The Mississippi River will never be the same after the Red Bull Mississippi Grind barrels through it with a huge barge housing five pro skaters -- including Luis Tolentino, Joey Brezinksi, Ronnie Creager and Kenny Anderson -- along with five small-town skaters, as they all trek down America’s largest river system performing skate demos and host local qualifying competitions.
The final stop will happen in New Orleans, where the skate park and its ramps will be donated to the city to help provide a quality park for all its skaters.
“A couple of years ago, we all joked about floating a skate park down the river to New Orleans. A few months passed, and all of the sudden our idea was an actual concept, something on paper. And then our concept became something solid,” stated Benji Meyer, local Minnesotan skater. “It's surreal. It's a total trip to be standing here on something that was just a dream.
During the ensuing 28-day adventure, the 195-foot-long barge that houses the park departed from the Twin Cities and will make stops in Davenport, Iowa, and St Louis, Missouri. Each stop will be action-packed with skate demos from world-class Red Bull and Converse athletes, as well as local qualifying competitions.
In each of the four ports, Saturday afternoons will be dedicated “Ticket to Ride” shop sessions open to local skate shops in each market, and Sunday’s are reserved for “Ticket to Grind” competitions, and a final skate demo. Two top skaters from each port will win a ticket to vie for a $3,000 cash prize at the final “Ticket to Grind” competition in New Orleans.
In order to create the most important element of Red Bull Mississippi Grind, Red Bull recruited renowned skate park builders Spohn Ranch to develop the course, which includes a hubba ledge, a bank to many pad and double stair set. In addition, designer Mark Leski aka “the Wizard” is calling on his 20-plus years of skate park construction experience, as well as his heritage as the son of a Mississippi River towboat captain -- to create additional obstacles along the way.
The journey will also be partnering with another boat -- Living Lands and Waters’ barge, which will support harbor and water cleanup projects between Minneapolis and St. Louis alongside the skate park barge.
New Orleans provides the obvious final destination for Red Bull Mississippi Grind, both in terms of geography and of supporting skateboard culture. A three day celebration on October 7 to 9 in New Orleans will mark the climax of Red Bull Mississippi Grind, with the final ceremony dedicated to Red Bull giving the skate structure to the City of New Orleans.
“We’re happy that Red Bull is showing a commitment to the people of New Orleans by donating skate ramps that will help us create a skate park,” says Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “This is going to raise the bar of the type of recreational programming that we’re offering, while at the same time help our young people find another way to stay physically active and out of trouble.”
Follow Red Bull on Twitter for the latest news, updates and exclusive info.