Pro skaters coming to Powell

Sandra ClarkOur Town Outdoors

Skate board enthusiasts will have something to celebrate this year as the Enhance Powell committee brings professional skaters to the Powell Station Celebration on Saturday, Aug. 14.

Michael Laverdure, who is chairing this year’s event, said Jud Heald and the Untitled Skateboards will perform and judge a local “skate the park” competition.

“They are bringing their equipment and putting on a pretty good show,” said Laverdure.

Current plans call for Heald and his team to set up their ramps alongside the existing ramps at Powell Station Park. “We’ll set up before things start and then after opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. we’ll have open skate until 11:30 a.m.,” Laverdure said.

From 11:30 until noon the professional skaters will warm up, with the show starting at noon.

After the show, local skaters will compete for prizes/trophies from 1 to 2:30. Judges will be Heald’s team.

This event is sponsored by KnuckleBusters AAMCO, PALS and Pluto Sports.

Laverdure set up a connection with Heald when a customer from American Ramp Company brought his truck to the AAMCO service center. “We got to talking.”

Jud Heald started skating when in kindergarten and by age 10 was pretty good, according to his website. Some years he did not miss a day of practice. During his late teens, he drifted into smoking pot, but he still kept practicing.

He was ready to go pro when the unexpected happened. While snowboarding, he broke his neck. He says, “It wasn’t a good lip. It just kind of threw you weird, and as I spun off, I dropped my shoulder weird and the next thing I knew, I was upside down. I cleared the whole landing. I landed in the flat of the halfpipe. I don’t know if you’ve ever been on a groomed mountain, but it ain’t soft. And I laid there for a bit and I moved my legs. Ok, I didn’t break my neck or anything. I’m good. On TV, you know, if you break your neck, you’re dead. Right?”

But Jud had broken his neck. He fell 16 feet, and landed on his head. Doctors fused two vertebrae together, and stabilized his neck with a metal halo.

“So, they bolted that thing in my head and tightened it every couple of weeks. It was pretty gnarly.”

Jud had just one question and it had no answer: “Will I skate again?”

He says his prayers were answered. Soon he was skating and he turned pro in 1998. A few years later, he formed a Christian skateboard team called “Untitled.”

And yes, expect a Christian message along with Jud’s skateboard demonstrations. He says he’s all about sharing the good news.

Heald currently resides in Joplin, Missouri. He is expected to bring some younger team members to the Powell performance. Laverdure hopes to draw skaters from the area to the all-day event, which also features the Travis Wegener Memorial Car Show, sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Mustang Club; the Beaver Creek Flotilla, sponsored by the Beaver Creek Kayak Club; and other events at Powell High School, Powell Station Park and the Brickyard Road put-in at Beaver Creek.

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