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Eight-year-old athlete crowd favourite at Gravity Fest

By Bill Samuel
Current world downhill skateboarding champion Patrick Switzer added a 5th consecutive win during Picton’s second annual Gravity Fest. Champion and local favourite Kolby Parks placed second in the Streetluge competiton. But the crowd favourite was neither of these stars. A plucky eight-year-old from Alymer, Quebec, Tristan (Bellaboy) Bell quickly endeared himself to volunteers, participants and spectators. Tristan finished third in Junior 1 Downhill Skateboard.

“This is Tristan’s fourth event this year and he is currently ranked fifth in the world in his age category (8-13 year-olds),” notes dad, Justin Bell. “He is the youngest ICGS racer.”

Justin had high praise for the event and the town. This is the only event where the race goes right down through the heart of the town, he said, everybody is so friendly they all wave or say hello as he frequently walked down the 1.2 km course (often with Tristan’s younger brother on his shoulder).

One of the many friendly faces along the course was Diane Scott, a 40 year resident of Pitt St.

“The Parks family does such a good job,” said Scott. “It’s wonderful to have this event for the young people.”

Jeffrey Pandeirado, 20, came to the event with friends from Toronto who were participating.

“This is very well organized event,” he said. “It’s a very safe course.”

The work of organizing the event has been a family affair at the Parks’ home just east of  Wellington. Krisha Parks (Kolby’s sister) their mom, Nancy, have worked long and hard organizing, doing the books and creating the website (

Not to be left out of all the fun, dad, Gary was not only the go-to guy during the event, he was the source for more than 2,500 bales of straw that lined the course as well as, and with the help of 15 to 20 volunteers placing them over the span of six hours, and removing them.

“Last year the racers went in the rain because of how safe the course was,” said Gary Parks. “Safety of the course for all is the prime concern.”

Krisha Parks, on behalf of the Parks family, thanked all the sponsors, the small army volunteers, the entrants and all the people of Prince Edward County for their continued support and help in making this a successful world-class event.

Reprints available by contacting:
Bill Samuel

Filed Under: Local NewsSports & Recreation

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