Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010 | 12:07 p.m.
“How much fun is this?!” That was the question celebrities and their kids, along with VIPs and their grandkids, kept asking at Tony Hawk’s star-studded skateboard carnival Stand Up for Skateparks yesterday at the Wynn. The Sunset Terrace and pool were turned into a family-centric, action-packed playground complete with Tony’s personal ramp for jaw-dropping live Vert Demos by skateboarding’s icons.
Contributing photographer Tom Donoghue was on duty for red carpet arrivals and inside the carnival, while Anthony Acosta shot breathtaking photos of heart-stopping, high-riding flights of fancy. Loyal Vegas DeLuxe reader Richard Corey posted his videos on YouTube (check them out on the VegasDeLuxe.com version of this story). Our hometown heroes and tennis legends Andre Agassi and wife Steffi Graf were among the VIPS in attendance.
2010 Stand Up for Skateparks
Tony also used the benefit to launch his action game Tony Hawk: Shred, and everybody from Holly Madison, Shaun White, Laura Croft, Bill Walton and Erik Estrada tried it out. I couldn’t quite persuade Austin “Chumlee” Russell from The History Channel’s Pawn Stars to jump on for the thrill-ride experience!
Holly told me: “I used to own a Bart Simpson skateboard back home in Oregon. I was not good! I kept falling off it, and we didn’t have any skate parks, so it was just the sidewalk or the bumpy road.”
Hotel mogul Steve Wynn told me: “There weren’t skateboards when I was younger. We only had the dogs just barking then. It’s not something I’m trying out today, but it’s wonderful to have all this excitement and fun and so many people supporting this cause. I’m all for being physically fit and less obesity in America -- and skateboarding is one way to achieve that, too.”
For me, it also was a reunion with CHiPs star Erik, who brought his wife and family for the fun. We’d been great pals in New York, and he even used to baby sit my kids in earlier times. I hadn’t seen him since the days of Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, so it was a great get-together.
He told me that his oldest son Brandon, 23, is competing in pole vault to go to the Olympics. He’s ranked No. 7 in the U.S. after winning silver in the Caribbean Games representing Puerto Rico. Erik said: “Skate parks are just great places for kids to go. It improves their mental game and builds character and channels their energy into good rather than bad. I’m a huge supporter.”
Tony told me: “This event just keeps on getting bigger and better, and all my dreams are coming true. It’s a huge honor for me to be welcomed to Vegas like this and have such a celebrity turnout and raise money. We’re now announcing our first Tony Hawk Park for Las Vegas. We’ve given away over $3 million so far to 463 communities, with 370 of those skate parks already open. We’ve always given the first $25,000 to get them started. I’d like to reach the point where we can increase it to full funding, be that either $50,000 or all the way up to a million.
“We’ve proved we’ve saved lives and cleaned up communities. It’s the best way to keep troubled kids out of trouble. It really gives them something to do with pride instead of getting wrapped up in a cycle of crime.”
Chumlee agreed: “This is the culture I grew up in -- skate parks really are great for kids and community. It gives the kids an option so they won’t get into trouble.”
Today, Tony visits Freedom Park to announce a gift from supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle to add an expansion with a modern streetscape to the bowl and ramps. Tony originally raised $80,000 to improve the skate park, which will be completed by spring and represent the first in a series of skateboard developments supported by the Tony Hawk Foundation here.
I also interviewed Steve at length yesterday when he arrived with girlfriend Andrea Hissom, and tomorrow right here at Vegas DeLuxe, we’ll let you in on the secret as to why Steve has recently changed his will. “I’m not planning to croak just yet, but I wanted it to be in place,” he said.
Holly also revealed some of the secrets of her new one-year Peepshow contract extension and how she’s planning to use her vacation time and let Holly’s World castmate and assistant Angel Porrino step into her high-heeled shoes when she’s away.
We’ll have both of those stories tomorrow.
How much fun is this? Everyone agreed that it simply doesn’t get any better -- raising money in glorious fall Las Vegas sunshine for a great cause in a wonderful setting and letting kids and parents play together all at the same time.
Before the carnival kicked off, Tony hosted a pre-party at Blush in the Wynn on Friday night, and guests included Shaun, Michael Phelps, Antonio Esfandiari and Eva LaRue. Thanks to Bryan Steffy for the photo gallery from the party.
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