Tupelo will get skate park for beginners after local shop wins competition

'Team Tupelo' won the "Red Bull Terminal Takeover"

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – Tupelo will get a skate park for beginners thanks to a recent victory in a national competition. 

Local skateboarders have always been a tight-knit group, but recently, Tupelo skateboarders got a big boost from people across the area, state, and nation.

“I’ve never seen the community get behind something like that on that level,” said Matt Robinson, who owns the Change Skate Shop, and he helped organize a team to enter the Red Bull Terminal Takeover.

Team Tupelo was invited to the old Louis Armstrong Airport in New Orleans, to show their skateboarding skills in the vacant terminal. The team entered a video into a national contest, going up against large metro areas such as Denver, Dallas, and Houston. But when all the votes were counted, Team Tupelo came out on top.

The $5,000 grand prize will help pay for a beginner skate park in Tupelo. And the community has also donated, bringing the total to $12,000, so far. What used to be a beginner skate park at Ballard Park was recently upgraded to an advanced park.

“You can see some of these ramps behind me, when a grown person comes off that ramp, having flown three or four feet in the air, coming back down, if there’s a four or five-year-old getting their legs under them, it’s a pretty dangerous situation,” Robinson said.

In the past few years, skateboarding has had more participation than baseball, so getting a beginner skate park in Tupelo is a big deal for the entire region.

“The demand is there, skateboarders are in all the neighborhoods, but Ballard Park might as well be Memphis if you live on the east side and are ten, so our goal is to put beginner-friendly skate areas around the city,” said Robinson.

“Something like this brings it to people’s attention, that it’s more than just, not the stereotype that a lot of people think it is, it’s a sport and activity, it brings people together,” said Ben Policicchio, a local skateboarder.

“I live here in this community, I have a shop, and to see it all come together and support the youth, it’s the biggest thing, for them to come behind us and be able to build this for the kids, means the world,” said Willie Nelson, a local skateboarder.

A beginner course that will be used for the upcoming “Change” skateboarding festival will be donated to the city. It will then be placed on city property becoming the first beginner skate park in Tupelo.

The “Change” Festival is set for Labor Day weekend and will include a pro competition at the Ballard Park course.

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