Miles O'Neill skateboarding at Sisters Skatepark

Skateboarder Miles O'Neill grinds the coping of Sisters Skatepark's flow bowl as his peers look on Saturday. 

Last weekend, the high school skateboarders that make up the Sisters High School’s new skateboarding class hosted a barbecue and skate event at Sisters Skatepark, a fundraiser for the next chapter of the park’s life.

Saturday’s event kicked off at noon and ran late into the afternoon. Fueled by hot dogs and burgers grilled beside the largest of the park’s three bowls, the skaters participated in several competitions, including the most consecutive carves over the swimming pool’s shallow-end stairs and the highest fly-out from the park’s shallowest bowl.

Sisters Skatepark Oct. 2 bbq

Spectators line the backyard-style pool at Saturday's barbecue and competition event in Sisters, a fundraiser for a 2022 park expansion. 

The skatepark is located next door to Sisters High School, which this year began offering skateboarding as a class under the tutelage of Sisters High math instructor Daniel O’Neill. A longtime skateboarder, O’Neill designed the 7,000-square-foot existing park, a DIY park spearheaded by students and built by area volunteers and Liquid Stone Designs in 2012 and 2013.

With another 3,000 square feet available in which to grow the park, the class of one dozen students is now working on procuring money and drafting the first new feature, a mini halfpipe.

The first quarter this fall is devoted to fundraising, media communications, interfacing with area agencies and skatepark design, with each student taking on a different role in aspects of the project. O’Neill likens it to running more like a business or organization and less like a traditional class.

The 90-minute class is held daily, but don’t worry: The kids do get to skate one period a week at the park.

“Every Wednesday or Thursday, we have an hour -and -a -half-long skate session,” said class member Bodie Schar, who was on hand at Saturday’s event. “We just basically come over and have fun.”

The spring quarter will be devoted to the other end of the project, O’Neill said. “We’re going to be focused on construction, so excavations, pouring footings, building concrete walls, building all the concrete forming, pouring the concrete, setting the pool coping.”

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Sawyer Kiefer, 15, a class member who was at Saturday’s event, is stoked on the class. He’s been skating about a year, after some friends got him to try it.

“I fell in love with it,” he said.

Sisters Skatepark fundraiser

Skateboarders line the pool coping of Sisters Skatepark’s largest bowl during Saturday’s event. In this contest, skaters had to ride above numbers taped in the bowl to see who had the fastest line.

His preferred terrain is transition skating, the kind done in bowls and on ramps such as the 60-foot-wide concrete mini-ramp the class will build next year.

It will have Boisineau Block pool coping, a durable brand made in Central Oregon and already installed on the park’s large, competition-sized bowl.

For the initial Sisters Skatepark built nearly a decade ago, Robinson & Owen Heavy Construction donated all of the evacuation work to clear the area. It is also back on board, so to speak, for the upcoming project.

“We just talked to them, and they’re going to help us again this time,” O’Neill said. “We wouldn’t have been able to build the park we built without them.”

Still, the project is expected to cost $50,000, of which close to $30,000 has been raised through donations and support from organizations such as the Roundhouse Foundation ($10,000) and the Tykeson Family Foundation ($15,000), according to O’Neill. Saturday’s event raised $800, with an additional $450 donated to the GoFundMe page over the remainder of the weekend. A GoFundMe account has been set up to secure the remaining funds needed to build the next spring.

“And then we’ll do this again next year,” O’Neill said. “The four-year dream is to have the inside of the park completely filled with concrete … and for the kids to be proficient concrete workers.”

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