provides refuge for extreme athletes
GPX Skate Park in Grand Prairie gives skaters and bike
riders a clean, inviting atmosphere 30 minutes away
Years of riding could never alleviate the pain caused
by crashing headfirst into a wooden ramp. So, after
one month of extreme bike riding, Clint Powell sits
holding gauze to his now split lip.
Powell, 18, is a resident of Venus, a town 35 miles
south of the Metroplex. He and his friends drive to
GPX Skate Park often. The closer parks arent
bike friendly, said Powells friend Coleman
For many of the skaters and riders at the park, this
is the appeal: a clean, inviting atmosphere for skaters
and bike riders alike.
Other parks in the area, like the X Games Skatepark
in Dallas, restrict the number of hours bikes are allowed
in the park. These parks are often smaller, compact
and crowed, which limits the number of runs each rider
and skater can have on the ramps.
You get more runs, and everything is more spread
out, said Mike Romine, 20, of Dallas.
GPX Skate Park & Entertainment Center is part of
Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, about 30 minutes east
of TCU. The skate park is easy to find, located right
next to Gate 1 off Belt Line Road.The park is a $1.2
million outdoor skating arena built by the city of Grand
Prairie, with a recent addition of a hangar area. GPX
features three courses: a beginner, an intermediate
and a pro course designed for in-line skating,
skateboarding and biking. The site also features a nice-sized
vertical ramp, or vert ramp, a necessity for any skate
park. Vert ramps are designed in the spirit of 70s
pool skating, made famous by skaters like Tony Alva,
Stacey Peralta and Tony Hawk.
said the park is also adding a dirt course.
GPX appeals to kids of all ages and has gained the approval
of some parents.
Its cleaner, and not as rough. The staff
is all great and they really care about the kids,
said David Barnes of Ducanville, as he watched his sons,
Tyler, 13; and Jordan, 14, on the vert ramp.
The park hosts major competitions, like the upcoming
Texas Games. The most notable of the events hosted by
GPX was the EXPN X-Trials in 2001 and the EXPN Invitational
in 2002, both on ESPN. The two events were precursors
to the EXPN Summer X Games, the Olympics of non-traditional
extreme sports. Each event brought professional BMXers
and skateboarders, like Dave Mirra and Andy MacDonald,
to Grand Prairie. And with the pros came the fans, securing
Texass place on the extreme sports map.
This gave GPX the chance to invest in local riders and
skaters by sponsoring a team.
The park also holds clinics and camps, offers lessons
and holds local competitions, like BMX Bonanza and the
Hairy-Agua-Mans Mini Ramp Competition.
events give awareness and foster interest in skateboarding
and in-line skating, and create an interest in the lesser-known
sport of freestyle BMX. Although many people can recall
the downhill BMX races of the 1980s, they are not as
familiar with the newer trend of freestyle BMX featured
in the EXPN X Games and NBCs Gravity Games. Veterans
of the sport, such as Dennis McCoy, are now getting
recognition after years of obscurity. The riders at
GPX involved in the sport can now find a challenging
place to ride, after years of being pushed out of skate
parks and city parks.
But skateboarding is not allowed anywhere on campus,
according to TCU police. Officials said it can cause
damage to university property and the university could
be liable if students were injured while skating.
The university has taken steps to discourage skating
on campus. Brackets have been placed throughout campus,
on handrails and bench areas. These brackets prevent
skateboarders and bike riders alike from performing
the common trick of grinds.
Sergeant Chris Drake said the first offense of students
and visitors skating on campus would be a verbal warning,
informing them of a violation of university policy.
If the person continues to skate, one of two things
will happen: If they are a student, the skater will
be cited for violating the Student Code of Conduct and
directed to Campus Life; if the skater is a visitor
to campus, he or she will be issued a criminal trespassing
warning. After the trespassing warning is served, the
visitor can be arrested if caught skating on campus
The policy makes GPX a good alternative for serious
skaters and riders. It is also a good place to start
for those who are not that serious about the sports
yet, because students can visit the park as spectators
or patrons. Students can also benefit from the experience
of other riders and skaters in the area, learning new
tricks and twists to old ones.
The greatest of these experiences is what to do when
you crash headfirst into a wooden ramp, as Powell learned.
In most experiences, riders and skaters always remember
the famous saying, No pain. No glory.