A Visit with Phil Austin

Phil Austin. Monte Rio, Ca. Photo: Bales.
Phil Austin. Monte Rio, Ca. Photo: Bales. (Click to enlarge)

Words and photos by Bruce J. Bales

When I think about our rollerblading community in Iowa, I think about brotherhood. We’ve long discussed and known about the strength of our scene. As it is people are leaving and new people are arriving. The cycles of life are always at work. Thus, I no longer find myself becoming sad when someone moves away from our general geographic location. No matter how far away, the rollerbladers who spend time in Iowa remain a part of this website and our community.

Phil Austin, the proclaimed Iowa City blading ambassador, has made the move to Santa Rosa, California. Both myself and Spencer Smith got the chance to visit Phil in his new home earlier this month. What you’ll see here is a small collection of photographs I made with my phone.
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Recap: SSOC 2015

SSOC 2015. Des Moines.
SSOC 2015. Des Moines. (Click to enlarge)

Photographs by Tiffiany Wells
Edit by Aaron Schultz

Winner: Caleb Smith
Best Trick: Justin “Jefferson” Augustus

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Words by Bruce James Bales

I have to admit when Patrick Boberg of Iowa Public Television contacted me about filming an Iowa Public Television segment, I was skeptical. What would it accomplish? Who would even watch it? How would rollerblading be portrayed? Once I met Patrick I knew his intentions were good. Patrick wants IPTV to be more relevant, and he wants to cover issues important to people of all ages. Patrick understood the need to talk about the lack of a large skatepark in Des Moines.

Being a part of this segment motivated me. I hope it motivates you. Public skateparks should be just as important as soccer fields, basketball courts, and playgrounds. I can easily say that the Parks and Recreation Department where I grew up was a part of my growth. Without their facilities I don’t know where I would have spent my time growing up. We need to be able to give those who choose alternative paths the same opportunities. It is the duty of our local and state governments to provide everyone with equal access. So, why are skateparks not a part of every Parks and Recreation budget? I don’t think I can accurately answer that question, but I do know everyone should be thinking about skateparks differently.

After the holiday weekend lets all get more involved. Let’s find out what is happening here in Des Moines in relation to a new skatepark, let’s use all the great facilities we have available in our state, and let’s tell people everywhere about them. In closing I will leave you with a story. During our 8th grade year Dan Madesian, a rollerblader living in Bettendorf, started a petition. That petition was to get a skatepark built in Bettendorf. One year later we were attended the first skatepark committee and town hall meetings. Two years later we were in Crow Creek Park assembling our skatepark. If not our voice, then whose?