Doing backflips above an unforgiving cement surface doesn’t even make Stettler’s Jared Fraser blink. In fact, it’s part of every day life for the extreme sports fan, who recently made it on to a scooter team based out of Sylvan Lake.
The 12-year-old has been “scootering” for about four years now, starting out at the old Stettler skate park, a makeshift make-do of metal ramps and platforms assembled in the outdoor rink during the summer months.
The new skate park, which is “awesome” according to Fraser, has only made his skills grow by leaps and bounds.
“For as long as I can remember, this is what he’s wanted,” mother Heidi Fraser said. “He wants to be a pro rider.”
To help her son achieve his dream, she packed him up on weekends to take him to skate parks around central Alberta, giving him the chance to practice on skate parks that were better than the one present in Stettler, at least at the time.
“The new park is great,” she said.
With the help of his sister, Katherine, Fraser made a video of him performing the tricks he can do, from backflips to jumps and spins. Once the video was done, and using a friend in the community, the family was able to get in touch with Ethan Howell, who leads the Shop Nomads, a scootering team based out of Sylvan Lake.
That video landed the 12-year-old an interview with Howell, and a place on the team as its youngest member.
Team membership opens a lot of doors for the scooter fanatic.
“When I go to events, I have a team behind me,” he said. The team recognition helps him be recognized, and helps his name become known. Recognition is a large part of the new sport, which mostly exists through events hosted by stores and communities.
The team recognition through a shirt isn’t the only way being part of the team helps Fraser. The team promotes him, sending out information about Fraser to others who may be interested. And he practices with them, having their guidance to help him master tricks he hasn’t yet added to his repertoire.
Such as the backflip tailwhip, the trick he’s working at mastering now.
“I’m getting pretty close,” he said.
The trick is done on the quarter pipe. The rider goes up the pipe, “catches some air,” and then tries to spin the deck of the scooter (the part where the feet go) for a full rotation, before the rider lands.
Fraser tried it before an audience of several other skaters, but his feet touch down on cement.
“Almost,” he said.
A moment later, kids come up to him to ask for advice, and the youth freely gives it, guiding other skaters and scooters through the tricks they are trying to master.
Fraser’s become somewhat of a Stettler teacher in his own way, his mother said.
“He’s always here, volunteering at events, helping out,” she said. “And he’s always ready to help others master what they’re doing.”
Fraser can be found at the skate park almost every day, a stone’s throw from his home, helping out other skaters while practicing his own moves.
Someday, he said he hopes people will find him on the pro circuit.