Former Bones Brigade skateboarding legend Mike McGill looked around at the Colorado Springs scenery and smiled at how far his beloved sport had come.
The inventor of the skateboard trick "McTwist" admitted he had never seen something quite like the atmosphere surrounding the Rocky Mountain Rampage at Memorial Park on Thursday afternoon.
"What an awesome event this is. It blows me away," said McGill, 48, who was sitting on his skateboard watching the open street competition on the first day of the event. "Back when I started we didn't even have a place to skate, and if we found one it was in terrible condition. . It wasn't this cool back then."
McGill, two-time world champion Eddie Elguera and X Games women's park champion Lizzie Armanto were just some of the names who intermingled with spectators and amateur boarders throughout the day.
But that wasn't the only jaw-dropping scene Thursday. When asked, many of the boarders and onlookers were astonished with the number of women skateboarders who were participating in the three-day tournament.
"It's amazing to see this sport growing for women," said Armanto, who is one of the few professional women sponsored in skateboarding. "I think this sport is just amazing and women in it will just keep growing. This event proves that."
There were about 20 girls spinning and jumping with their boards Thursday. And for some, that's by far the most they've ever seen.
"I've never skated with girls at an event. I'm always just with boys," said 16-year-old Alexa Stewart, who has been skateboarding for more than four years. "It's nice. It's nice to talk with girls instead of just the boys all the time."
In all, Day 1 survived a two-hour rain delay and flourished into the evening. Open-level girls and boys performed to a loudspeaker announcer who described their every grind and spin around the street park.
Simply, it was just a fun day, said race director Aric Schwan.
"It's kind of the day we put on display all the cool things of this event," Schwan said. "We wanted anyone to experience the world class vert ramp here and get to skate side by side with all these skateboarding icons. It's been fun."
Friday and Saturday will be a little different and much more competitive.
The women's and men's pro vert event Friday, along with men's and women's pro bowl event Saturday will involve some of the best skateboarders around the nation going for a slice of the $15,850 cash purse.
Action begins at 10:30 a.m. on both days at Memorial Park.