Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Pierre Bibbs
Sports Editor 

Parks & Rec. to host Skateboarding Class


The Skatepark in the City of Malta will eventually feature it's first fleet of trained skateboarders thanks to Malta's Department of Parks & Recreation and a pair of committed teachers.

Those instructors will be Travis Rhoads and Matt VanWinkle.

“At the skatepark, it can be really intimidating for someone to just come up and try right away,” Rhoads said. “If you try to skateboard by going right into the skatepark, more than likely, you are going to crash and you're going to be afraid of skateboarding.”

The weekly class will be for those who want to learn the basics of skateboarding, according to the course's flyer, on Tuesday's or Wednesday nights from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. On July 10 through August 1, people aged seven and up can learn to skate to improve their skills with experienced coaches. Class nights will be separated by skill level and pre-booking is encouraged for proper placement.

“If we can teach people the basics and get them rolling around, our goal is to hopefully get them to skate the park if they have never done it before and give them a safe environment to learn in,” Rhoads said.

Rhoads and VanWinkle did not put an age cap on the courses.

“There is no age limit on who can sign up,” Rhoads said. “We will try to help anybody.”

He also ensured that they would make sure that riders can handle the boards on flat lands before jumping into the skatepark.

Rhoads hopes that in teaching the courses, that more people will also take part in keeping the park clean and safe to use.

“The more people use our park the more it will be taken care of,” Rhoads said. “It seems that the more people learn how to skateboard, they take pride in the park.”

Rhoads also mentioned that new students can show up with little or no experience.

“We are going to start off with little things like park etiquette,” Rhoads said. “It's similar to a golf course, there is etiquette that you don't cut in front of another skater during a run. We will teach them to use proper padding and safety gear.”

Rhoads went on to say the course will even teach skaters how to fall properly.

“Skating can be kind of dangerous but it's fun if you learn how to do it,” Rhoads said.

Rhoads is known for doing motocross sports, but it wasn't until Malta opened the skatepark in Hillcrest that Rhoads even jumped on a board.

“I started skateboarding right when I found out we were getting a skatepark, at 34-years-old,” Rhoads said. “My friend Matt, that is teaching the class with me, is a better skater than I am and has been skating his whole life.”

Upon finding out that Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament was funding the skatepark in Malta, Rhoads and VanWinkle drove to Havre so Rhoads could learn how to skate.

“Once I had learned, I was addicted to it,” Rhoads said. “It was fun and I had to learn.”

Rhoads is encouraging those interested to sign up as soon as possible, so he and the crew will know how many pads and helmets to prepare.

He also mentioned that they would like to help their students find quality skateboards instead of the cheaper skateboards seen at supermarket stores, that may break easily or make for an uncomfortable experience.

The costs are $35 for the entire session or $10 per class. Private lessons and skateboard / helmet packages are available at additional costs. Private lessons are $30 per class and T-Shirts are available at $10.


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