Tag Archives: Mesa

National skateboard competition is open to local skaters

Valley skaters still have a few more days to register for one of the nation’s largest and most respected amateur skateboarding competitions.

The sixth and final qualifying event for the 10th annual King of the Groms, a 12 and under skateboard contest series, and King of the Ams for ages 13 to 16, will be held at Kids That Rip! Skateboard School (KTR) in east Mesa Feb. 16-19.

An intermediate class at Kids That Rip! Skateboard School. Photo by Daniel Friedman.

The series consists of six qualifying events held throughout the country, followed by one championship event. This year’s champions will be crowned June 14-17 at the 3rd Lair SkatePark in Golden Valley, Minn. While KTR has sent several students to the national competition in past years, this is the first time the Valley skateboarding school has played host to a qualifying event.

“We want to get every young skateboarder in Arizona to participate in King of the Groms, whether they’re new to the sport or they’ve been in the industry forever,” says Geoff Eaton, KTR owner. “The organizers do an awesome job of making sure each kid feels really good about themselves. It’s a great experience and a great family-friendly event.”

As many as 100 skaters are anticipated to participate in the February contest – among them will be all three of Eaton’s sons. Jagger, 10, will participate in his second King of the Groms qualifying event this season, while Koston, 3, will make his skateboarding debut. Thirteen-year-old Jett will participate in King of the Ams, a new contest division open to 13- to16-year-old “expert” skaters.

The King of the Groms competition includes three divisions – beginner, intermediate and expert – in three separate events: street, mini-ramp and bowl. Finalists from the KTR qualifying event will advance to the national championship in June.

Participants can also compete for chances to win prizes, such as “Best Skate Face,” “Best Cheering Section,” and “Queen of the Groms.” Register online ($75 for one event, plus $10 for each additional event) at kingofthegroms.net.

Spectators are encouraged to cheer on participants throughout the weekend. The event will also include vendors, food and KTR’s weekly open skate sessions (regular fees apply). For complete hours and an event schedule, visit kidsthatrip.com.

KTR is located in the Desert Devils Gymnastics studio on the corner of Gilbert and McKellips Roads. Here are a couple more shots our photographer, Daniel Friedman, took during a recent visit.

Schmitt gives instruction to his intermediate class at Kids That Rip!

Jeff Jewitt catches Cam Sedlick, 11, of Mesa, who is in the advanced class and is trying to perfect a trick called a Blunt.


Two deals for affordable, summer-long fun

Summer is approaching quickly, and with no more pencils and no more books to occupy your kids as the school year comes to a close, it’s important to have a list of affordable activities up your sleeve. Here are two deals that will keep some money in your pocket and the kids’ idle hands from becoming the devil’s workshop.

Golfing at Encanto Park. Photo by Daniel Friedman.


The “Kids Play Free” program allows golfers 17 years and younger (when accompanied by a paying adult) to play on three City of Phoenix nine-hole courses without charge.

Aguila Par 3 • 8440 S. 35th Ave • 602-237-9601

This par three course located on 35th Avenue, just south of Baseline Road, features the Eagle’s Nest Café, which serves breakfast and lunch from sunrise to sunset.

Encanto Short 9 • 2300 N. 17th Ave • 602- 262-6870

This executive course, located just north of Encanto Boulevard on 17th Avenue,
has views of downtown Phoenix and nearby Piestewa Peak. It is well suited for beginning and intermediate players.

Palo Verde 9 • 6215 N. 15th Ave • 602-249-9930

A challenging executive course located on 15th Avenue, just north of Bethany Home Road. It includes three par fours and a lake.

Have more than one aspiring PGA star? Additional kids can play along for $5 apiece. The offer lasts all summer, from June 1 through Aug. 31. All three courses are open seven days a week, including holidays. Book your tee time at phoenix.gov/golf or by calling 1-866-865-GOLF (4653). Just remember to bring plenty of sunscreen and water; it is, after all, summer in the Valley.


If golf in the heat is not quite your forte, beat the heat and head inside for some bowling. The national summer program KidsBowlFree has several participating bowling alleys in Arizona. Although shoe rental rates still apply, by signing up online at kidsbowlfree.com, children 15 years and under can bowl for free until Aug. 31st.

Participating alleys include:

Amazing Jake’s: 1830 E Baseline Rd, 480-926-7499

Let It Roll Bowl, 602-944-4401

Cactus Bowl, 1630 South Alvernon Way, 520-327-6561
Fiesta Lanes, 501 W River Rd, 520-887-2695
Lucky Strike, 4015 E Speedway, 520327-4926
Santa Cruz Lanes, 3665 S 16th Ave, 520-622-2186
Tucson Bowl, 7020 E 21st St, 520-747-1363

Check kidsbowlfree.com for each alley’s hours of operation. What’s more, the program is partners with the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award Challenge (PALA), a campaign by the White House to encourage exercise and active play across America. Bowling is credited as a physical activity that can go towards earning the PALA award. Head to presidentschallenge.org for more information on this program dedicated to promoting active lifestyles. — Robert T. Balint