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Pros turn out for skate park fundraiser


October 16, 2013
If there were any doubts about the need for a skate park in Valley Center, the well-attended fundraiser last Saturday proved there is a real thirst among the local skateboarding community. More than 300 people showed up for the all-day event to skate, win raffle prizes, and meet pro skaters Jake Brown and Neal Mims.

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Pro skaters Neal Mims and Jake Brown signs John Zankich's board at the skate park fundraiser on Oct. 12. Photo by Michael Crane / Valley Roadrunner
"It's epic," said Brown, X Games medalist, who signed autographs and donated skateboards at the fundraiser. "I'm always a fan of the kids having somewhere to do something that's positive like skateboarding, and if that's what this community is lacking, and Mark (Hertenstein) is willing to stand up for it and try and make it happen of his own accord, it's a massive thing. All the help he can get within the community would be appreciated."

Mark Hertenstein, the main force behind the skate park effort, organized the all-day event next to the little league fields to raise money for a future skate park. There is currently a wooden ramp set up in the parking lot, but he hopes to raise enough money soon to build a more permanent facility.

The Valley Center Parks and Recreation District Board recently granted Hertenstein approved usage of the property under the condition that the skaters join an association or create a nonprofit by the end of the year to cover liability.

Plenty of skaters took advantage of the ramp at the fundraiser, and there were also booths selling everything from board decks to headphones to tattoos. The Eagle's Nest was on hand making pulled pork sliders, and there were hourly raffle giveaways of skateboard decks, t-shirts, hats, and paintings. There was also a silent auction for other prizes, including decks, headphones, a dirtboard, and a bike.

In total, the event raised more than $3,200 for the future skate park, with more money to come in from another silent auction at Fat Ivor's in the coming weeks. Hertenstein estimates he will need between $60,000 and $80,000 to build the skate park.

"We have a long way to go, but hey, this is a start," said Hertenstein.

The fundraiser also featured live music from bands Young Wants, Sara Promise, Bad Motor Posse, and Not For Hire. At night there was a screening of the documentaries Signal Hill and Mouse Grip. The pros stuck around most of the day to meet their fans, sign autographs, and hit the ramp.

"I've been blessed and given so much, and now it's full circle," said Neal Mims, pro skater and founder of the Neal Mims Skate Academy in Encinitas. "It's time for us to give back as well, because we wouldn't have the life we have in skateboarding without that." Mims and Brown are both strongly committed to Hertenstein's vision for the skate park.

"I feel like he's got a good attitude about it and he's going to make it happen," said Brown. "If need be, we'll do more of these until the park gets built."

Hertenstein is grateful for the support from Fat Ivor's, the Eagle's Nest, Armstrong Feed, Marley's Mellow Mood, Doug Johnsen of VC Parks and Rec, the pro skaters, and all the other businesses and individuals that made the event a success. He is considering holding another fundraiser in the spring.

If you are want to learn more about the project, or are interested in donating to the skate park, please email hertenstein.mark@yahoo.com.

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