A passion for skateboarding has turned into a bid at a professional racing career for 15-year-old Spencer Bartlett of Oneida.
The Stockbridge Valley Central School 10th grader said he has been riding his skateboard since he was nine-years-old, and his regular trip down the North Butler Road hill from his home to his work at the Bartlett family farm -- a winding 3/4 of a mile -- has inspired him to take his skateboarding enthusiasm a big jump forward as a competitor in this year's Madison County Gravity Fest on the East Hill in Munnsville.
Spencer said he and parents Norma and Todd regularly attend the Gravity Fest, and he was always thrilled by the speed and prowess of the competitors, and he was even more impressed once he got the chance to meet some of those athletes in person.
Local favorite Beagle Jarvis was a big boon to his budding racing career, as last year the pro gave him tips on racing and even helped Spencer get a great deal on a street luge. Spencer's leather racing outfit is one Jarvis himself wore, and is autographed on the back, where Jarvis poked a bit of fun at his young prot (c)g (c) by adding the word "wannabe" under the name "Beagle."
"He was awesome," Spencer said. "He really hooked me up with a great deal on the leathers and board, and told me all the tips of racing like where to be on the board and how to take a corner."
Spencer will be back at Gravity Fest VI this year on July 28-29 to compete in the Pro Luge contest for his first-ever professional race, and from there he hopes to continue racing -- with aspirations to someday soon travel the country on tour with the lugers.
"Hopefully someday I'll make it all the way to California," he said. "I really like the adrenaline rush of racing and going fast, whether I'm on my board or on a dirt bike or snowmobile."