Pennies for Poorskate 

Wheel tricksters plan for indoor skate park

Everyone knows Boise is an outdoorsy kind of city. But we also know that winter days can be a bitch and summer Fahrenheit can cruise to a blistering 109 degrees in the shade. What options does a youth have should he or she want to meet friends for an afternoon of wholesome physical activity, mental dexterity and peer development? Well, they can't go to an indoor skate park because there isn't one in the Treasure Valley anymore. At least one group hopes that will soon change.

Poorskate, a collection of local skaters, BMXers and friends, is trying build what would be the Treasure Valley's only indoor skate park since the closing of Lucky 88 in 2001. They need loot to do it, and they are looking to fellow skaters, friends of skaters, parents of skaters, people who don't want skaters on their curbs, and anyone else who wants to help establish an indoor skater haven.

And Poorskate's fundraising calendar is stocked. The next Poorskate event is a demo scheduled for April 1 at the Downtown YMCA. "The YMCA donated a bunch of lumber and we're actually going to build a skate park in their parking lot," says Kelly Knopp, one of Poorskate's organizers. "They are kicking off a youth night and we're going to be there trying to get the word spread that we need to raise money."

Knopp, a Boise Weekly illustrator and the owner of an area skateboard clothing company, has been involved in the local skating scene for a long time and is passionate about bringing an indoor park to the area. It might seem like an uphill battle, but thankfully, Knopp has a strong team of supporters, including the two other Poorskate organizers Kris Price and John Francey, owners of a local clothing company geared toward BMX attire.

There's no need to shell out cash to attend the Y demo, but Poorskate has an agenda with hopes of good fortune: Get one dollar from everyone.

"If everyone pitches in a dollar we can make it happen," says Knopp. "If everyone helps out and realizes this is a positive thing for the community, we can make it."

A dollar donation gets your name in print on the donation list. For 50 clams or more, donors get a two-by-three-inch ad on

Knopp knows it's going to take a lot of dollars to reach the goal to buy a $15,000-plus building. But they already have the ramps and other indoor-adventure goods squared away.

Poorskate has another fundraiser planned for April 13 at the Main Street Bistro, which is, as luck would have it, on Main Street in downtown Boise. Dude, there's going to be a half pipe in the bar! "When we did it a month ago at the Bistro, the owner was out of town in the Bahamas," Knopp says of building a skate ramp in the bar. "But this time we have permission. It's legitimate."

Also, appearing live at the 'Stro on one night only: the Treasure Valley Roller Derby Girls. Meet the toughest hot girls in the Valley. The local roller derby ladies are still organizing their league, but in the meantime, they are helping Poorskate's mission—for they, too, will need a practice space in which to skate. An indoor park would suit the girls well and it's nice to see the wheeled-sports folks unite for a common cause.

In addition to facilitating better conditions for sidewalk surfers, Poorskate's organizers say an indoor park could benefit Boise's economy overall. "Boise's on the I-84 strip," Knopp says. "If you drive the corridor, you can make a really good skating trip stopping along the way."

On the grass-roots side, Poorskate people have stashed collection jugs all over town. "All the skate shops in the Treasure Valley have them. And the Record Exchange and the Boise Co-op and the Moxie Java downtown," Knopp points out. "A lot of people have been really good about supporting that."

He also adds that if monetary goals are not reached in reasonable time, Poorskate will donate the collected monies to Rhodes Skate Park (under the connector downtown) for upgrades and maintenance, so nothing will be wasted.

For info on Poorskate or to donate to the cause, check out April 1, 8 p.m., Downtown Family YMCA, 1050 W. State St.

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