Hundreds of people converged on Beasley Park Sunday afternoon for the 20th annual Hamilton SK8 comp, hosted by the Hamilton Skateboard Assembly.
And even with a frantic mess of skaters roaming the park in every direction, each one stopped by CBC Hamilton said the same thing: Beasley park is integral to skateboarding culture in Hamilton.
"Beasley is ground zero. It's the heart of skateboarding in Hamilton," said Simon Orpana, a member of the Hamilton Skateboard Assembly (HSA).
"You can have three generations skating at the park," he said, gesturing to the kids and adults out on their boards. "There's a culture of sharing in between the generations — you don't get that everywhere."
Orpana said Beasley is unique like that. Because it's such an old skate park, people really grew up here.
Derek "Old School" Lapierre agrees. "Some of the skaters have sons here," he said.
"This was one of the first public skateboard parks built in southern Ontario," he said. "So there's guys in their forties, kids in their twenties, and then the young grommets there in the under 12 category."
Lapierre is the chairman of the board of directors for the HSA, a charter member of the Beasley Nighbourhood Associaton. How did he get the top job? "The easy way," he said while cracking a smile, "I started it."
He couldn't help but beam when soaking up the groups of people zooming past him, flying out of jumps and grinding on rails.
"This is why we do it," he said. "To bring people together. Not just for any prizes — we could have all the prizes in the world, but if no one showed up, it would be pretty lame."
A striking thing about Beasley Park on this Sunday afternoon was the diversity of the people milling about.
Between the skate and breakdancing competitions happening in the Beasley community centre not 30 yards away, an incredibly wide range of people were around the park.
"That's why we're here — we want to be involved in our community on a grassroots level," says Peter Hanson, the Vice President of the HSA. "That's what this competition is about — a celebration of skateboard culture."
Because Saturday's competition day was rained out, the final day of the Beasley SK8 comp will take place on Saturday, August 18.