2015 State Games of Michigan: Grand Rapids Urban Downhill
Mike Dallas has been working for years to bring a unique, sanctioned, skateboard event for years. This June, Mike was successful in not only launching a 2nd annual Meijer State Games of Michigan and the Grand Rapids Urban Downhill Skateboarding event, he grew the event and showed the State and riders why sanctioned events can work to bring everyone together for a great time and a ton of skateboarding. Words by Mike Dallas, Photos by Khaleeq Alfred
Saturday June 27, 2015 marked the 2nd annual Meijer State Games of Michigan and the Grand Rapids Urban Downhill Skateboarding event in the central downtown district of Grand Rapids, presented by Bustin Boards & Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. State Games of Michigan staff assisted in obtaining permits and coordinating event logistics to properly shut down three of the best hills Downtown Grand Rapids.
Downhill Skateboarding was as the 40th event of the Michigan State Games in 2014. The GRDH urban course is 1 half-mile city-blocks on a 7% grade track that starts at the crest of Lyon Hill, drops to an off-camber fast corrugated concrete 90-degree left onto Ransom Avenue then another 90-degree right onto Fountain St. crash corner. GRDH offered skaters 2 hours of freeride & 2 hours of competition, we ran heats of 4, for the Ladies, Grom & Open classes.
The event was a good time for skaters and spectators. 105.3 HOT FM broadcasted LIVE from crash corner and hundreds of unique spectators showed up to check out the action. GRDH is in a super-urban environment that draws people in + the closed in feel of the buildings around you make the course feel a lot quicker. There was a decent crash rate at both regular and goofy corners but no serious injuries and no closed course time. The 4-hour format was cool because skaters got plenty of time to get in solo and group runs. The course was lined with spectators all day.
GRDH is a fun, quick track that isn’t a pain to climb, and spikes your heart rate on the descent. Off-Camber corners and unique concrete/asphalt patterns designed for winter road traction add a couple degrees of difficulty on the track but the speed of the course is pretty consistent, around 39avg. Last year’s finals heat was clocked at 43mph into crash corner. Team Bustin dominated the Open divison, and swept Gold in all classes.
We created 2 courses for the 2013 presentation to the State Games Committee & City of Grand Rapids. A 2.5mi PUSH course and half-mile DH track. The DH race was a smash hit during the presentation, the city was stoked. Our push course concept was appreciated & considered but logistically not affordable. The cost of hosting an urban push event, closing streets, hiring officers, paying for meter hoods, general dumb shit, and barricades – shit’s not cheap. So we decided to only add DH to the 2014 State Games roster.
I tried with the PUSH again in 2015 but the costs were scary, and we decided to throw an old-skool underground distance push – like the old days. We Advertised the event casually thru Facebook, which has been very effective before. Chicago’s finest Joe Mazzone showed up, I showed up – we placed 1 & 2 in an 11.2mi Distance Push, respectively. The only 2 who really wanted it showed up, and we got dope medals. The bronze is chillin’ in my glove box. ……..Challengers for next year?
We closed registration at 110 skaters 2 years in a row for the GRDH, pretty consistent numbers – despite hosted the same weekend as Maryhill Festival of Speed & Electric Forest Music festival. 25 sponsorships and 110 registrations closed the $14,000 price tag to host an urban downhill in GR. Fortunately, we are a Signature event of the West Michigan Sports Commission so we can offset costs here and there. No podium cash, but that’s the #waceygoes, eh? Skate for FUN.
2nd Jay Holst
3rd Thomas Mueller
2nd Megan Seibyl
3rd Marissa Kall
2nd Toti Motocicleta
3rd David Driscoll
GRDH went smooth as F&$^! Huge respect to Annah Dallas, Scott Barger, Tribe Boys, Team Bustin, Wingman, Alex Throop, Benson’s dad, Larissa and everyone who stepped up to the plate. We did it, we did it.
Huge thanks to Bustin Boards, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc, Tribe Supply Company, Rey Trucks, Five-O Wheel Company, Sugar Urethane, Action Board Shop, Wind Waves & Wheels, Serendipiti, Skate Slate, HOT-FM, Wingman, Wheelbase, Loaded, Orangatang, IDSA, Roy Designs, Longboard Loft NYC, Concrete Wave, Michigan Roots Wear & Grand Rapids E-Liquid.