|Jonathan "Jono" Schwan|
|Jono Schwan Photo Nate-Mcdonald|
The kudos of the day goes to fifteen-year-old Jonathan "Jono" Schwan who worked his ass off to see his hometown skatepark get two new vert ramps; and the grand opening was today, with the appearance of Neal Hendrix, Lizzie Armanto and Paul-luc Ronchetti.
Jono Schwan is a vert, bowl and big air skater who has lived all over the world because his dad is in the Foreign Service. He has a non-profit organization, Sk8-Strong, which has helped get a vert ramp built in his new hometown, Colorado Springs and he just returned from the X Games in the pro ranks after competing in Vert Ams and earning bronze in 2010. He also took the title of Gatorade Free Flow Tour's in 2011.
"It's always been a dream to have a professional quality vert ramp at my home park," said Jono Schwan in an interview to .
Superstition or not, it’s always in a red tee shirt that Jono Schwan founded his own non-profit foundation, Sk8-Strong Foundation, who fueled the money to build the ramp; a ramp valuated at more than $200,000.
“To have here and to have fun people to skate it with and the locals enjoying it and a bunch of people even traveling here to skate it... it's a dream come true."
When international skateboarding icon Neal Hendrix, 39, met Jono, he promised him that he would fly to Colorado Springs from California to attend the grand opening if the ramps were ever built. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Hendrix was there to fulfill his promise.
"I honestly didn't think it was possible," Hendrix said.
"It puts Colorado Springs on the map in the skateboard world. I posted a couple photos from here yesterday. I tweeted them and put them on Facebook. I just got hundreds of messages from all over the world. From Europe to Australia, people couldn't believe there's a full-size vert ramp for free in a city park."
With the new additions, Memorial Skatepark now has all four skateboard disciplines, making it the only public park in the nation with such a facility. Vert is an integral part of competitive skateboarding.
|The Opening crew at Memorial Skatepark: Paul-Luc Roncheti Jono Schwan Lizzie Armanto Photo Bradley Fallentine III|
Sk8-Strong and the World Cup Skateboarding will host the first ever Rocky Mountain Rampage, a competition with a prize purse of $15,000, in August.
To see more pictures of the Memorial Park ramp opening, log on to http://www.natemcphotos.com/