SKATE FAST WITH CLASS: Camden readies for 2024 edition of Skate Jam

May 21—Over the course of the past 18 years, the Tahlequah skating community has been thriving and growing.

During that period, the community has been putting on the Skate Jam competition at Tahlequah's Skate Park. Originally meant to build funds for the skate park, Skate Jam has turned into a celebration of skateboarding culture for many.

"Skateboarding is like a car swap ; you could spend a whole day catching up with old [friends]" David Camden, director of Skate Jam, said. "Tahlequah has always had a really good skating community. Avenue Skateshop gives people a spot to hang out and conglomerate. Towns that don't have a skate shop don't attract the same positive competition. They are working on their tricks a month in advance."

Set to take place on Sunday, June 2, this year's event is just around the corner. Last year's contest is going to have a big impact on 2024 events. The involvement of Madrid Skateboards' Daniel Yeager last year has paid dividends this season. Madrid and other brands that sponsor Yeager were key in setting up this year's sponsors.

"We've seen a lot more reaction from the Skate brands this year. Madrid Skateboards has been patented with us as well. On the skateboarding side of it, we had a really good turnout," Camden said.

After taking part in the event last season, Yeager wants to continue to help Camden and the event.

"Daniel himself is the team captain for several of the other brands, so it was nice to have him come out last year. It got him all fired up and got him involved," Camden said. "It adds a lot of credibility to have his brands say 'yes' in the beginning. Once other brands see they are more likely to say yes, so having his backing really adds credibility to have people jump on board."

Yeager is not able to appear this year, as he will be on his honeymoon. But he was key in getting brands such as Bandit Skateboards, Geronimo Skate, Turtle Skate Wax and more on board.

Despite the number of skate brands growing, Camden noticed he has fewer outside sponsors than normal. But with two weeks to go until the event, he is not sure whether that will have an effect.

"As far as the community front, there is a lot less than in years past. We didn't have a lot of returning sponsors," Camden said. "I'm not sure that will or not affect anything. I think it is still shaping up well, though; we just might not have as much other free stuff like hot dogs or fruit for skaters."

Despite this, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and others continue to be yearly sponsors for Skate Jam.

With the finished skate park, Skate Jam hosts one of the most exciting competitions in the area. With different age and skill levels, there is a division for anyone to show off skills. Last year's advanced section proved to be a shootout, with Dakota Camp narrowly taking down Calylan Kipers.

"With the new skatepark, now you have a facility that matches the energy of the season. If we give them a reason to drive over, they always want to; it gives them a perfect excuse to make a day out of it," Camden said.

Along with strong competition, many vendors and free skate opportunities.available.

This year's Skate Jam kicks off at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 2.

Follow live sports coverage @JakeSermershein on Twitter