15th Mighty Mama Skate-O-Rama on May 13th

The 15th Mighty Mama Skate-O-Rama will be held on Mothers Day, Sunday, May 13, 2018, from 11am to 2pm at Laguna Niguel skatepark at 27745 Alicia Parkway, Laguna Niguel, California 92677. This annual charity gathering celebrates skating women and pays tribute to legendary female skaters who helped lead the way, while raising money for children in need.

First Mighty Mama Skate-O-Rama in 2004.

This year’s event will honor two very special women: Deanna Calkins and Vicki Vickers, both of whom represented the Hobie Skateboard Team with style and grit in the late ’70s/early ’80s. Deanna and Vicki will both be in attendance on May 13.

Amy Bradshaw. Photo: Scott Bastin

The Rockin’ Raffle will be stocked with a treasure trove of great offerings, including the Grand Prize, the “Shred With The Legends” package, which allows the winner (and five friends) to spend a day skating with some of skateboarding’s superstars. Past “Shred With The Legends” participants include Hall of Famers: Steve Caballero, Tony Hawk, Christian Hosoi, Lance Mountain and Steve Olson. Raffle proceeds go to kids in need. In 2018, Mighty Mama Skate-O-Rama will again donate proceeds to help children and teens rescued from human trafficking in Orange County, via the nonprofit Waymakers organization, which works to protect and support victims of crime in Orange County.

The Mighty Mama Skate-O-Rama is hosted by the 501c3 nonprofit group, Skateboard Moms & Sisters of Shred (officially Skateboard Moms Inc.), which empowers women through skateboarding and serves to generate camaraderie and sisterhood. For more information, please visit www.mightymamaskateorama.org and join the public Facebook group, Mighty Mama Skate-O-Rama. Check out all the cool raffle prizes and up to date info at the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/226193904619390/

RAFFLE TICKETS INFO: Raffle tickets available now and on the day of the event. You do NOT have to be present to win, but winners must pay shipping costs to have prizes delivered to them if they don’t pick up prizes at the event. To purchase raffle tickets from afar, text Treasurer, Karen Henry, at 310-804-6437 (up until 7 pm on May 12). She will call you back to get your credit card info. Raffle tickets are $2 each, or 12 tickets for $20, or 35 tickets for $50, or 75 tickets for $100.

Mighty Mama Skate-O-Rama 2011, honoring Ellen Berryman

We asked Barbara Odanaka, 
founder of the Mighty Mama Skate-O-Rama, 
to tell us about the origins of the event 
and what inspired her to get it rolling. 
We also asked what she would like to see 
happening for the revolution in women’s 
skateboarding in the future and 
here's what she had to say...

“My original inspiration for the event came from mostly selfish reasons. I had recently dug out one of my old skateboards—a Hobie Skatepark Rider, circa 1977, from when I was a part of the Hobie amateur team. I was a new mom of a colicky baby and, instead of bubble baths or a quick nap, my preferred bit of “downtime” became a 10-15 minute daily skate session, cruising the hills in my neighborhood, with local groms tagging along. Mothers Day was coming up and I decided to spend a good chunk of it on my skateboard.

Skateboard Mom meets Skateboard Mama (Liz) 2004.

My first children’s book, “Skateboard Mom”, was also about to be published and I wanted to find a fun and creative way to launch the book. Most authors have book launch parties at bookstores or coffee shops. I thought it would be more fun to find a few other moms who skate and get together at a skatepark and maybe sign a few books.

Skateboard Mama (Liz)

This was 2004, before social media as we know it today, and there were very few ways to find women skaters. But I went online and found Concrete Disciples and NCDSA.com and posted a little blurb, and hoped four or five women might show up. To my surprise, 19 women showed up that day, including 80-year-old Liz Bevington, the original “Skateboard Mama”, and so the Mighty Mama Skate-O-Rama was born!

Skate Legends: Patti McGee and Gale Webb support Mighty Mama Skate-O-Rama

We were lucky to have quite a bit of media coverage at that first event including the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, the CBS news affiliate from LA, and a guy with a small video camera from a new media project called Fuel!

Skateboarding Hall of Famer, Laura Thornhill-Caswell, supports Mighty Mama Skate-O-Rama

The word got out and, suddenly, I was getting emails from women around the country. The emails would almost always start out the same way: “I can’t believe I’m not the ONLY mom who thinks about skateboarding!” They were so stoked to see there were other women with the same passion—something they hid for years because they felt society would look down on them for indulging in something seen as only for kids. It just grew from there and we became a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to empower women through skateboarding. We even had “Empower” decks for a time as well. Originally, we called ourselves “Skateboard Moms,” but later added “Sisters of Shred” to the name in honor our many non-mom members.

Alysha Bergado 2007

Looking back, it’s kind of hard to believe that we’re still doing this 15 years later. We still have an incredible outpouring of support from the industry, with product donations for our “Rockin’ Raffle,” which benefits kids in need and I still get messages from women who are super stoked to find us. Of course, now there are many groups and organizations for female skaters, and it’s unusual that you don’t see at least a couple of girls at your neighborhood skatepark. That fear of rolling into a skatepark as a solo female, something that stopped plenty of older women in their tracks, is not nearly as prevalent as it once was. Hooray for that!

It’s an amazing time to be a female on a skateboard these days. The “boys club” aspect of the industry has changed quite a bit, thank goodness. The women are far more respected than they did when I got back into skating 15 years ago. In fact, we have had lots of support from many great guys along the way, and I’d like to give a special shout out to Skip Engblom, who came to my rescue our first year when I was trying to publicize the event. A number of trolls were mocking the event, which shocked me since I’d been a skater in the mellow 70s. But Skip charged in, gave them hell and donated some beautiful Santa Monica Airlines decks to our charity raffle. No one mocked us after that. Thanks Skip!


Overall, what I see now is that girls and women are feeling free to make the sport their own. I remember when I started, female skaters seemed to do whatever they could to blend in with the guys, from the clothes they’d wear to their stoic expressions. It didn’t really look like they were having all that much fun. Now look at the scene! It’s joyful! Girls and women are super stoked and not afraid to express it. That stoke is taking them to higher levels, both in competition and in self-confidence. No matter your age or stage, that inspiration is contagious. I love it!

Miss Manners, aka Heather Siler Dobbs from Florida

I’m not sure how far female skateboarding will go, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the competitive side of it followed the footsteps of women’s soccer, which catapulted itself past the men’s game popularity-wise, not by trying to copy the men, but by playing on their own strengths: style, skill, finesse—along with that gutsy, gritty spirit that’s unique to females who have had no choice but to find a way to come into their own.

You don’t have to be a teenager to feel that spirit either. I see it in our members, whether they’re 25 or 55, or even 70+! Once that stoke is in your blood, it’s there forever. Sometimes it goes dormant for a while, but once you step on a board again, you’re back.”

For more about the Skateboard Moms & Sisters of Shred and their charity event, please visit www.mightymamaskateorama.org

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