Illtrix travel to rollerblading competition

By Patrick Traylor


photo DI multimedia


Trix of the Trade

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Last weekend a few students from the University traveled to Columbus, Ohio – not to attend the Big Ten Swimming and Diving championships – but for a different kind of competition. The Flow Skatepark hosted the 8th annual Bitter Cold Showdown, a freestyle in-line skating competition. Hundreds of skaters from around the nation packed into a warehouse to skate a maze of plywood ramps and watch their cult heroes defy gravity.

“This is the biggest park competition in the United States,” said Luke Belding, senior in ACES.

Belding is a member of Illtrix, a Registered Student Organization dedicated to freestyle in-line skating that has about 12 active members. Illtrix has often been at odds with campus police about skating on campus, but for the first time, the club received SORF funding to sponsor the Columbus trip and got a chance to skate without worrying about legal issues. Belding along with friends and fellow club members, Calvin Clark, junior in Business, and Kyle Guzman, junior in LAS, represented their club at the contest.

“The trip was a blast,” said Clark, president of Illtrix. “Going to this event got me like 100 times more juiced about skating.”

On Friday night Belding, Clark and Guzman participated in an open skate and then sought spots in Saturday’s competition during the qualifying rounds. Although none made it into a Saturday spot, they were content just being able to skate.

“I definitely didn’t skate as well in qualifications as I did before and after, but I wasn’t expecting anything more. I just competed for the experience and it was awesome,” Guzman said.

“It wasn’t too big of a deal not making it to Saturday,” Belding said. “The goal of the weekend was to skate hard, meet people, and getting your name out there always helps.”

Saturday’s event began at 1 p.m. with a trade show featuring booths from leading companies selling everything from stretch denim jeans to special skates and accessories.

“Basically this event is the best thing going on in the rollerblading community because it not only has the best pros in the world doing some of the most insane tricks ever done, but also incorporates all the companies that support rollerblading and are trying to make it grow,” said Guzman.

The official competition began at 4 p.m. with preliminary heats and semifinal and final rounds carried the event into the late evening. Fans were awed by tricks from big names in the freestyle in-line skating community including Alex Broskow, Chris Haffey, Jeff Stockwell and David Sizemore.

“I feel like the trip was exactly what I wanted it to be,” Belding said. “It allowed all of us to compete in one of the most intense atmospheres in rollerblading.”

Illtrix is an open club and anyone is able to join regardless of experience level. As the weather improves and spring arrives, the Illtrix community will take to the streets and skate parks in full force once again.

“Skating gives you an excuse to travel and meet all sorts of different people,” Clark said. “It’s totally worth a try.”