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Jul 28, 2012 8:07 PM by Siera Santos, ssantos@koaa.com

Grand opening of Memorial Skatepark vert ramps

Fifeteen-year-old Jono Schwan worked his tail off to see his hometown skatepark get two new vert ramps.

"It's always been a dream to have a professional quality vert ramp at my home park," said Schwan.

His non-profit foundation, Sk8-Strong Foundation, donated the ramps, valued at more than $200,000.

Saturday afternoon, the up-and-coming skater was tired but all smiles.

"To have here and to have fun people to skate it with and the locals enjoying it and a bunch of people even traveling here to skate it... it's a dream come true."

When international skateboarding icon Neal Hendrix, 39, met Jono, he promised him that he would fly to Colorado Springs from California to attend the grand opening if the ramps were ever built. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Hendrix was there to fulfill his promise.

"I honestly didn't think it was possible," Hendrix said.

"It puts Colorado Springs on the map in the skateboard world. I posted a couple photos from here yesterday. I tweeted them and put them on Facebook. I just got hundreds of messages from all over the world. From Europe to Australia, people couldn't believe there's a full-size vert ramp for free in a city park."

With the new additions, Memorial Skatepark now has all four skateboard disciplines, making it the only public park in the nation with such a facility. Vert is an integral part of competitive skateboarding.

"I'm sure we'll be coming back for years to come," Hendrix said.

Sk8-Strong and the Skateboarding World Cup will host the first ever Rocky Mountain Rampage, a competition with a prize purse of $15,000, in August.

 

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