Skate or Die 

Thrill-seekers on wheels of all sizes are invited to a get-together

Whereas some are content to watch the X-Games on the Deuce (ESPN2) and play Tony Hawk-approved skateboarding video games, others feel the call of the wild: They'll actually build a ramp outside, get a long riding start and, on a Huffy with a banana seat, jump Mrs. Feldman's rosebushes. Whichever camp you're in, you'll find high-octane pleasure at the Extreme Sports Music Fest at Ramp Riders on Saturday.

Professional board (Circus Skates, Image), bike (Sprokets) and inline-skate freestyle teams will perform demos on a freshly built street course on blocked-off streets while a dozen bands perform live. Visitors can also dig the Streetfighters outlaw motorcycle-team stunt show, the Pro Audio car display and the three-story indoor Ramp Riders complex, surely one of the coolest such facilities in the nation. At Ramp Riders, bicycle stuntmen fly through the air on the first level, which has a dropped floor, and skateboarders offer their young bones to the Fates on the upper levels.

The street course will include the full range of quarter-pipes, half-pipes, rails, box slides and launches, and, at 10 p.m., event organizers will raffle off a free ramp and auction off the rest. Featured bands include Warped Tour veterans Duke plus local alternative, rap-core, pop-punk, thrash punk and metal outfits the Midwest Avengers, 13 Lo'Kei, Maralyn High, Mr. I, Split 77, Rip'd, Sugarcoated, Supervillain Zero, Nineteen, K.T.M.A. (Kid Tested Mother Approved) and K.R.T. (Knights of the Round Table).

That stubborn mofo hope springs eternal, and this event signifies happy possibilities -- that skaters will organize more hassle-proof events like this one, that their community will become more vocal and that this little pocket just east of Grand Boulevard, home to Ramp Riders and the nearby Berzerker Studios, will continue to attract hip businesses. --

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