by Michael Todd
Mike Smith says music helps him escape the reality of how hard this mission is. With more than 200 miles behind them but just less than half of the full trip left to Lincoln, Smith and his Skate the State crew need music to keep them going down the highway.
Each mile the eight-person crew skates or bikes — with Hear Nebraska's Angie Norman motoring down the road, too — represents more progress made toward reaching their goal: raising $40,000 to help build a state-of-the-art skate park in Lincoln, one that will also feature a youth art gallery and concert venue.
— Mike Smith(@mikesmithlive) June 15, 2012
Smith, the founder of the nonprofit Bay 198 Skatepark and Skate for Change, doesn't need to say anything to communicate his passion — his sore body can do the talking — but as he just passed North Platte, he explains, "I get excited about engaging kids and giving them a positive outlet. Whether it's young bands having a place to play, young artists having a place to do art, with this skate park, I will know that I know where they’re not, what trouble they’re not getting into."
Smith says everything closes at 9 p.m., and although parents and others tell kids to do something worthwhile, there aren't many opportunities late at night provided to them. As the crew has rolled through small towns, stopped in gas stations, they've been told they're nuts — "I don't think I could go 9 feet on a skateboard," one man told Smith. Still, everyone's receptive of the idea, Smith says, and it's the support and the music that fuel the so-called insanity.
What does Smith listen to? Well, it's likely that he hops around playlists, but here's one he created especially for the trek across Nebraska. To donate to Skate the State 2, go here or click on the PayPal link above:
Michael Todd is Hear Nebraska's managing editor. He once ran cross country but nowadays gets sore muscles from sitting cross-legged. Reach him at email@example.com.