Though the top three contest winners in the Advanced category received prize money, every participant took home prize bags and a hand-made trophy constructed from old skateboards. The trophies were made by local Cariboo artist Adea Chung. Norma Ibarra photo.

Canim Lake local empowers young people in all ‘Womxn’ skateboard contest

‘I want to inspire and empower’

Rose Archie grew up skateboarding in Canim Lake, but she is now inspiring young women from all over the world to partake in the sport.

Archie started skateboarding in 1992. Her passion has taken her around Canada and to many different countries, where she has met industry legends and competed in top competitions.

On May 11, Archie hosted the fifth annual Stop, Drop, and Roll Womxn Skate Contest at Quilchena Skatepark in Vancouver. The all-female, all-ages, skateboarding contest drew contestants in from Sweden, Florida, Mexico, and beyond.

The “x” in “Womxn” was an intentional choice, Archie explained.

“I wanted to be more inclusive. This contest is open to all people who identify as women. Especially for the kids who are trans and they don’t know yet. I want to give that message. If you identify as a woman, here’s a place for you.”

Archie’s aims for inclusivity extend beyond her choice to include all people who identify as female. She hopes to carve out a more distinct space for women in the industry.

“I’m trying to make changes within the community to have women be more included in the skateboarding world and in Canada. It’s been mostly males running the scene.”

The annual Womxn Skate Contest is an event where organizers empower and inspire girls, rather than simply rank them, Archie says.

Related: Community on board for skate and BMX jam Sept. 15

Despite being a contest with prizes and trophies, Archie has endeavoured to keep the atmosphere relaxed via a skate jam competition style. A skate jam, she explained, means participants get a short solo run and introduction. This intro ride lasts about thirty seconds before a five-minute group jam takes place with three or four participants at once.

Participants have responded positively to the format, which Archie says is working great so far: “They love how the competition has kind of a chill vibe.”

Archie’s older sister Charmie got her involved with skateboarding in the nineties.

“I didn’t really like sports where I had someone telling me what to do,” said Archie. In riding, she found her passion.

“Skateboarding is a good stress reliever,” she says. “No matter what kind of day you have, you can go skateboard and it will take your worries away.”

Fast forward to 2019 and at age 37, Archie says she sometimes has to pinch herself.

“I feel like these girls who are 17, they look up to me,” she said. Archie doesn’t plan to stop riding anytime soon: “I’ve chosen it as more of a lifestyle to inspire the next generation.”

“It’s just my passion,” she said. “I want to inspire and empower.”

Recalling the dreams she made a reality, Archie places herself in the shoes of younger girls.

“Everything worked out for me in the end. Manifest your dreams, say them out loud. Everything I’ve wanted in my life, I have.”

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Archie used to put on punk concerts and competitions in her hometown, but her Womxn Skateboard Contest is the one she’s most proud of.

The contest began with a group lesson which allowed girls as young as two and as old as 12 to practice their skills alongside professionals from the Seattle-based non-profit, Skate Like a Girl.

Females of all ages participated and though the top three winners in the Advanced category received prize money, every participant took home a hand-made trophy constructed from old skateboards and a prize-filled tote bag. The trophies were made by local Cariboo artist Adea Chung.

Archie received $500 from Vancity Credit Union and $1000 from Vans Canada to help fund the contest, which she hosted in collaboration with Antisocial Skateboard Shop and the Skate Witches.

Participation in the contest was by a donation of $5 and Archie plans to give back all proceeds to Indigenous youth in B.C. by offering skateboarding lessons on B.C. reserves.

“Growing up in Canim Lake, we had to hitchhike to Williams Lake or Kamloops to skateboard,” she said. “I want kids to know more than just being on the reserve.”

Readers can follow Archie’s skateboarding adventures by visiting her Instagram account.

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The contest began with a group lesson which allowed girls as young as two and as old as twelve to practice their skills alongside professionals from the Seattle-based nonprofit, Skate Like a Girl. Norma Ibarra photo.

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