The athletes of Owen Bell Skate Park

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Dayville - posted Tue., Jun. 28, 2011
Shaun Fredrick does a foot jam on the '6-10' at Owen Bell Park. Photos by D. Coffey.
Shaun Fredrick does a foot jam on the '6-10' at Owen Bell Park. Photos by D. Coffey.

Shaun Fredrick was working on his foot jams at Owen Bell Park on June 27. The tall 17-year-old dwarfed the bike he rode. He circled around the bowl of the park, picking up speed, and then raced up to the 4-6-10 wall on the opposite side of the park. He rode up the 4-foot section and was able to stop himself at the top. With his foot on the front tire of his bike, the back end of the bike went into the air like a bucking stallion.

At one end of the skate park is the bowl - a curving wall with ledge on top - that is roomy enough for a bevy of riders and skaters. A spine rises up in the middle of the bowl, a smooth flowing concrete contour with metal ridge. At the other end of the park is a three-section wall the bikers referred to as the “6-10.” It's a curving sheet of concrete that rises up in three sections of different heights. A 10-foot high wall is the centerpiece, with two 6- and 4-foot walls on either side. In between the bowl and the 6-10 are a host of elements the riders use to perform tricks.

The smooth, flowing contours and the street course elements bring in skaters, skateboarders and bikers. They are athletes of a different breed. While the activities enjoyed here are not team sports, the riders compliment the support and advice that other riders give them.

“It's more like moral support,” said Ryan Ouellet.

“People don't understand we're having fun,” said Aaron Morrissette. “It's a good environment. People give you pointers.”

Schuyler Scott rode a Razor scooter while trying to perfect his bar flips. He's been riding for more than a year and recently took a fall that gave him a swollen eye. “I clipped an eye plant,” he said.

“The concrete is unforgiving,” Gage Ouellet said. Ouellet, who has been riding for more than three years, rides a BSD Forever. He comes to the park to meet friends and practice tricks. One of his favorites is a pedal stall.

Nick Prete maneuvered his bike around the park. Prete rides for the Daily Grind in Danielson, performing safety demos and benefits for other skating shops in the area. He was one of the riders in Danielson's New Year's Eve celebration, “Frostival.”

Chad Swabby moved through the park on skates like he was born wearing them. Shirtless and tattooed, Swabby was focused on his craft, skating backwards, and then up onto the ledge of the 6-10. “It’s kind of an underground sport,” he said. “It's different from what everyone else does.”

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