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From a pastime to team competition

Epic helps youngsters get more from their skateboards
By: Andrew Hazard Gold Country Media Correspondent
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For any kids, teenagers or young people looking to learn how to skateboard or make a career of the sport, Epic Indoor Skatepark in Rocklin now has a skateboarding camp and even has its own skateboard team. Keith Halterman, Assistant Manager at Epic, is also the coach of Epic’s skateboard team. Halterman said it is great seeing the kids’ progress at the camp and on the team. “Watching them learn a new trick and see the excitement in their faces when they feel like they have accomplished something,” he said. Epic holds the camps during the summer months, winter and spring breaks. The camps run five days a week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Skaters are taught safety and proper safety gear. Beginner, intermediate and advanced are three levels that are taught at the camps. The Rancho Cordova resident said beginners learn how to do ollies and turn on ramps, the intermediate guys get more into the foot tricks and the grinds and the advanced guys combine all of those to do foot tricks, grinds, to on rails, on ramps, down stairs. Halterman said he hopes the kids at the camps will have the basic knowledge of how to succeed in skateboarding. “I strive to get the kids to open their minds to what’s possible on a skateboard because I know within five days I’m not going to be able to teach them every single trick,” he said. “What I can do is give them a good variety of tips to help them learn tricks on their own.” He went on to say the whole point of the camp is to help the kids begin to achieve their dreams. “I help them learn basic tricks and then from there out I teach them to look at the world from a skateboarders’ eye,” Halterman said. Each kid that attends the camps receives their own skateboards. “They get to design the graphics themselves,” Halterman said. “We spend a couple of hours on one of the days just decorating with utensils and graphics. Every camp I’ve done we’ve taken a team photo with the decks they designed.” The skateboards are covered in the cost of the camps. Epic buys the skateboards in bulk to get a better deal. Halterman, 27, has been skateboarding for 17 years. He is the coach of the skateboard team sponsored by Epic. He said his team is doing really well. All of the kids on the team are at an advanced level so there is not much training Halterman has to do with them. “With the Epic team I focus more on contest and field training where I teach them how to put together a contest run, I teach them what it takes to film because we also do videos with the team that we put on YouTube and Facebook,” Halterman said. “I teach them how to do the types of tricks judges look for in contests.” Halterman said he hopes his team learns the importance of sportsmanship, overall attitude and how to be a leader in the skateboard community. “All of the other kids who are at Epic are going to look up to the kids who are on the Epic team so therefore they need to be leaders in front of their peers,” he said. All team members must sign a contract to keep their school grades at a certain level, with no behavior problems and must represent Epic in a positive manner. The team will be competing in a league Best Amateur Skateboarding Series on July 30 at Epic, Aug. 20 at Yuba City, Sept. 17 at Grass Valley and Oct. 22 at Epic. On Aug. 6 Epic will be having its 2nd Annual Summer Jam. Epic has teamed up with NewEra Youth Community from the One Life Church in Lincoln to hold Youth Night at Epic. All high school age students are given half price to skate that night. Halterman said his team is really excited to host the July 30 event. Halterman’s team finished a four-part contest series at the Central Valley AMJAM last Saturday. “My guys did pretty well in the overall standings,” he said. “The Central Valley knew who Epic is.” The skateboard team is meant to be a springboard to bigger and better things for the kids. “It’s a starting point for them to get noticed by other big name companies,” Halterman said. “My goal is to get every single one of my kids off running to their goal of being professional skaters.” E-mail Placer Herald Sports at jiml@goldcountrymedia.com