, and pro-am skater Mike Francis, to come out for it. Word spread quickly through the community and the response he said has been overwhelming.
“I think it's going to be hype,” said 18-year-old James Cook who was out practicing Friday morning. “Everybody’s been waiting on one of these comps for a longtime. This is the first one. So I think everybody’s going to be out.”
Cook said this will be his third competition this year. He’s excited about the event and thinks it’ll be good for the community, especially the skating scene. White said there aren’t many skaters in Kalamazoo but more and more people are getting interested.
“It is small but it is fairly strong,” said White. “It’s definitely growing in this area. I wouldn’t say it's anything like California or New York but that’s what I hope to do.”
The event begins at 11a.m. with registration happening a half hour beforehand. White said each of the skaters will be divided up into groups by age. They’ll have 30 seconds each to show off their best lines and tricks. Whoever wins each group will go home with a gift, a few being custom-made Six Starz skateboards.
“It's been a dream of mine, like I said, for about 5 years now," White emphasized. "People get to see Six Starz. They get to see the brand. See what I'm about. See the quality. Meet Ruben. I mean this is a dream come true for me. It's definitely a dream come true.”