Sioux City Journal: "Sutherland Skate Park Dedication Saturday"

Tim Gallagher Journal staff writer, May 12, 2006

 A "pipe dream" comes full circle as half-pipe and quarter-pipe units are dedicated at a skate park in Sutherland, Iowa.

The project began well over a year ago when Sutherland youths and their parents asked members of the local park board if the city could support a skate park.

"I remember 15 (youths) came to the board with their parents," says Sutherland Mayor Carolyn Rohrbaugh. "They wanted some skate equipment and we asked them if they wanted us to save our money so we could afford some expensive equipment, or if they wanted us to get some affordable equipment right away."

The skaters asked city leaders to pursue the latter, which they did. Five components of the skate park were put in place last spring. The place was named Pete's Skate Park in memory of Bernard "Pete" Petersen, who served Sutherland on the city council or as mayor for three decades.

"He had just passed away and the family donated money and we put it toward the skate park," Rohrbaugh says.

One youth who used the park was Anthony Vos, 13-year-old son of Rian and Gwen Vos.

On June 17, the boy was killed in a motorcycle crash at the Iowa Great Lakes. Following his death, Vos' parents tossed around the idea of erecting some advanced jumps at the skate park, building upon their son's passion for the sport.

 "He was a big skateboarder," Rian Vos says.

Vos, owner of JTV Manufacturing in Sutherland, found himself in position to act on the vision. He and his coworkers spent many Saturdays this winter building a half-pipe and a quarter-pipe out of fabricated steel. JTV, which has been in Sutherland for seven years, is a contract manufacturer for fabricated products. The firm employs 40.

This week, the staff made a plaque bearing Anthony's name to be placed at the park in the center of this O'Brien County community.

"We set up the new equipment as soon as the weather got good and it was incredible seeing all the kids using it that first day," Rian Vos says. "The kids all came out and tested it. It was kind of cool."

Among those "test-driving" the new equipment was Evan Vos, 10, the younger brother of Anthony.

"Evan tried it and it met his approval," Rian Vos says.

The dedication of the new equipment at "Pete" Petersen Skate Park takes place at 10 a.m. Saturday.