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August 1, 2014

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Skateboarders, BMXers rock and roll at AmJam competition

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Stephen R. Sylvanie / Special to the Home News

Frankie Decker sails through the air during the first wave of the advanced skateboarding competition of the Vegas AmJam series finals at Doc Romeo park on Saturday.

2008 Vegas AmJam

Advanced BMX competitor Ryan Roberts reacts after botching a trick attempt on the lip of a bowl during the Las Vegas AmJam skatepark series finals at Doc Romeo park on Saturday. Launch slideshow »

Going For The Record

Aaron Fotheringham, 16, attempts to set a Guinness Book of World Record for a wheelchair backflip.

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Local skateboard and BMX amateurs put their best tricks into competition at Doc Romeo Park last weekend for the final round of the 2008 Vegas AmJam skatepark series.

Registration was filled to its limit as 150 locals signed up for the season finale of the 10-round series. The Saturday series was hosted by the city Las Vegas.

"This competition got my heart racing," said Frankie Decker, who competed in the skateboard advanced division. "Sponsors come by all the time to check out the best skaters. A lot of people get noticed here. It's a step that can lead to better things."

The day was filled with socializing and competition as several bands performed and vendors set up booths in the park, which is located at West Cheyenne Avenue and North Buffalo Drive.

"There are so many events in October that we try to do what we can to stand out," said Aly Mikos, a coordinator with Las Vegas' office of Xtreme sports.

The competition was held in a "jam" style format, a more relaxed setting where competitors to try various maneuvers together within their division.

Each division got two five-minute heats where competitors tried to pull off their best tricks. Judges tallied points, allotting more points to more difficult tricks.

"It's all about the style and the tricks you land," said Jon Almarez, who competed in the skateboard advance. "You also get a lot of points for the consistency of your landings."

In addition to heat champions, judges awarded best trick honors that came with a $50 check from Retaks clothing shop. Spring Valley resident Nick Caple won the check for BMX after performing a backflip tailwhip.

"I tried it before but I fell really hard every time," Caple said. "If you mess up you could get hurt, but if it's at a contest and for money, I'll try anything."

For all the dangerous tricks performed, injuries were minimal as helmets were required and paramedics stood by.

BMX amateur Bret Scovil, of Summerlin, injured his hand while performing a trick but quickly returned.

After checking with paramedics, the pain quickly subsided and Scovil finished third in the BMX intermediate division.

"When I am around a crowd like this I do a lot better," he said. "I basically want to show off and do better for the crowd."

Xtreme Sports Director Joe Wichert, who started the AmJam series in 2001, deemed the year a success. Wichert has already begun planning for next year's series, which is scheduled to begin in February.

"There are not many government programs that recoups its costs," he said. "This recoups its costs plus it brings in revenue for the next year. It's great we can do an event like this without costing the taxpayers money."

Skateboard winners for the day included: Destin Watts for junior jam, Nicolas Michel for intermediate 13 and younger, RJ Andrade for intermediate 14 and older and Kenneth Tanner for advanced.

BMX winners included: Adrian Johnson for junior jam, Eric Minnick for intermediate and Aaron Fotheringham for advanced.

Sean Ammerman can be reached at 990-2661 or [email protected].

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