By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
Imperial native Mike Smith
is on another adventure to raise money for his Bay 198 indoor skate park in Lincoln.
On Sunday he and four companions left Scottsbluff to “Skate the State,” in the hopes of raising $50,000 for the skate park, which provides a place for youth to be creative, have fun and see positive role models.
The group will travel Hwy. 26 to Ogallala, then Hwy. 30 to Grand Island, followed by Hwy. 34 into the state capitol in Lincoln.
Smith said he hopes to travel 50-60 miles per day, completing the trip on this coming Sunday.
Accompanying him will be Imperial native Andy Norman and his wife Angie, as well as Phil Burcher of Precision Skateboards and professional skateboarder Steve Andel.
Smith said Norman will skate as well as film a documentary, which will be used “as an extension for the fund raiser.” Angie will man the support vehicle.
Norman created the nonprofit HearNebraska.org, which promotes the state’s music, arts and culture.
“We’ve had over 1,000 kids use the park since we opened five months ago,” Smith said. Admission is $5 for four hours, and many kids can only afford to attend once a week.
“The reality is that most kids can’t afford it,” Smith pointed out. “I’m torn because we have to pay our bills but we want to help kids.”
He said youth come from North Platte and Grand Island to experience the direction given to skateboarders, both physically and emotionally.
Persons wishing to donate may view www.skatethestate.com, which will also provide updates of the trip.
Smith said all four skaters will roll along all 400 miles of the trip. Asked about weather delays, “A little rain never hurt anybody. We’re pretty committed.”
Smith’s last fund raising venture was sleeping under a bridge in Lincoln, which raised $10,000 for the skate park and its scholarship program for youth in the area.