There are a handful of people in the UK rollerblading industry that are doing an exceptional amount of work to strengthen the national scene and increase the exposure of the sport to mainstream media, and few can say they have done more than Matthew Dearden. The Creative at Rampworx in Liverpool has tirelessly prevailed in his efforts to increase the popularity of our sport and each year he plays an integral part in the planning and execution of some of the country’s biggest events, including Slamm Jamm and the Chaz Sands Invitational. In fact, he was the man responsible for getting the Chaz Sands invite documentary aired on the Extreme Channel back in 2010.
With no plans announced for any major professional contests in the UK in 2012, Dearden took matters into his own hands and, working with some of the biggest names in the industry, conceived the idea for Laced. The two-part competition series will begin at Rampworx in February and conclude at XFEST, a new extreme sports festival that will take place in Northamptonshire in May, exposing rollerblading to a potential audience of 35,000 people.
Anyone who has come into contact with Dearden will readily attest to the fact that he is someone with a seemingly endless supply of drive, organisation and creativity. If Laced is the event that is going to bring rollerblading back into the public eye in the UK, there are few others as qualified to lead the charge. Wheel Scene managed to confiscate Dearden’s incessantly ringing iPhone from his possession for just enough time to find out more about the pioneering event.
Wheel Scene: What is the main idea behind Laced?
Matthew Dearden: The idea of Laced has been floating around for a while, but after a conversation with Kato (Remz) and Andy Wegner (Razors) from the WRS we decided to make it a reality. One of the main reasons for doing this contest is that everybody comes to Europe for Winterclash. It’s the biggest and best event in the world, hands down, yet there are no other events around it. Financially, it doesn’t make much sense to fly your riders half way around the world for one contest. After all, plane tickets are not cheap! This way teams can hit up two contests within the same trip. It makes perfect financial sense whilst giving brands the opportunity to capitalise on an EU tour.
The other big factor around the timing of the event is the fact that the UK is hosting the Olympics in the summer, so flights, hotels, rental cars and everything pretty much doubles. Brands simply do not have the budget to cover these kinds of expenses, so if the UK has no pro contest early on in the year, it is very unlikely that there will be no pro contests in the UK this year. It’s just far too expensive for riders to travel.