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Published: Saturday, 9/17/2005

Skateboarders roll into Tiffin

A skateboarder soars over volunteers during a Livin  It Demo Tour performance.
A skateboarder soars over volunteers during a Livin It Demo Tour performance.

TIFFIN Skateboarders will be doing grinds and ollies, BMX bikers will butter their 360s, and actor Stephen Baldwin will share his faith when the Livin It Demo Tour rolls into the Tiffin Mall parking lot next weekend.

The event combines the eye-catching stunts of professional skateboarders and bikers with an evangelical Christian message.

The mix of skating, biking, and preaching with a dash of Hollywood thrown in was first presented on Livin It, a 2004 video that sold 100,000 copies. A follow-up film, Livin It L.A., is set for release this fall.

The extreme athletes are taking their skills on the road for a 23-city U.S. tour, including the visit to Tiffin Sept. 24.

Twelve local churches, including United Methodist, Assembly of God, Nazarene, Baptist, Church of God, and Foursquare, are sponsoring the event, said Rev. Rex King, pastor of New Beginnings Assembly of God.

A lot of these athletes are the peers of the kids who come to see them, and the kids can relate to them, Mr. King said. What we want to do is to help all of the church youth programs, to reach our youth and get them plugged in to a youth group that s going to help them make right choices. Kids need that. They need guidance and support and positive peer pressure and positive role models.

He said he began working to bring Livin It to Tiffin nearly a year ago and that it was easy to get help from a dozen churches because they worked together on previous community events, including dramas and grocery giveaways.

The churches that are participating are all relatively small churches that could never do something this large by themselves, but together we can make this thing happen, he said. With the support of the community, we can have a positive impact on the future of our county.

Organizers are expecting the Livin It Demo Tour to draw between 1,000 and 2,000 to the Tiffin Mall parking lot.

Kirk Purdy, a manager of the Livin It Demo Tour, said there are five elements to each show: skateboarding demonstrations, BMX bike displays, a youth speaker, a hip-hop DJ, and Mr. Baldwin, who has appeared in more than 50 films.

The 39-year-old actor, younger brother of movie stars Alec, William, and Daniel Baldwin, has said that his Brazil-born housekeeper told him and his wife, Kennya, about Jesus Christ and that being born again was the most awesome thing that ever happened in my life and I ve had a pretty awesome life already.

In addition to Mr. Baldwin s testimony, Mr. Purdy said some of the skateboarders or bikers also talk to audiences about their Christian faith.

It s been wonderful, he said. We ve had crowds ranging from 600 to 5,000.

The Livin It Demo Tour will be in the Tiffin Mall parking lot from 1 to 4 p.m. Sept. 24. Admission is free.

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