Why Portage Needs a Skate Park – Dennis Witt


Dennis Witt

I remember seeing a bunch of kids up the block from my house skateboarding and I said to myself, “I want to do that!” I thought it was the neatest thing and it looked fun to me. Soon my mother and my father had bought me a cheap skateboard not knowing anything of it and I’m sure they thought it was just a phase in my childhood, well it wasn’t a phase at all. It was a lifetime hobby that has brought so much into my life.

I’m Dennis Witt and I currently reside in North Freedom, Wisconsin but I grew up in Baraboo. When I started skateboarding I was about 10 years old and there was hardly any parks around the area. Reedsburg was the only one in Sauk County to have a park and I knew about that because my father was a concrete finisher for T&M Construction and he helped pour every inch of that park. I could hardly go there or anywhere as a kid because my parents were always busy so I just skated in front of my house all the time until Baraboo had planned to make a skate park.

One day my mother and I were driving past where the Baraboo Skate Park is now and I got excited to see they were laying out the forms for the park. I jumped from my seat and shouted at my mother, “They’re building the park right there! Right there!” I don’t think I had ever been that excited in my life and I knew from that point on I would be skating there every chance I got. As soon as it opened I would skate from across town just to skate at the park for what seemed like endless amount of time. I would spend so much time down there that sometimes my parents got upset that I wasn’t home on time but it wasn’t a big deal because they knew where I was.

Baraboo Skate Park is ground zero for a lot of what I have now. The park has given me a lot of friendships and opportunities that have lasted me till this day and I am sure they will last beyond these days. One of the friendships that has carried on from that park is my best friend Brandon Hanson. I remember skating the Baraboo Skate Park when it was empty and he approached my friend and I and asked us if we would be willing to join a team that he was creating. The team he created was called “Chipped Skateboards”.Β  At that time a lot of skaters there had created their own teams or were sponsored by Elements Board Shop and I always wanted to be apart of something unique like that and Brandon Hanson was giving me the opportunity to experience something like that. Although the team didn’t last very long our friendship did. Brandon and I worked hard to film each other, to take pictures of each other, and learned how to run a low-key skateboarding company. It taught me a lot and it showed me what I was capable of doing and how far I could take and I’ve taken it very far.

Dennis Witt  - Ollie - Reedsburg

Dennis Witt – Ollie – Reedsburg

Beyond making little skateboard videos with Brandon, I soon realized where I wanted to go with my life. I wanted to go into video production to make films or do something related to media because it all seemed interesting to me and I knew I could get better at it. Although I soon realized what I truly wanted to do and that was help people with the set of skills I possessed. I’ve known I can make money off of what I can do but there is some satisfaction behind being able to put a smile on someones face because you helped them achieve something great, something heartfelt and meaningful. Even if it was the smallest things that was easy for me to do and hard for them it still makes me happy knowing I was able to give something that could potentially last a life time.

Kyle Little called me one day when I was at school and I couldn’t pick up the phone. He ended up leaving me a message stating he would like me to join the Portage Family Skate Park. Little did I know Brandon Hanson was the one that spoke my name and gave me this opportunity. I had to think about if I was capable of being apart of a project and being able to do what was asked. The drive home from school I thought about it and I remember the times I had spent down at the Baraboo Skate Park and all the things that I have been able to experience because of skateboarding and a skate park. I soon realized I wanted kids of Portage to be able to have this type of opportunities that I had. I want kids to know they can “Express, Enjoy and Create” on any means. I want them to make friendships and go out and make videos and expand on everything skateboarding has to offer. I want them to know if they ever have troubles with anything they can go to the skate park and forget everything and enjoy their time riding their skateboards because skateboarding isn’t all about skateboarding. It is a type of freedom that allows you to make it what you want. Being able to push and go anywhere lets you be free to the world.

I am not just saying this for Portage, Wisconsin…I am saying this for anyone or any town trying to build anything. I have always carried a quote with me since middle school and that is, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison

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