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Skateboarders hosting 'Post Lockdown Throwdown' at Le Mars' Ice Cream Days
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Skateboarders hosting 'Post Lockdown Throwdown' at Le Mars' Ice Cream Days

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David Hall keeps a screenshot of a 1965 Life magazine cover on his cellphone.

Billboarding such timely articles as a color essay on a war in the Dominican Republic as well as a story on a Russian cosmonaut's space exploration, it also features a girl doing a handstand on a skateboard.

To the left of the girl -- actually athlete Patti McGee -- is the somewhat ominous-sounding headline: "Skateboards -- The Craze, the Menace."

"Back then, skateboarding was menacing and, for a long time, it was counter-culture," Hall, a husband, father of three and dedicated skateboarder for more than 35 years, explained. "Very soon, it will also be an Olympic sport."

He's right. The sport -- made famous by Tony Hawk as well as any number of X Games and Street League athletes -- will be making its Summer Olympics debut in Tokyo, Japan, in July.

Before that, skateboarding will be prominently featured during a special "Post Lockdown Throwdown" from 1 to 4 p.m. June 19 at O'Toole Park, 500 Central Ave. NW, Le Mars, Iowa.

The event is just one of several activities occurring in the Plymouth County town during Le Mars' Ice Cream Days, which runs Wednesday through June 19.

"The Throwdown isn't strictly a competition though some prizes will be awarded," Mike Wells, one of the event's organizers, said. "We'll also have professional skateboarders from the Bacon Skateboard team and professional BMXers from the Nowear BMX team doing live demonstrations."

There will also be food trucks, a beer garden and a DJ providing music, said David Westergard, executive director of the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce.

"The 'Post Lockdown Throwdown' is one of the signature events for Ice Cream Days, which will be huge this year," Westergard continued. "After a pandemic year, I think we're all looking forward to getting back to normal."

Like many other events, last summer's Ice Cream Days festival was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. 

This year's Ice Cream Days slate of activities will include everything from a 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, an outdoor concert as well as the Ice Cream Days Parade. An entire rundown of events may be found at icecreamdays.com.

When in Le Mars, Hall was recommending people to check out Le Mars' nearly 7,000-square-foot skate park.

Indeed, Hall, president of the Sioux City Skateboard Association, was one of the people instrumental in the design of the park that debuted in 2019.

"The Le Mars skate park is one of the best skate parks in Iowa," he said. 

Perhaps, the most distinctive aspect of the Le Mars skate park is the spoon-shaped halfpipe ramp made out of concrete that is called, you guessed it, "The Spoon."

"It's only fitting that a halfpipe in the 'Ice Cream Capital of the World' to be shaped like a spoon," Hall said. "As soon as people see it, they say, yeah, that's a spoon."

Hopefully, when people see they spoon, they'll also be encouraged to conquer it.

"Skateboarders come in ages and genders," Wells said. "Even if you don't want to get on a board, the sport is so much fun to watch.

Wells, himself a veteran skateboarder, is relegated to the sidelines for a while.

"I had an injury last year and haven't skateboarded since," he said.

Luckily, Wells' 12-year-old son Owen Cleary is ready to pick up the slack.

"I'm pretty good but Owen is getting better and better all the time," Wells admitted.

Hall's 8-year-old son Mason and 14-year-old daughter Ellie aren't too shabby on skateboards, either.

"They've really taken to the sport," Hall said. "I'm really proud of them."

Wait, skateboarding is sort of dangerous, isn't it?

"To be honest, I've had more injuries playing softball than riding a skateboard," Hall said.

Whether you're a budding Tony Hawk or a Dogtown and Z-Boy sideliner, Hall is certain you'll have a good time at the "Post Lockdown Throwdown."

"Skateboarding isn't counter-culture anymore," he said. "The sport is now in the mainstream."

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