Fox helps organize BMX and board event near to his heart in Pratt

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Bikers and skaters of all ages, plus an enthusiastic crowd of onlookers joined together for a community evening of fun last week at the Mitch Minnis park in Pratt.

A lifetime BMX-biker himself, Pratt's Ben Fox recently took his mission to build community to the public stage, well, a skate ramp really. And by all respects, last week's Fourth Annual SkatePark Jam was a success.

"I've been a BMXer all my life and I've just always felt there wasn't enough support for kids, like me, who aren't out for football or don't participate in the play or forensics or other school-based activities," Fox said. "These are not bad kids who like to hang out at the park and ride their bikes or skate boards. We need to make sure all members of our community feel our support in their lives and I just wanted to bring people together to have some good fun and be together."

On Sunday, September 5, Fox, who is 23 and works full-time for Younie Landscape, joined forces with his good friend Zach Garrison, youth outreach pastor at Pratt's Reach Church and head of Motion Student Ministries, and organized a SkatePark Jam session at the Minnis Park on the south side Pratt on Main Street.

"There were actually several groups that helped sponsor the event," Fox said.

Garrison and the Reach Church brought food - hot dogs and chips, as well as provided speakers and music. Youth Core Ministries brought cold drinks, plus participants of all ages.

"We really had a good turnout," Fox said. "We've actually been doing this for four years, except for last year because of COVID-19, but I would love to see more people have a heart for these kids who just want to feel part of something. That's what the skatepark was created for, to bring people together. It's great to have a mix of adults and kids here, having fun, sharing time and space. That's what makes us a community."

Fox said sometimes people had the wrong perception of kids who like to ride bikes and boards at the skatepark, one that connected them with a drug culture that really wasn't accurate.

"Just because we all don't excell at the usual sports at school doesn't mean we aren't good people," Fox said. "I think the more connections we make, the more people get involved with our youth in whatever their interests are, the better chance we have of helpling others making positive choices in life."

With more than 20 riders and additional onlookers taking part in the recent SkatePark Jam, Fox said he and his friends were glad for the support and hoped the event helped develop positive networks for those who might be outside the usual ring of community support.

"We'll keep having this Jam event every year, usually late in August or early September," Fox said. "And I invite anyone to come out and watch kids doing their tricks on their bikes and boards at this park when they are there. It's pretty entertaining."