Free gear, hard work and praise for his talent are just part of every day life for sponsored skater Monico Candelaria, a sophomore social work major.
"I dropped a video of me off at The Market, a local skate shop, and later that day the guy called me back and said he liked it, then started asking me my shoe size, my shirt size and stuff," Candelaria said. "I was like, 'Are you serious?'"
For the shop, Candelaria was a clear choice to sponsor.
"We look for good skaters to sponsor, and someone kids can look up to. Monico has a positive attitude and people really like him," said Andy Weiss, co-owner of The Skateboard Market.
"The best part of being sponsored is the free stuff," said Candelaria.
Candelaria has received shoes, shirts, jackets, shoelaces of every color, stickers, posters and everything a skater could want, all for free.
His peers recognize his talents.
"It's hard to compare (skateboarders) because it's an individual thing. Monico has a different style. He's really consistent and lands his tricks. His hand rails are pretty good," said freshman business major Ryan Franzmann, an Advocate Skateboards team member.
Weiss said Candelaria's style is smooth and effortless.
"He makes it look easy and progresses quickly," said Weiss.
Currently, DVS, Matix, The Denver Skate Shop and Advocate Skateboards sponsor Candelaria.
"We just finished the Advocate video and the Denver Shop one is in progress," said Candelaria.
Candelaria said Advocate is a Christian based company, and a lot of their skaters feel "saved." Although he claims not be quite as "into it" as other members, Christianity is still a part of his life.
"I'm stoked on Jesus," he said.
Candelaria started skating second semester of his freshman year of high school.
"I played soccer in New Mexico, but when I came here in high school they told me I needed to do all this registration to play. So, I just got over it and decided to skate," Candelaria said.
"At rail jams we feed off everyone else," he said. "It's cooler skating with my homies than by myself."
Weiss said Candelaria's success as a skater has not gone to his head.
"A lot of good skateboarders develop an ego, and that's usually pretty negative, but Monico's really levelheaded," he said.
Candelaria's talent does not come naturally, but with constant practice. He skateboards an estimated four to five hours a day in the summer and one to two hours during the school year.
"I take the opportunity whenever I can. If I have five to 10 minutes to go skate, I'll do it," he said. "It feels good just to get out there."
Balancing skating with school, his job as a residence assistant and his girlfriend is not easy.
"It's frustrating because he likes skateboarding a lot," said Candelaria's girlfriend Molly Morvay, a sophomore art major, "but we eat together every day. I take my chance whenever he's not skating."
Candelaria considers the highlights of his skating career to be meeting his girlfriend, who works at a skate park, and a trip to Arizona in 2004 with other Advocate boarders.
"We all piled in the van and drove there. We got to skate in Tucson, Phoenix and Utah. It was really fun," he said.
However, not everything about skating has been fun for Candelaria.
"Once I hit a crack when I was on some stairs and fell back on my wrist. I broke an important bone, dislocated ligaments and the impact chipped my elbow," he said.
In the future, Candelaria plans to spread his love for skating.
"I want to help others to be able to skate, by opening a shop or something. It's a good outlet for those not into team sports because you can move at your own pace. It's the most rewarding thing I've done," he said.
Slowing down anytime soon is not in the cards for Candelaria.
"I know there's absolutely no way I'll actually go anywhere, but I plan to skate until the day I die. I'll be riding bowls in a wheel chair when I'm 90," he said.