LOCAL NEWS

Wheelchair Palooza will open a whole new world of possibilities for some

Sep 22, 2022, 6:47 PM | Updated: Sep 23, 2022, 11:10 am

PARK CITY, Utah — There’s an adaptive sports event at Woodward Park City this weekend that is likely to turn on wheelchair users to an exciting new world of activities.

The Third Annual Wheelchair Palooza is a chance for wheelchair users and their families and friends to drop into a skate park just for the thrill of it and to discover a little bit more about themselves.

The free gathering is happening at Woodward Park City from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturday.

Wheelchair users and their families can find out about the kind of excitement they can have and the independence they will develop by taking a ride in a skate park and learning more about other adaptive sports from the athletes themselves.

“It really helps them learn to do the things that they want to do,” Amanda King the event organizer said.

King and Kyle Marchant, Wheelchair MX riders, showed off some of their skills today at the Lone Peak Skate Park in Sandy, where the event was held last year.

“It was definitely very scary at first,” Marchant said. “But the first time I ever dropped into a skate park it was the biggest adrenaline rush I’ve ever had in my life.”

Each of them started using a wheelchair as a child due to the disabilities they were born with. It wasn’t until they started exploring adaptive sports that they really discovered themselves, and new passions

Kyle competed in competitions across the country and loves the connections he has created with friends through wheelchair riding.

“We’re trying to show everyone that even though you’re in a wheelchair you can still do anything that anybody else that is able-bodied can do,” he said.

At the Wheelchair Palooza, people can try experimenting with anything from mountain biking and skateboarding to riding a custom wheelchair in the skate park, even grinding on a rail. It’s a very upbeat and social gathering with vendors on hand to share the kind of programs they offer.

“When you find a community that you can exist in and feel like yourself, and have others that are like you, you’re able to talk about more things and learn about things that you never knew before,” King said

King went to Wheelchair Camp as a six-year-old and discovered other kids just like her, and has been playing basketball, skiing, and riding and taking a few spills ever since. She took a couple of tumbles in the skate park Thursday and was quick with a smile and ready to get back up.

The more she got involved in adaptive sports, the more she learned how to lift herself up, and the greater her independence grew.

“Anytime you get people in wheelchairs together talking there are conversations that we have that we don’t get to have around able-bodied people. It’s just so nice,” she said. She’s proud of the adaptive sports community on the Wasatch Front, and the way it is always willing to include more people.

Aaron Fotheringham, also known as “Wheelz” from Nitro Circus, perform tricks in the skatepark Saturday. You can also learn about other sports and activities put on by the event hosts Utah Adaptive Alliance and Wasatch Adaptive Sports.

Marchant encourages any wheelchair users and their friends to check it out and discover new ways to have fun.

“It absolutely opened up my eyes and my world to so many new opportunities with friends, he said.

Attendance is free thanks to the Challenged Athletes Foundation, and everyone is welcome at Woodward Park City Saturday.

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Wheelchair Palooza will open a whole new world of possibilities for some