Skateboards and chili

Published 10:01 pm Saturday, April 2, 2011

Rick Stapleton holds a tray of chili cups as his mother, Emm Stapleton, fills them.

It was a busy day full of skateboards and chili at Bennett’s Creek Park on Saturday.

The morning kicked off with a grand opening ceremony for the new Bennett’s Creek skate spot. The concrete park, which includes a bowl at one end and several obstacles, was officially opened with speeches and a ribbon-cutting by city officials.

Dozens of children, and even a few adults, hit the concrete after the ceremony to try out the new park. The 17th Street Skate Team did a handful of demonstrations throughout the day, as well.

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The Chili Fest, an event to benefit the SERTOMA Club, got going at noon. Despite a slight chill in the air, plenty of wind and the threat of rain, the event went beautifully, said Millard Zydron, a member of the SERTOMA Club.

A skateboarder heads down a ramp at the grand opening of the Bennett’s Creek skate spot Saturday morning. A skate spot also opened recently at Lake Meade Park.

“It’s going outstanding,” he said. “We were kind of afraid the rain would draw everybody off. All the teams seem to be having a good time preparing food.”
Nine teams came out to prepare entries for people’s choice chili. The four teams that came out on top in the ballot box had a cash prize waiting for them.

“I think this is fun,” said Brenda Gillihan, the owner of Bon Vivant Market and captain of a team. “We helped them last year. It was such a wonderful family event.”

Gillihan and her team dressed like hippies and placed plenty of stones around their booth to give their “stoned chili” a theme.

“It’s just something for us to get out,” said Justin Sorensen of Wise Investments. He and his coworkers used “love and passion,” as well as more than a dozen spices, to make their chili taste great.

Some teams were there to raise money for the SERTOMA Club, as well as simply to promote their own clubs and businesses.

“We’re trying to raise funds,” said Tyson Bradley of Keller Williams Realty and his charity, On Solid Ground. “That’s why we’re here.”

The SERTOMA Club raises money for children with hearing and speech impairments to be able to have additional services in school. Last year’s event helped raise a donation of more than $9,000 to Suffolk Public Schools to help pay for the services.