By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
One Feather Asst. Editor
CHEROKEE, N.C. – On an overcast early December afternoon, Karson Wildcatt was at the Cherokee Skate Park doing what he loves. A member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Wildcatt recently picked up a skateboarding sponsorship from Flipside Boardshop in Maggie Valley, N.C.
“I’ve been skating for about four years now,” he said. “After high school, I moved out to Arizona and kind of picked it up as a hobby. My brother has always kind of thrown it at me in the past when I was 13, but I never took it seriously.”
“I didn’t take it seriously until last year and I just started coming any time I could. It just feels good.”
When asked what attracted him to the sport of skateboarding, he noted, “The lifestyle. The lifestyle, for sure. It just seemed more laid-back. It’s kind of like a hobby, there’s no stress about it. So, you can do your work stuff and have this on the side.”
On the sponsorship, Wildcatt commented, “We actually have local skaters who have been sponsored by them in the past. I’ve just been doing my thing here and there and I was lucky enough for one of them to notice me.”
Although he started in Arizona, he definitely loves skating in Cherokee. “There’s so many people due to Arizona being a bigger place. It’s definitely more popular out there. But, what we have here is definitely better, in my opinion, because this is like family when you come here. You have everybody you know and it’s just everybody having fun.”
But, there really is not a difference he noted. “Skating is the same, in my opinion. They always just bring people together no matter what.”
When skating, his favorite style is street. “It’s definitely going to be street. Nothing beats street, but there’s these great parks around here so you always have to show love to both.”
Wildcatt said there are life lessons in skating. “I used to bring my brother out when he wasn’t doing sports and for them with tricks you kind of battle something. You don’t get it first try. So, that’s what you learn in skating – you have to keep trying until you get it. I think that’s something great for youth because that gets them prepared for life. I think that definitely transitions over.”
He said the sport is about having fun in a community. “Everybody that skates, I’d like to shout them out. It’s not just me out here. There’s a community behind it. Shoutout to everybody that skates.”
Wildcatt said he has several people he really looks up to. “My biggest inspiration from when I was in high school is definitely Josh Adams. I want to call him my mentor, in a way, because he definitely guided me. So, Josh Adams is up there, so shoutout to Josh Adams. Shoutout to Ira Smart, too. He’s been putting in the work out here forever.”
“I would definitely like to be involved with the competitive scene of skating. Nothing too crazy, just local. I’d like to represent Flipside whenever I can. That’s basically my goal.”