I could write a generic piece about how we have underground shredders here who should be pro! However, every town in every country that has pavement suffers from that same dilemma. The truth is, unless you want to move to killer Cali sleep on couches for five years and pay more dues than a teamster, you will never become a skater of notoriety. I am instead going to help you taste the land a bit. So, if you find yourself ever on a lonely highway east of Omaha. We hope that you might swing by and say howdy to us.
Just as in every city there is a rich and vibrant skate history. Many of the recent anthropological studies show that a large portion of documented human history is due to accent tribes scribing and inking their crests and insignias in caves and on totem poles. No matter if it was the Normans in the UK. Or the Hopei tribe in the southwest of the united states tribes are important.
Here is a list of some of the well documented tribes of Cedar Rapids skateboarding.
Hog town boys - Active years 1975 to 1982
Ron and Steve Day, Jay Maroney, Don Hindman, Brad Mahoney and Kevin Kacer.
These guys shredded everything from their home built backyard half pipes to jumping the fence at the Cherry Hill pool to the Jefferson High School loading dock. They were on point like Tattoo in Fantasy Island with locating spots to shred.
Here is a brief synopsis of those years from one of the founding members, Steve Day!
Jay Maroney moved from California to Cedar Rapids in 1975. He brought with him his blue aluminum Banzai skateboard with urethane wheels. This got the others interested in skating. After riding Jay's board, Ron Day bought a new red aluminum Banzai deck with California Slalom trucks and Turbo wheels from Ebys Sporting Goods.
The Day Brothers built their first quarter-pipe in 1975 and they built their first half-pipe in 1977. This was known as the Hogtown Ramp. It was 10-ft tall, 8-ft wide with no flat bottom and had about 1-ft of vert. Rick Loeffler built his half-pipe on 1st Ave SW around 1980. It was about 16-ft tall and had about 4-ft of vert. It also had a very long and steep roll-in. The 11th St NW Ramp was built around 1984. Eventually the homeowner moved and the ramp was cut up into sections, moved and reassembled just off the Hwy 100 East exit onto I-380. Many cars would stop on the side of the Hwy 100 exit to watch the skaters. Within a year, the homeowners moved and the ramp was again cut into sections and moved. It was reassembled at Steve Days house on F Ave NW in the mid-80s. The F Ave Ramp was skated until it finally deteriorated and was torn down sometime in the late 90s.
Other ramps we skated - portable quarter-pipe that was on wheels that we pushed to the local elementary school and clamped it to the jungle gym to use as its uprights. Half-pipe in the woods in Hazelton, Iowa. Half-pipe in the hay loft of a barn on West Post Rd SW. Half-pipe built in a daycare parking lot on Bowling St SW.
We also skated the Jefferson High School loading dock a lot. We built a portable extension ramp that clamped onto the docks side curb and then a pickup track was backed up to the dock side to support the top of the ramp. We also skated the empty Cherry Hill Municipal Pool before it was filled with water. It was 12-ft deep with a 4-ft transition and 8-ft of vert. We would scale the 8-ft chain link fence and skate until the police helicopter would arrive. We would scale the fence again and then scatter in the adjoining cornfield so the helicopter could not track us.
There was an asphalt skate park in Davenport but I dont remember its name. I believe it was on Maysville Rd just north of I-80 and must have been around 1979. It had lots of moguls and some bowls but it did not have any vert. There was wooden half-pipe in Iowa City off Lower Muscatine. This ramp was used in the Midwest Amateur Ramp Series (M.A.R.S.) contest tour around 1984. There was also a huge metal half-pipe in Iowa City but I dont think it was around for long due to noise complaints by the neighbors. We also made the drive to Mt Pleasant to skate in the huge half-pipe that Jim Dosh built in the hayloft of his friends barn.
Team Goad - Active years 1986 to 1996
Dan Rodgers who was from nearby Tipton was the forefront of coverage for the team Goad. He soon moved out west and the rest was history, he became a pro and went far. However, Team Goad produced underground legends such as the twins, Steve and Chris, and Jim Dosh. Other members included Andy Caffrey, Hazzard, Scott Wood, Darren McCabe, Kurt C., and the owner of Linn Skates Vince Kral. There are so many members who still show up it would take a phone book to list them all. Sorry if I did not mention you. No disrespect, you all rock. Skateboarding and I thank you all for your contribution to local shredding.
Team Goad got their name from egging each other on in a crass manner by almost verbally sticking a pitch fork into someones back to get them to try a trick. They had zero qualms about heckling and ostracizing someone if they did not put in 100 percent at a spot. Team Goad was the founder of many of the skate spots we still skate today. They also got Dale Todd, who ran parks and recreation back in 1998, to get the skate park, which still stands today, built. They made a mark that will live forever in local history. Thanks guys!
Here is a short interview with Jim Dosh about those years.
NS - Tell me about the 1980s in the CR?
JIM - In the 80s Cedar Rapids had a vert scene. There was an Anamosa vert ramp, Bowman Woods had Nicks vert ramp, Linn skate had one. All vert died about 90 or 91, just like everywhere. This guy named Hank was a big tattoo guy, he skated vert, he was friends with Dan Rodgers and Darren McCabe.
NS - I heard Vince started up Linn Skates fresh out of high school. How did an 18-year-old get the startup capital for an indoor skate park?
JIM - No, Vinces parents had money. They helped him. It didn't make too much money, but it was the best place! Vinces Mom used to like run the shop, and baby sit like 40 of us little skate groms, ha ha!
NS - What was your first set up?
JIM - Christmas 87 I got a Varaflex Rude Dog graphic. That was my first board. Christmas 87 was the start for a lot of skaters, because of the movies, like Back to the Future, Police Academy and Thrashing. After going to Kar City skate shop, I got a big Santa Cruz sticker to put on that Varaflex, so skaters didn't know it was cheap board. Ha HA.
NS - Who were some of your influences? and what was the terrain of choice for you early on?
JIM - When I first started, I built ramps by myself in the basement of my house. I just learned to kick turn. Then I built launch ramps in the drive way. My first influence was just thrasher and TWS Mags, later 88 and 89, I started to get skate videos from Kar City. Sick Boys, Powell videos, Santa Cruz Reason for Living. That influenced me, to skate like the guys in the videos, or just pretend I could. In junior High school at Linn Mar, there were only five or six skaters, and we were outcasts. You get heckled for skating. But I belonged. Are parents would drive us to Davenport to Rampage skate park, or to each others houses. In high school, things changed because Linn Skate park was close to me. That became like our club house. Also in high school, Blind Video Days happened!!! and World Industries as well as Rubbish Heap, now we all learned to street skate. That was big.
NS - So liberally speaking, your influences were Guy, Rudy and Gonz?
JIM - We all just wanted to be Matt Hensley first, then Guy and Jason Lee, then Pat Duffy.
NS - So if Cedar Rapids had and EMB where would it be?
JIM - Ollie Ville was like our EMB. But when it was going off, I was too young to drive, I was a little bit isolated living out by Linn Mar. Those city kids had each other to learn with, but I was stuck at home building ramps. We all emulated Jeremy Klein.
NS - Rad! Who was the most like Jeremy in your crew? Who loved to light fireworks off buildings snap others decks cause a ruckus?
JIM - My best friend Jeff and I used to hi jinx a little like Jeremy, but I think it was more just his skating.
NS - Who were some of the local bands in Cedar Rapids back then that you guys liked to jam to as you skated?
JIM - Linn Skate would have local bands play shows. but I don't remember much. My senior year, we went to see Nirvana in Davenport, that was a good memory. Come to think of it, I was a little isolated where I lived, before I could drive. I was just a skate video kid. Like I watched skate videos a lot. Alien Workshop Memory Screen was a big influence. Like the art side of skating (Neil blender) We loved the band Dinosaur Jr. That was big to us. Dead milkmen, Dead Kennedys, and Dinosaur Jr. I thought Thats what skaters listen to, But later videos like Plan B shows us hip hop like Hieroglyphics, souls of Mischief, those videos introduced us to lots of music. in the 90s like Da La Soul And Tribe called Quest too.
NS - Living in Orange County now have you ran into Colin Slew, who relocated to LA from here?
JIM - Not yet, I have not met Colin, thats rad
NS - What were your favorite spots back in the 1990 to 1992?
JIM - Marion had a few spots to skate. We would wax the Breton Bank. We would skate neighborhood mini ramps and find little spots in Marion. The Cedar Rapids kids had the whole city.
NS - Where did the shredders hang out? Like where did you guys go eat after a street session? Where did you guys link up to go skate before you skated?
JIM - Well we would almost live at Linn Skate park when I was in high school, we would eat candy there and skate all day. From there we would go skate street somewhere. Linn Skate was the meeting place.
NS - I know youre a faith based skater, was that hard in a city that resembles the town in Hobo with a Shotgun?
JIM - Yes, I grew up in Church with my Family. We went to First Baptist church in Marion. I stayed out of trouble because of skating. In high school, some friends started drugs and drinking, But I wanted to skate all day.
NS - Has Cedar rapids always been as grim as Sodom and Gomorra? I do not mean to rant! I however have lived in major cities my entire life. Portland, Los Angeles and San Diego. As well as a summer in San Francisco. I shit you negative I never have seen this amount of back stabbing inside the brotherhood and sisterhood of skateboarding ever in my entire three decades in skating. I have witnessed and had to endure a lot of adversity in this town. Dudes here are cold as ice and have no care for anybody but themselves. It is like the entire city is a giant cell block and nobody gets along at all. Have the skaters here always wanted to kill all the other skaters here rather than have comradery?
JIM - I'm so sorry to hear about the problems. I think the skaters there don't realize what a gift it is to have you there!!! Are kids just closed off to the world, not knowing that if people like you weren't there to help, there would be no scene at all. Makes me sad. Bums me out, wish I could support you.
NS - No stress bro. To me it is pure comedy. I am a 40-year-old dude trying to keep skating alive in a time of scooters, BMX bikes, video games and electric longboards. Meanwhile I get beat down every time I try to help anybody out.
JIM - I would not blame you if quit the shop, I am so sorry, Cedar Rapids does not deserve you man.
NS - No stress man I will wave the black flag and sail till the ship sinks. I can adapt and overcome anything. Enough about me, I have one last question. I know it is 3 AM and we both are beat. So, lets cut this off. If you had any advice to give to the current batch of local shredders of Cedar Rapids what would it be?
JIM - My advice, skate for fun, and build your scene by doing it yourself, don't wait for Nate to do it for you. Don't exclude skaters that are different then you, you will have more fun together being cool and helping each other!
NS - Word up Amen to that sir. Thanks Jim! You rock bro.
Okay this next tribe might be the trickiest to write about.
Mobbed Mafia / Slew Crew - 2000 to now
***DISCLAIMER*** So far, anytime I touch the below subject in any shape or form it has almost got my head ripped off. However, I am writing a piece on Cedar Rapids, IA skate history. It would be a grave and untruthful account without the accord of these fine and epic shredders. I fear writing or speaking of these guys just as a cartoonist does when drawing an image of Muhammad. Or when Mario Puzo wrote about the Italian mafia. So, note to all members of the black hand, I am writing this in peace and with all due respect to your set. I am using words I have gathered by many key members. If my sources are wrong take it up with them not me. I am not trying to get in a RICO statute case. So with all due respect and I hope all is well in your world. Disclaimer complete.
One rumor was that this group was called Short Bus, then membership grew and it became Mobbed Mafia and their sidekicks of the enlisted non-officer division branch of the Slew Crew.
Ulysses M. is hands down the most underrated guy in this band. He still rips to this day. He has the technical savvy of the gods of Dwindle Distribution with the guts and stunts of Tum Yeto. However, he was slept on because the skate industry at times is not on point. The guy made a mark however on local skate lore that will surpass all who were before and after his reign. So many huge gaps and rails that he has killed that I view on my way to work daily and I say, Damn, that dude is raw! Huge props to you Uly! Long live Uly!
Eric Fletcher - the most famous skater to ever spawn from Cedar Rapids. He traveled the world as a sponsored shredder for over a decade plus. He lived the dream to the fullest. He has had his career checkered by several injuries, and we wish him a great come back and recovery. Figgy had a great quote about aging, We all have an expiration date on our glory years of skating and at times it is hard to fight that. But one must keep going until we cannot walk or talk no more.
Other noted shredders:
Joe Bonin - Teck master and edit and film king
Phil Taylor - Tall and burly
Roo Poc - Raw as Shushi
Travis M - lip slides and huge ollies for miles
Dillard - King of style
Paul M - fast and solid
Nick P - moved to PB and shreds the gnar out west
Sean H - no comply mastermind
Bubba - Has a kid and lives in Missouri some place super solid all around king
And many others I am sorry if I missed you
Members of the enlisted division of the Slew:
Colin Heartgrave aka Colin Slew who is now in LA riding for New balance and Grizzly and Deathwish. He is making his dream real. Traveling the globe, shredding with all his heros and making cash. Congrats Colin.
Brandon Whalen, Dallas Thurston, Jake Junge, Tommy Slew, Nick Slew and a grip of other people who changed their last name to Slew. There are several others in the slew crew, however just like above, it might take forty pages to list them. And I fear listing anyone who is no longer in so I do not get more Flack than Roberta. If any of the above are past and not present members I am deeply sorry.
Check out their videos, all three chapters are epic. They made a great impact not only on Cedar Rapids skating but as well the world stage. Great work guys and all due respect to the Mafia and the Slew.
Wizard Lyfe - 2009 to 2014
Dylan Christenson - Super huge front side flips and huge pop on anything.
Ryan Miller - All around king of anything you put in front of him. He can hard flip back tail a ledge then do a big spin flip to backside D revert on a mini, then go pop shove out of a wall ride at some ruff and messed up spot, then do a tuck knee over a gap. Not to mention Slappy to board slide a Hubba like Jason Adams.
Elliott Wright - Super rad dude moved to hollarado and is married. Has a perfect krooked grind to nollie flip out. He as well can nollie flip to lip slide a park rail.
Shawn B - Huge beard shreds hard and is way humble and kind.
Jerod Schmidt - Super epic shredder. Best front feeble in town, has epic tail slides. Can skate it all. He cracks jokes. Loves Zen writers and is vegan as fuck. He loves smoking a pipe of fine cherry tobacco and drink salad water.
Other members - A grip of dudes who moved to Colorado.
Team Generic - 2011 to 2014
Dom Dominguez - Super funny should be in stand up.
Blade Hanson - Super bad ass on flat bars.
The Catch 22 Crew - 2012 to about 2015
These dudes rip. Check out the link.
Of course, there are loads of independent contractors who have no tribal sets to claim here. Many of them moved onto states where weed is legal. Like Colorado, Washington and Oregon. Many of them are straight edge and just followed their own path and you see them around still. So many young cats are shredding the streets in CR daily. It would take a lifetime to write about all of them. Here are some links of those who keep it real in the battlefield. Guys like Brandon Mayor, Nate Subbert, Jody Carney, Clayton Weaver, Garrett O, plus countless others!
Independent Contractors - Over the Years
Adam Miller - A native son of Cedar Rapids who spent the last eight years keeping this place on the map. For close to a decade he has dominated the Cedar Rapids skate scene. Winning almost every sanctioned event that has been held in the past six years. He only lost one to be exact - a game of skate with RDM. He won the TV show Trashin with Richie Jackson and he had a viral video with over 3 million views on the Ride Channel. Plus, he has dropped more jaw dropping footage than 90 percent of the skate industry combined. From kick flip hippy hops over 10 stairs to tech combat like front side 180 fakie mannys to front side big spin late flips out. He has killed it all. Do not forget that he can toss himself down giant dub kink rails as well like this 50 50 grind on a seven flat seven he did after a hard shift at the grocery store he worked at.
If Adam grew up in Los Dangerous, he would be making $20,000 a month riding for three stripes or the swoosh and collecting another ten to fifteen grand a month from deck, truck, wheel, back pack, energy drink, sunglass, grip tape, and bearing sponsors. Check out some of his footage:
Another noted shredder who is up and coming is Dallas Heimstra. This dude shreds and is a super positive and rad force in the Cedar Rapids skate community. He just got on the Push Skateboards team (a local deck brand from nearby Iowa City). Dallas is climbing that ladder of shred. We hope to see him as a household name. Props and respect to you and your fam bro.