Greg Sabatino photo Williams Lake’s Dylan Weseen (from left), Travis Anthony (Young Catalyst), Brady Geensen and Jordan Rushton are helping organize this year’s Canada Day Skate and BMX Jam for the country’s 150th birthday.

Canada Day Skate and BMX Jam planned for country’s 150th birthday

A local hip hop artist, skateboarder and volunteer is prepping to host the biggest Skateboard Jam Williams Lake has ever seen for Canada’s 150th birthday.

Travis Anthony, who goes by the stage name of Young Catalyst, is helping organize the 2017 Canada Day Skate and BMX Jam on July 1 at the Nathan Mathews Memorial Skate Park.

“We’re doing it as big as it’s ever been done because it’s Canada’s 150th birthday,” Anthony said. “It’s overwhelming how many businesses and sponsors have contributed. We didn’t even need to look outside our own city.”

It’s no secret Boitanio Park has been a hub for crime. After last year’s violent robbing of a BMX bike in the park Anthony decided to host a peace rally and wants to erase that stigma through the sport of skateboarding and help create a safe haven for youth in the community to enjoy the sport.

“We’re trying to build a positive outlet for kids there,” he said. “We just wanted to do it up big to show we’re on board for change in our city.”

The jam, which will run July 1 from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., is open to everyone. No entry fee will be charged.

The format will be what Anthony called a “spot battle” where competitors will attempt to perform their best trick on several features in the park.

“It’s less pressure,” he said. “It’s a jam oriented one so instead of solo runs like some past events I’ll say something like: ‘You guys have five minutes to warm up and then we go.’ That way everybody gets more amped up to rock it. It’s more competitive but also more fun instead of everyone being a solo run on the spot. It’s just more interactive, in my opinion.”

Jordan Rushton of Williams Lake will be DJing the event, while Anthony and Dylan Weseen will be co-emceeing the event. Anthony, Young Catalyst, will also be performing following the jam.

Prizes will be awarded to all competitors, regardless of placing. Brittany Andow of Quesnel will also be the special guest hip hop artist.

“All the participants get something this year,” he said. “We have so much stuff to give away — it’s unbelievable.”

He said competitors are coming from Kamloops, Quesnel, Prince George and throughout the Central Interior of B.C. for the event.

“That’s the thing about Williams Lake,” he said. “It’s a city that’s very versatile and breeds different individuals and I think that resonates a lot with skateboarding because everybody has their own style.”

Everyone is welcome to come and spectate at the event, he said.