Carving a Culture in Springfield.
On May 5, 2012, I went to cover the “Push for the Park” longboard race that was held to benefit the Springfield Skate Park in Springfield, Mo. Springfield is smack dab in the middle of the Midwest, but I felt like I was back in Carlsbad, Calif. There were skaters everywhere! The turnout was amazing. I knew right then I was here to cover more than a longboard race, I was here to show how longboarding was already winning the race. As I made my way across the parking lot, it felt like I was at a tailgate party before a big concert. I met Matt and Joe from Kansas City and Steve from St. Louis; I met Bills going down hills and long beards on longboards. Everyone was getting fired up and hanging out.
It was so awesome to see the spark had landed in my home town. I grew up here and, honestly, the vibe was never this thick. I talked with Sean Melton, one of the founders of the Springfield Longboard Club and organizer of this event. He was stoked; more than 100 longboarders had came from all over the state to represent. Melton had successfully launched the first annual SPFD longboard race. As I talked with Sean, I could feel his passion for longboarding. Sean and his band of gypsies were riding the concrete wave that is sweeping the nation and they were representing it well.
Longboarding is becoming the foundation of so many communities from coast to coast. I have seen longboarders all over this country; now I was longboarding in the country. Growing up in the Midwest, I always knew we were a few steps behind for the next big thing, from clothing to music. My wife and I have three amazing children; we are all longboarders, that’s how we roll. This longboard race was so much more than just another skate event. To me it is a sign that the entire world is finally getting on the same page from young to old. Longboarding is rolling into every town, city, state, province and country.
Events just like this one are popping up all over the world. The amount of support for longboarding is gaining momentum like an avalanche coming down a mountain. Where will you be when the crest peaks? Riding the waves or sitting on the sand watching the world roll by? Grab your longboard and carve it up. The race is on.
Some other important wave makers of this event include Dave Parker, founder of Hellbender Longboards, a local longboard manufacturer (check ’em out on Facebook); Brian Oliver, owner of Classic Boards skate shop for 14 years; Jess Heugel, owner of Landlock Boards; Curtis and Christy Claybaker for holding down the fort and giving up your pad for all the great backyard bonfires. And a shout out to Bill Angus: You made me realize the Midwest is not just about hillbillies – it’s about Bills on hills. Thanks for all your energy and dedication. Keep carving those concrete waves.