MIDWEST’S FIRST SANCTIONED DOWNHILL SKATEBOARD RACE COMES TO DOWNTOWN GRAND RAPIDS AS PART OF THE 2014 MEIJER STATE GAMES OF MICHIGAN SUMMER GAMES
Grand Rapids, Mich., June 4, 2014 – On June 21 from 4-8pm, the streets of downtown Grand Rapids will play host to the first sanctioned downhill skateboard race ever held in the Midwest as a part of the 2014 Meijer State Games of Michigan Summer Games. The Urban Downhill Skateboarding event is one of six new additions to the Summer Games’ 2014 lineup.
In addition to expanding the Summer Games’ offerings, organizers envision the event as a celebration of West Michigan’s vibrant skateboard and longboard culture and a way to create new dialogues around legalization of skateboard and longboard commuting in the city of Grand Rapids. In collaboration with the City of Grand Rapids, Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD), 105.3 HOTFM, and other local organizations, organizers hope that the event will create shared value and a sense of understanding between the skateboarding and longboarding community and the community at-large.
“We hope that this event will dispel the stereotype of skateboarders as being a destructive or delinquent force and show people that we want to be involved in the larger community in a positive and supportive way.” said Mike Dallas, Partner of New York City based Bustin Boards Longboard Company. The company is a primary sponsor of the event, and Dallas, a graduate of Aquinas College, is the race’s lead organizer. “We worked closely with city officials and the police department to get everything in order, we’ve already had over 100 participants register, and we’re expecting over 2,500 spectators, so we’re really thinking big in terms of impact.”
Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) is one of the event’s primary sponsors and will serve as the event hub on race day. Rider registration will take place in the atrium of KCAD’s 17 Fountain St. NW building, where there will also be spaces for riders to rest up and enjoy some refreshments.
Riders and spectators alike will have the opportunity to watch a longboard construction demonstration in KCAD’s state-of-the-art Flex Lab. There will also be a screen-printing workshop in which original designs will be created on blank skateboard decks, as well as tables where KCAD students will be exhibiting and selling original artwork.
"We've come to see the skateboarding and longboarding community as an amazing group of passionate and driven individuals, and we're proud to be able to help them connect with the larger community of West Michigan," said Katie Moore, Director of Community Engagement at KCAD. "We're going to activate our campus, our staff, and our students to help make this a multi-faceted event, because we want to engage as many people as possible for the entire day.”
Outside, event sponsors and local businesses will set up merchandise and information tents, and 105.3 HOTFM DJ Wingman will be broadcasting live throughout the day on-location. Spectators of all ages are strongly encouraged to attend this day of good, wholesome family fun!
The course, which will start on Lyon St. east of Lafayette Ave., is one half-mile of urban terrain boasting a 6% grade slope and two 90 degree off-camber turns, a left onto Ransom Ave. from Lyon St. followed by a right onto Fountain St. Riders will finish at the bottom of the Fountain St. hill before Division Ave.
Riders will compete in one of three divisions – beginner, intermediate, or pro – and will race in open elimination four-man heats in which the top two riders in each heat will advance to the next round. Riders must check-in inside the KCAD atrium at 1pm, and can take practice runs down the course from 4-5pm. The official competition will begin at 6pm and run until 8pm.
To participate in the Urban Downhill Skateboarding event, go to stategamesofmichigan.com/grdh to register. Registration is $40 and ends on June 18 at 11:59pm. Helmets are required and knee and elbow pads are strongly recommended.