SIOUX CITY | Picking up a steady speed off of a wooden corner pipe, Jack Emory, 13, glided across a ramp on his skateboard.

The thing that made this notable is the fact that the North Middle School student does all of his skating indoors and away from the elements of winter.

"In Iowa, you can only skate maybe eight or nine months out of the year," Jack, a native Californian, explained. "It was my idea to create an indoor skateboarding park where you can skate even in wintertime."

Actually, Jack had help fleshing out the idea for the Slash & Grind Skate Park by his dad, Ron Emory.

A member of the influential 1970s Southern California punk band T.S.O.L., Emory founded The Sioux City Conservatory of Music, 1309 Pierce St., with his wife Gia, nearly five years ago.

Last year, the couple bought the building located at 1307 Pierce St., turning it into an art gallery, an entertainment space and, yes, a skate park.

Slash & Grind Skate Park offers open skate jam hours from 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Skaters, under the age of 18, must wear helmets and have signed waivers from their parents or guardians.

"Jack's the one in charge of the skate park," Emory said. "He just lets me skate there on occasion."

Emory isn't kidding. He said his son started skateboarding before the age of 2.

"Jack has always been a good skater and so have I," Emory explained. "Long before I was a musician, I was a surfer and a skateboarder."

Indeed, Emory said skateboarding was still considered an outlaw sport when he started in the 1970s and 1980s.

"Nowadays, with professional tournaments like the X Games and Street League Skateboarding, the sport is pretty mainstream in California," he said. "In Iowa, skateboarding can still have an edge."

That's the sort of edge Jack liked best.

Right now, Slash & Grind has a real-life DJ station that can blast all types of music.

"A lot of skaters like hip-hop," Jack said. "Me? I'm into more alternative rock." 

Ultimately, he'd like to combine skating with live music.

"I think it would be cool to having kids skating a ramp while a band plays at the top," he said. "That would be awesome."

This concept allows me with the approval of his dad, who continued to be a devotee of both rock and skating.

"I'm turning 55 this year and I can still rock," Emory said. "You know what? I can still skate, too. It may take you longer to get up after a fall, but you can still skateboard in your 50s."


Food and Lifestyles reporter

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