Skate Chautauqua Returns To Jamestown Savings Bank Arena

After a year off, Skate Chautauqua is back with competitors from different states and countries getting some work in.

Some of the best skaters and ice dancers entered Jamestown Savings Bank Arena on Saturday to take part in competitions held throughout the weekend. Family members watched as their loved ones took to the ice performing their musical programs. Before the different programs commenced, skaters prepared themselves by taking part in practice skates. Programs from novice, junior, juvenile and intermediate skating levels performed. Skaters who placed first through fourth went up the podium to receive their medals.

The event, in its 18th year, saw 107 entries, according to Ellen Darrow, Jamestown Skating Club president. The Jamestown Skating Club is a nonprofit organization that’s run by dedicated people in order to improve figure skating in Jamestown. Fundraising done throughout the year goes back to the skaters in preparing them for competitions, according to the Jamestown Skating Club.

The shows were put on at no charge to the public. Darrow said that good committee heads helped bring back the event to Jamestown.

“Our committee members set up the competition, and we got started a little bit earlier this time,” Darrow said. “We went to competitions. We have some kids that are into the competing stage. They went away and let people know we were having the competitions. That as a result helped us bring in people from all around.”

This year’s skating competition featured regional competitors. Programs in the event include a special solo dance series which features some of the top performers in the country. Skaters participating in the national event earn points to move on to the national level. Darrow explained that all the competitions taking place are the real deal.

“It’s sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating, but it’s not a qualifying event,” Darrow said. “Qualifying events start in October for regionals. During the summer, the kids do all these non-qualifying competitions to get ready for the ones that count. It brings in skaters that are on the same level so they can see what they’re up against.”

The weekend-long competition saw competitors from several states due to the special solo series.

“We get people from many different areas from Canada and Pennsylvania to the other side of the straits in Ohio,” said John Montour, member of the board of directors.

The word of Skate Chautauqua spread through the U.S. Figure Skating website, Darrow said. Then the Jamestown Skating Club put the message on its website.

“When you’re online, you can get the message out,” Darrow said. “Those things helped us very much.”