Volunteer army aids successful Skate Jam day

17:37, Nov 19 2012
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Daniel Culhane at Skate Jam in Bluff on Saturday.
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Rani Tipa at Skate Jam in Bluff on Saturday.
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Jesse Dick at Skate Jam in Bluff on Saturday.
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Cam Taylor at Skate Jam in Bluff on Saturday.
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Running races for ice creams at Skate Jam in Bluff on Saturday.

Skateboards, BMX bikes and scooters mixed with easels and paintbrushes on Saturday at the Bluff Skate Jam.

Skate Jam curator Raoul Butler said he was delighted with the event and, while he had worked on it every day for five months, it was the effort of the 500 volunteers, along with the support of the community which had helped make it a success.

"The idea was to recreate the feeling of being at a circus when I was a child and to bring the element of traditional street culture, where everyone was doing something," he said.

Artists pitched their easels and portrayed young people doing jumps and hula hoops throughout the day, he said.

Although more than 100 competitors took part, the event was about quality rather than quantity, he said.

He was impressed by a boy doing a back flip on the half pipe and another doing a 360 degree flip on a BMX bike without a chain.

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"The crowd was just stunned and wooed by that.

"Everyone tried their best and the buzz was fantastic. Everyone enjoyed themselves," he said.

About 60 children who didn't enter competitions watched on and took part in everything else, he said.

He praised the volunteer DJs for pulling the crowd together to great a fun, festival atmosphere.

The event was also blessed with good weather, which helped a lot, he said.

Mr Butler organised a small skateboard jam two years ago but was persuaded to expand it this year to include scooters and BMX bikes.

He will leave Bluff in a few months to travel the world but he hopes someone will take over organising the event after he leaves.

"I do not want to see this event formalised because that is what is great about it," he said.

He said about 500 silent volunteers contributed to the overall event from building ramps to selling scones, which set the scene for a successful event.

He did not want any credit because the "real talent" was displayed by the young people, he said.

collette.devlin@stl.co.nz

The Southland Times