O'Rourke honored

Peter O'Rourke, who died earlier this year, is pictured at Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, where he and his brother, Andrew, often spent their summers in their youth. Andrew has organized a skateboard contest and concert for Oct. 17 to honor Peter's memory and raise money for Neartown Recovery.

MURRAY – A Murray man is organizing a skateboard contest and music concert next month to memorialize the life and accomplishments of his late brother.

Organizer Andrew O’Rourke said the event – which he is calling Pete3Fest – is set for Oct. 17 at Murray-Calloway County Central Park. The skateboard contest will be from 1-4 p.m. at the Murray Lions Club Skatepark in the southwest portion of Central Park, and the concert will follow at the Rotary Club of Murray Performing Arts Pavilion from 4-8 p.m. Andrew said proceeds from the event will go to Neartown Recovery, a local drug and alcohol recovery program in Calloway County.

Andrew said his older brother, Peter F. O’Rourke III, died in his sleep in April at the age of 43. He said Peter was a Presidential Scholar and graduate of Murray State University. Andrew said they both grew up in Murray and he moved back over two years ago. After his brother died, he said he wanted to do something for the community that would honor his memory and do some good.

“I moved back to Murray about 2 1/2 years ago,” Andrew said. “I do a lot of concerts and music stuff, and I wanted to take advantage of that venue (at the park) since it’s outdoors and it seems like a great place to have a contest and concert in Murray. Peter was my older brother, and he passed away in April. He was a big snowboarder and we did some surfing together. Since there’s no mountains or ocean here in Murray, I figured the skate park would kind of be a cool event to do. He was also a DJ, so music was a big part of his life, and I thought (an event involving) the skate park and a concert would definitely be something he would be proud of.

“What a lot of people don’t know is that he worked in clinical research for treatments of cancer and multiple sclerosis, so he was always looking for ways to help people out. He recently went on a trip to Jamaica to bring medical supplies and bring medical staff to low-income areas of Jamaica. So he had a big heart and he was always trying to help people out.

Neartown Recovery opened in the last few years, and Andrew said he was familiar with the good work they do and thought raising money for the organization would be the perfect way to pay tribute to Peter.

“I chose Neartown because I’ve seen firsthand some guys in the program that turned their lives around, and within a few weeks or months have gotten to give back to the community,” Andrew said. “I know the guys there volunteer at Soup for the Soul. Basically, the event is just a message of hope, a message of fellowship, community and just giving back and trying to help other people that are less fortunate.”

Andrew said almost $3,000 had already been raised, and several individuals and businesses had donated prizes for the skateboard contest. He said the event will take place exactly one week after what would have been Peter’s 44th birthday.

“Peter loved action sports and music, and one night I woke up and was just thinking of ways that I could memorialize him and contribute to the community,” he said. “I thought, ‘Well, there’s a skate park and an amphitheater and I know a lot of musicians … It’s all ages and it’s free to attend, so I think it’s going to be a pretty cool event.”

The skateboard contest will have three categories based on age (12 and under, 13-17, 18 and older) and will contain two rounds with local judges. An entry fee of $25 per contestant will be collected and prizes will be given to first, second and third places in each category, which will include donated items from local businesses. The grand prize for Best Overall Skater will be a $250 cash prize.

Two food trucks (Tap 216 and Butts and Racks BBQ) will be selling food at the event. Local DJ Steven Spadafino, who is Andrew and Peter’s cousin, will perform during the contest and four bands will perform afterward at the band shell. Two Louisville-based bands, WiiRMZ (pronounced “Worms”) and Kids Born Wrong, are headlining, while David Pollack (based in both New York City and Portland, Oregon) and The Mammoth String Band from Paducah are also on the bill. A raffle and auction will also be held to add to overall fundraising goals, Andrew said. 

“The event will benefit the park, community, raise awareness about addiction and provide a positive outlet for the local youth,” Andrew added. “We are also taking in consideration any social distancing, personal protection equipment and other government guidelines to ensure a COVID-safe event.”   

Recommended for you