Beat the Heat in Medicine Hat


Since 2007, the Medicine Hat Skateboard Association (MHSA) has hosted what’s now become Canada’s Largest Amateur Skate Competition, Beat the Heat. 

Every year on July 1, generations of skateboarders from across Canada gather at the Inland Skateboard Park and Kinsmen Skate Plaza to compete at the Canada Skateboard sanctioned event. 

From the early morning hours to the late evening minutes, skateboarders showcase their skills, tricks, and speed. The MHSA society creates thrilling and unexpected categories and stunts, like lining up kegs to see who can jump over the most, or having skaters race down a steep road that’s alongside a coulee.

“We’ve heard it’s the skateboarder's favourite competition to go to every year, because there are tons of people cheering for them. The atmosphere is unreal,” says Davie James, who’s been a part of MHSA since he was 13, and currently sits on the society for the non-profit.

MHSA has a partnership with Tampa Am, the largest amateur skateboard event in the world, and the grand prize for first place at Beat the Heat is entry into the exclusive event, with flights and accommodations paid for. 

“We get some of the best skateboarders in the country coming to Medicine Hat on July 1 to do what they love to do. To see our team from Medicine Hat making an impact on the national skateboard stage is huge,” says Terence Kowalchuk, who joined alongside the MHSA leadership in 2005.

Tampa Am requires a sponsorship to attend. Winning Beat the Heat’s grand prize brings the opportunity for a skateboarder to enter into a new level of their skateboarding career.

Being hosted on Canada Day every year, Beat the Heat was hosted parallel with celebrations in Kin Coulee Park. And this year, the MHSA will host Kin Coulee Canada Day Festival with Beat the Heat.

Surrounding the Inland Skate Park and Kinsmen Skate Plaza will be live performances that celebrate the many cultures in Medicine Hat, food trucks, beer gardens, bouncy castles, a local market, and a huge product toss in between categories. To accommodate audience members, shaded bleachers are built for a clear, up-close view of the competitors. 

“The whole festival is truly to give back to our community. The last couple of years we’ve done a family festival with Beat the Heat, and we’ve been encouraged to see that grow and expand. This year’s festival will be bigger and better, and an exciting event for our community,” says  Kowalchuk.

Along with Beat the Heat, members of MHSA host many community-focused fundraising events, whether it's organizing litter pick ups, hosting bottle drives for charity, or planning a trip to Mexico to build homes. Their very first fundraising event as an association was to raise money for the Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre.

“Seeing young people step up and doing more than they ever thought possible is so encouraging,” says Kowalchuk. “It’s that reality that when you give young people an opportunity to make a difference, and if you create an environment of trust, respect, and a place to dream and try things, people step up and do things that none of us could accomplish on our own.” 

“One commonality is this piece of wood with wheels. But we’re also this group of skateboarders that do really great things. We’re a part of the original movement, which is the Medicine Hat Skateboard Association,” says James.

Kowalchuk says for a lot of the skateboarders who attend Beat the Heat year after year, some for over 10 years, they say it’s like a family reunion coming to Medicine Hat. A lot of the skateboarders who move from Medicine Hat or travel across the country say there's nowhere else that has a skateboard culture or community like in Medicine Hat.

Stay updated with the Beat the Heat and Kin Coulee Canada Day Festival at

photography by @lens_of_ blizz

watch the Beat the Heat reel here.

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