Dozens of skateboarders will grind, carve, and ollie for cash prizes on Saturday at the second annual Evolution Skate Contest in Hudson. "Kids get something out of the simplicity of the sport, the creativity of it," says Laura Torchia, co-owner of Evolution Skate Park in Canton. "On a skateboard, you can goof off in your driveway for three or four hours and get a whole lot more out of it than going to a football game and watching your team lose."
An eight-judge panel will score competitors in four age groups on style and skill. The top two skaters in each category snag $50 and $100 gift certificates from Torchia's skateboard shop in Kent. Third-placers take home T-shirts.
Torchia's husband, Mike, gives props to pro skateboarders like Tony Hawk for bringing the sport into the limelight. "A lot of kids have decided it looks cool and it's something they want to do," he says. "The popularity factor had already been there. These kids were just waiting for someone or something to make it look appealing." The contest rolls from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hudson Skate Park (at the corner of Middleton and Stow roads in Hudson). Admission is free for spectators, $10 for competitors; call 330-677-6776. -- Cris Glaser
Where There's Smoke . . .
Race mirrors fire training.
Participants at Sunday's Heroes Run will spend as much time on their knees as they will on their feet. The fourth annual event (at St. Joe's Academy) not only gives runners a strenuous workout on the trails, but also features a mock house fire filled with hazardous appliances and dangerous situations. Kids and adults can test their crawling abilities in the smoke-filled abode and learn a thing or two about fire safety. The run itself winds through Rocky River Reservation and up the steep Hogsback Lane (where firefighters often train, complete with hoses). There's also a kid's race and a two-mile walk for less ambitious contestants. The run starts at 7:30 a.m. at St. Joe's Academy, 3430 Rocky River Drive. Registration is free. Visit clevelandheroesrun.com. -- Lucy McKernan