Skaters will ride for relief | VailDaily.com

Skaters will ride for relief

Nicole Frey

Shane Macomber/Vail DailyLocal 16-year-old Rachel Feldman is organizing a skateboard competition to help raise funds for victims of Hurricane Katrina. The competition, featuring bowls and street skating, will be Saturday, Sept. 17, at Malay Park in Edwards and all proceeds will go to Katrina evacuees in the area.

EDWARDS – The 16-year-old girl had seen it all over the news – the high waters, the homeless people, the devastation. As she watched a portion of the Hurricane Katrina refugees flood into Colorado, she wondered, “What can I do?”Then, hanging out at the new skateboarding park in Edwards last week, inspiration stuck Rachel Feldman and Skate Katrina was born. Feldman sprung into action creating a fundraiser that would meld youth-driven skateboarding with disaster relief efforts for Katrina victims.Seeking aid and sponsorship from the Eagle County government and local businesses, Feldman will host a skate competition to raise money and goods for those displaced by the hurricane that leveled New Orleans and many other Gulf Coast cities. “I sat down, and it just came to me,” she said. “We’re getting all these evacuees, and I can actually do something that can make a difference.”

For $20, skaters of all ages are invited to “compete to care” for prizes and glory in men’s and women’s divisions in three age categories, including 15 and under, 15 to 25 and 25 and above, Feldman said. Not a skater? Everyone is still encouraged to come and donate any nonperishable food, clothing or cash, which will be donated to local charities. “With disasters like the tsunami, you didn’t know where your money was going,” Feldman said. “This way, you know where it’s going. You know who it’s going to help.”In addition to the skating competition, the event will feature donated food and drink, and all proceeds will go directly to helping Katrina victims, Feldman said. Feldman isn’t even a skateboarder. So she looked to her sister, Ellen, an avid skater, for help connecting with local skaters. She found a friend in Jay Restrepo, part owner of The Board Room, who said he jumped on philanthropic bandwagon immediately. “I was so impressed with how she handled herself,” Restrepo said. “It was like she was a 30-year-old who’d been working PR for years. A lot of us just thought it was a great idea. It fit so well with what we could do. It makes sense, and everybody wins in the end.”

Restrepo’s employee, Levi Klein, recalled his years as a teenager, saying he would have never considered taking on such an endeavor.”Teenagers are usually caught up in themselves, and that’s usually OK, but that’s what really impressed us all about Rachel,” he said. “She’s been busy. It’s been a lot of leg work. It’s more than I’d ever do.”But Feldman’s mother, Mindy, who donated goods from her store Radio Shack for the effort, said she isn’t at all surprised by her daughter’s dealings.”I know she’s fully capable,” she said. “She’s full of energy, and it’s going to be great. It’s going to help out a lot of needy people.”

Staff Writer Nicole Frey can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or nfrey@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado