Student organization ‘Red Cup Shred’ holds local longboarding race

 Participants in the first ever “Red Cup Shred Cup”  begin the race in front of Central Michigan University’s Celani Hall. (David Oltean | Grand Central Magazine)

A league of longboarders raced across Mount Pleasant Saturday for registered student organization Red Cup Shred’s first organized race.

The event, dubbed the “Red Cup Shred Cup,” began on Central Michigan University’s campus near Celani Hall and ended in Mount Pleasant’s Island Park. About 30-40 longboarders from all over Michigan were in attendance for the event, and some completed the cross-city contest in less than 15 minutes.

The three-mile push race, which began just after noon, was the first of two longboarding events held on the day, as attendees car-pooled to a neighborhood near Canadian Lakes for a downhill race later in the day.

The event marked the first planned race for Red Cup Shred, and many prominent longboarding companies endorsed the event. Sponsors included longboard companies such as Action Board Sports, Fireball Wheels, Loaded Boards, Orangatang Wheels, Longboard 4 Less and others.

After the push race, prizes were awarded to each of the top three overall riders, female riders and participants under the age of 18. Many attendees received items from a raffle as well, including decks, wheels, apparel, coupons, banners and other goodies.

Ortonville senior Dan Arney, vice president of Red Cup Shred, said the organization has planned to put on a push race for about a year, and finally got plans underway after contacting sponsors.

“The ‘Red Cup Shred Cup’ has been an idea we’ve had set up for about a year,” Arney said. “Over the summer, we started to put it in motion and actually go for it. We spread the word on Facebook and through word of mouth and started getting pretty excited when we started getting some sponsors.”

Arney said the student organization was formed last year to allow students to connect to other CMU longboarders, though this is the first racing event the group has hosted.

Grand Rapids native Nate Moore, the push race winner,  said he has dedicated himself to long-distance longboarding for two and a half years. Moore credited his longboarding endurance to the strong mentors he has had while riding for Bees Knees Skathletics and Sweet Spot Wheels.

“I just push. I’m a huge distance guy, so races like these are fun and not so bad,” Moore said. “…I just wanted to come here and have fun and do well for my sponsors, but I’m definitely psyched to be able to come in first.”

East Lansing resident Peter Croce is the marketing manager of Action Board Sports, one of the event’s sponsors. Croce said he never expected to work in the skating industry for a living, but has found success since his company opened late last year.

“I’m really excited. I started skating about five years ago, and there were never any events at all,” Croce said. “Now, it seems like there’s an event every weekend and we just had a downhill race in Ann Arbor last weekend.”

Beaverton junior Loryn Roberson, one of the founding members of Red Cup Shred, said she bought a longboard when she graduated from high school and enjoys boarding as a hobby and for transportation. Roberson said she worked with Arney and other CMU longboard enthusiasts last year to start a student group dedicated to the sport.

“We went to the student life office last year to see if there was a longboarding club, and there wasn’t one,” Roberson said. “We knew a lot of other riders were trying to do the same thing, so we collaborated and worked on making one  and actually named it after the red cup we had on our Facebook group.”

Roberson said longboarding with the club has become one of her favorite activities, though she’s often stuck riding with boys and pushing herself to keep up. However, Roberson said it hasn’t discouraged her from her four-wheeled passion.

“It’s hard riding with boys always because I’m so competitive,” Roberson said. “Let’s face it: I can’t do some of the stuff they can do, but it’s still a lot of fun to push myself to get better.”