Spectators and participators convened at the Flow Skate Park on the Far East Side on Sunday for The Bustown Throwdown, a national Rollerblading competition.
An all-day event, the competition offered an open skate to the public, contests for multiple age levels, an industry trade show and a $500 Best Trick contest. With three divisions for two age levels, competitors ranged from ages 10 to 42.
Gaining steam in past weeks due to online promotion, the skate park’s crowd was packed in to view Rollerblading pros that had traveled from as far as California to participate.
Travis Rhodes placed first in the advanced division in the 16-and-older bracket. Rhodes, a 20-year-old who lives in Chicago, said it was the first tournament he has ever won.
“It was awesome,” he said. “Everyone came out and killed it.”
The crowd was silent when Richie Velasquez, a pro from California, clipped his feet on the edge of the quarter pipe after attempting a 900 degree rotation over a gap. Down for several minutes after slamming hard onto the ground, Velasquez returned to successfully complete the trick, winning the $500 Best Trick contest.
The competition had been planned since early June, said organizer Nick Uhas. A pro himself, the 24-year-old graduated from Ohio State in August. Uhas moved to California in order to turn pro after he turned 18, before coming to Ohio State.
Hoping to make his mark in the television and media industry, Uhas would like to combine his love of acting with his love of skating. “The main purpose was to make it a successful event. That means that everyone has a good time, pro riders show up, you get a lot of media exposure and you get a lot of kids competing,” he said. “The turnout was actually better than I predicted.”