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Skateboarders rally in Bristol

BRISTOL — Sean Wood, Michael Sheehan and Dave Mull skated, ollied, boardsided, heel flipped, and launched their ways to first-place finishes this past Saturday at the third annual BYOBacon Skateboarding Competition hosted by the Bristol Skatepark.
Wood was the winner of the 17-and-under street bracket; Sheehan took home first in the 17-and-under mini ramp bracket; and Mull came away victorious in both the 18-and-up street and mini ramp divisions.
Just as Wood, Sheehan and Mull soared upward, impressing the judges with displays of air-bound moves, the BYOBacon Competition itself has also begun to take off, becoming one of Vermont’s premier skateboarding events. An annual event located next to Mount Abraham Union High School and The Hub, Bristol’s teen center, the BYOBacon Competition has reached out to athletes, vendors and fans from across Vermont in an effort to foster a greater sense of community within the statewide skateboarding population.
“It’s about a community event, a community skateboarding event. Come out, come eat, come see some people you only see once or twice a year,” said Jason Fitzsimmons, a 2007 graduate of Mount Abe and now the head organizer of the event as well as a judge and an announcer.
This sense of community was apparent as competitors, vendors and fans hung out before the competition began, sharing laughs and newly mastered skating tricks with old friends and delaying the scheduled noon start of the completion by nearly 10 minutes. Fitzsimmons didn’t mind the late start, attributing the tardiness to the overall easygoing skateboarding attitude.
“Some guys will also show up later, closer to 12:30. These guys are skaters, and they’re sometimes not responsible enough to show up on time,” Fitzsimmons said. As a result, Fitzsimmons elected to run the younger group first, for the kids “whose parents got them here on time.”
The laid-back skater vibes created a mellower competitive environment, one equipped with free hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon, and thumping dubstep music.
“If you’re coming to win, that’s great. That’s what we want,” said Fitzsimmons. “But we just have so many good skaters here today, and you just gotta come and have fun.”
Promoting the event to these potential competitors, however, has been a challenge for Fitzsimmons.
“We definitely use social media, but we also try to actually get out there. Skateboarders are few and far between. You might hang up a flyer in a café, but there might only be one skater who sees it,” Fitzsimmons said. “It’s really hard for me to drive to southern Vermont by myself just so people in Brattleboro know, then have them ripped down two days later.”
Fortunately for Fitzsimmons, other skateparks have raised awareness of the BYOBacon competition.
“Talent Skatepark usually brings in a lot of people if they see a flier there. These guys are huge,” Fitzsimmons said.
The local vendors have also helped to broaden the foundation of the skateboarding community Fitzsimmons aspires to create.
“You won’t see a non-local piece of clothing on me because I love the vendors. I want to support the people here. I think more people should buy a Vermont skateboard, or some EDS clothing, or 10101 clothing. ” 
Also among the local vendors in attendance was Ridin’ High, a skate shop based in Burlington.
“This is my first time coming to this event,” said Big John of Ridin’ High. “I’ve driven past here a number of times and skated here once for about a half hour and was like ‘I want to stand behind Bristol cause that’s a real skatepark built by real people.’”
Philip Laframboise, who originally helped build the skate park with his two sons years ago, noted how the park has embraced the skateboarding community unlike any other park in Vermont.
“There aren’t that many communities that come together and do this. And these guys embrace the whole skateboarding thing. Colchester and Burlington have beautiful parks but don’t come together like this,” Laframboise said.
Fitzsimmons acknowledged Laframbroise’s sentiment and hoped to continue the event’s trend of integrating people passionate about the sport and the park itself.
“I want the local companies to get involved and be a huge part of it,” Fitzsimmons said. “Maybe someday it’ll be a big trade kind of place where you can also compete in the contest and get some clothes. That’s what I’m hoping it’ll grow to someday.”
 
 
Results of the 2012
BYOBacon Skateboarding Competition
 
17-and-under Street
First place: Sean wood
Second place: Kelly Shea
Third place: Michael Sheehan
 
17-and-under Mini Ramp
First place: Michael Sheehan
Second place: Kelly Shea
Third place: Wyatt Hella
 
18-and-up Street
First place: Dave Mull
Second place: Joey Handy
Third place: Nick Demas
 
18-and-up Mini Ramp
First place: Dave Mull
Second place: Joey Handy
Third place: Nick Demas

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