My Catawba County

Stoked to Sk8

Stoked to Sk8

Local skatepark action gets kicked up a notch when Hickory Skate Jam returns to Stanford Skate Park July 15. This high-energy event invites skateboarders of all ages to show off their best tricks in a day-long, competition-style format. To learn more about Skate Jam, we talked with Hickory Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism’s Recreation and Special Events Coordinator Kyle Mishler.

What is the Hickory Skate Jam Competition?
It is a skateboarding competition we are hosting in partnership with First in Flight Skate Shop, in which skaters have the opportunity to compete against other skaters head to head, in two different skill challenges.

Where and when will it take place this year?
The Skate Jam will take place on Saturday, July 15, starting at 10 a.m. at Stanford Skate Park. The event will begin with the game of SKATE at 10 a.m. After that portion and a brief intermission has concluded, the best run competition will begin. In the event of bad weather, the event will be postponed to July 29. Stanford Skate Park is located at 1451 8th Street Drive NE, Hickory, NC 28601.

What are the components of the competition?
The game of SKATE is comparable to the well-known basketball game, “HORSE”. Skaters will have one chance to perform a trick, while the next person in line has to match that same trick. If they cannot successfully match that trick, they get a letter. Once a skater has all the letters in the word “SKATE”, they are out. The last one that is able to complete all the tricks is the winner.

The Best Run portion of the competition will allow skaters a timed session to show off their talents using any and all features in the skate park. Skaters can use ramps, rails, and boxes to string together a full run of tricks while being judged on creativity, difficulty, and execution. We are fortunate to have several members of the skateboarding community to help us judge this year.

Who is eligible to participate in the competition, and how can they register?
Skaters young and old are invited to compete in the event. We have different categories based on age and skill level, including juniors ages 6 and under, beginner, intermediate, and advanced open, as well as ages 40 and above. Anyone interested can register online at or sign up in person the day of the event.

How can people attend the event?
Just show up! The event will run until approximately 4 p.m. and spectators are welcome to come any time.

What can spectators expect to see, do and hear at the event?
Spectators are welcome and encouraged! There will be some seating available, but feel free to bring a chair and hang out, while watching some very talented skaters from our area. There will also be music, vendors, and food available for purchase.

Why did Hickory Parks, Recreation and Sports Tourism decide to host a skateboarding competition, and how has it evolved since its first year?
There were several factors that went in to deciding to host this event that both came about around the same time. The Stanford Skate Park underwent some renovations in 2020 and once it re-opened, we noticed the park was getting a lot of use. On top of that, while we were starting to come out of COVID and get back to somewhat normal programming, we were thinking of events that people could gather, but still be outside and spread apart. We put two and two together and realized a skateboard event could be something that fit this need.

The event grew tremendously in its second year with close to 50 skaters competing, with several of them coming from cities outside of Catawba County including Southern Pines, Asheville, and Winston-Salem.

What are some of the more memorable moments from past Hickory Skate Jam Competitions?
There are a couple that come to mind. The first one is seeing some of the skaters from the younger age categories. This past year there was a big turnout for kids ages 10 and under and while some of them were very good for their age, there were also some that were still new to the sport or just getting the hang of it. Seeing the crowds cheer them on as they did their tricks was pretty cool.

Also, one of the most impressive tricks I have seen on a skateboard happened last year. One of the skaters started down from the highest ramp heading towards the other end of the park. Once he got to the other side, he went up another ramp completely jumping over the rails before landing back on the ground. At the peak of the jump, his board was about 15 feet in the air. It was incredible.

Is there anything you’d like to add about the Hickory Skate Jam Competition?
New and experienced skaters are welcome to participate. We look forward to having the skateboarding community not just from here in Hickory, but throughout North Carolina join us to compete, and more importantly, have fun at the event.