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Inner City Games

The temperature hit a cracking 102 Fahrenheit on Saturday, August 9, the second day of the Inner City Games, but that didn’t slow down enthusiastic participants or observers filling the 30—acre Hollywood Sports fun park. Have you grown a bit jaded about skate events? Well one look at the happy kids bussed in from L.A.’s inner-city area as they filed into the park to sign up for demonstrations, clinics, and contests would change your mind.

The Inner City Games were created by Arnold Schwarzenegger (and partner Danny Hernandez) as part of his kid-centric after-school activity program, but Arnold frenzy was in full swing at the Inner City Games’ opening ceremony on Friday August 8, due in part to his official announcement of canidacy for governor of California. Bob Burnquist also showed up for the kiddos and will likely be joining forces with the ICG in the future via his own philanthropic organization, Bob Burnquist’s Kids.

Hollywood Sports Park was created by two paintball pioneers, Giovanni D’Egidio and Dennis Bukowski, so the park not only features a huge outdoor skatepark (with a second—story observation area and a skate shop) but an elaborate paintball area (complete with movie-set props from Waterworld and Starship Troopers), outdoor volleyball, rock climbing, soccer, BMX, and a huge video arcade. If you were an underprivileged kid from the inner city, how’d you like to be invited to a party in a place like this?

The Saturday I attended, kids were signing up at the SPAUSA/Red Bull tent for the ramp clinic, flip-trick contest, and a highest ollie contest. Some of the kids looked really young, but SPAUSA Founder Heidi Lemmon and her associate John Escobar related stories of how each had grown (in skills and confidence) as part of the SPAUSA team. By the way, a good attitude gets you on the team, but a bad attitude boots you off! Zak Grove led the ramp clinic, and Hollywood Sports Skate Director Al Garcia ran the flip-trick contest. Steve Berra And Zak lent a hand for the street contest held in the slightly cooler evening on Saturday, and SPAUSA skater Lamanzo Coleman won both Saturday and Sunday’s street events. Ronnie Bertino and the ATM crew hosted a lively game of SKATE for appreciative fans.

The Inner City Games provided a cure for skate-event jadedness as well as a few fun days for some kids deserving of a little TLC, and providing a peek at a great new venue in the process. Hollywood Sports Park Co-Founder Giovanni D’egidio invites the skateboarding industry to contact him for private parties or industry events, and the national Inner City Games event calendar can be seen at hollywoodsports.com.

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