Skating for a cause

Local journalist opens skateboard shop, hosts cancer fundraiser

Jefferson Dodge | Boulder Weekly

Oakland Childers has returned to his roots.


He started his professional writing career in skateboarding. And he even met his wife in a skate shop.

Now Childers, former editor of the Colorado Daily, has opened a skateboard shop in Louisville with his wife, Melissa.

It is full circle for the two. The couple met at Switch, a skateboard shop in Delaware. And his first real magazine gig was at a New York publication focused on skateboarding, snowboarding and music.

Childers says he initially wanted to be a professional musician or a pro skateboarder (he’s been skating since the age of 9), but he didn’t have the natural-born talent to go far enough in either field, so he started writing about them.

His System Skateboarding shop, which opened on March 16 at 305 McCaslin Blvd., Suite 2, is holding a grand opening April 9-11. During the first two days, Childers plans to offer giveaways and free food and drink. The final day of the celebration will feature a 6:30 p.m. screening of the skating video Since Day One to raise money for the Johnny Kicks Cancer Foundation (

The film was made by REAL Skateboards, which is asking skate shops showing the world premiere to collect donations to fund research on childhood leukemia. The fundraiser was inspired by the death of Johnny Romano, an up-and-coming professional skateboarder who died from leukemia in 2008 at the age of 10.

Attendees are being asked to make minimum donations of between $2 and $5 to raise money for the foundation.

Childers says Romano’s story hits him on a personal level because one of his young daughter’s friends got leukemia, but thankfully is now in recession.

“It’s a sock in the gut, because you don’t even think of that sort of thing happening,” he says.

The film will be shown on the big screen TV Childers has in his shop, and the nearby Bean & Berry will be offering drink and food specials for parents who want to drop off the kids and go next door during the movie.

The TV in System Skateboarding is surrounded by a couch and chairs because Childers wants his shop to be a place where skateboarders feel comfortable congregating.

He’ll even provide the beverages when they stop by to chill out and watch skate videos.

“We always have something for them,” Childers says. “People are welcome to come and just hang out.”

Childers, who worked at the Colorado Daily from 1998 to 2008 and served as editor the last two of those years, also has experience writing for several music and skateboarding magazines, including Thrasher, Alternative Press and ALARM. He also started a media consulting and public relations company, Ink Blot Media Consulting.

In addition to skateboards, System carries an array of shoes, accessories and attire, even girls’ clothing. And, as Childers says, he carries some nice clothes — “not just T-shirts and sneakers.”

He says his shop always has about 150 skateboards in stock, from all major brands. He and Melissa, who acts as chief financial officer for the store, also carry a “shop board” made especially for System that is currently priced at $30.

Childers says he also sells “every kind of longboard you can think of,” whether you want to cruise or carve.

“It’s an ever-growing sport in this area, and we’re doing our best to offer everything from cruising/commuting boards to more serious carving, sliding and racing gear,” he says.

Asked why he picked the name System for his new shop, Childers replies that he ran several names past friends who run a large skateboarding shop in Delaware, “and that’s the only one they said wasn’t terrible.”

So far, it seems his return to his skateboarding roots hasn’t been terrible either.

For more information, call 303- 665-4SK8 (4758), or visit