The course has been set.
It’s a 13.1-mile route through the heart of Manteca that will give those on skateboards, beach cruisers and even plain old feet a chance to traverse the length of the city and back again.
And it’s all in the name of raising awareness for breast cancer research.
On Saturday, Nov. 3, more than a hundred people are expected to show up at Library Park for Vida Loca Skateboard Company’s annual “Ride the Tide” event that benefits Boarding for Breast Cancer. It is the third year that skate company owner Frank Alvarado has taken his appreciation for the non-profit organization to the next level by hosting his own event.
Through grassroots lobbying Alvarado has been able to secure sponsorship, donations and enough of a following to set his sights on clearing $5,000 for the organization this year.
Just over a month ago Alvarado’s “Paint and Destroy” skateboard art auction raised over $4,000 for the organization that he first discovered when he organized a team and headed to Lake Tahoe to “Skate the Lake” in the name of a friend that was diagnosed with, and would ultimately succumb to, cancer.
The memory of that longtime friend – who was able to be at the finish line when he crossed it that first year – is still very much with him, and the disease has also managed to wreak its havoc on his own family this year.
“I have an aunt – my Mom’s sister – that was diagnosed and is fighting it right now,” Alvarado said. “I see the effects of it every day. The chemo and the radiation and her losing her hair. In a sense my Mom is fighting it too – I see her crying and see her kids fighting it as well. And they’re struggling financially while going through all of this.
“This whole group of people is affected by one lady’s cancer. And I’ve had enough. I’ve seen enough. This is a way to get involved and do something about it.”
Alvarado has a few twists that he’s throwing into the mix this year.
After tapping into his skate-world contacts he has pieced together enough people to actually race the route – pulling in longboard riders from Lake Tahoe, Angels Camp and Southern California to tackle the task.
Mantecan Scott McClellan will represent the community trying to roll across the entire 13.1 miles last week in just over 55 minutes.
And while Alvarado’s friends in the industry had no problem throwing their support behind what has become a well-regarded event in the Central Valley skating community, getting everything pieced together wasn’t quite as easy.
Because it has grown as much as it has, getting the permits and the insurance squared away with the City of Manteca was more than what Alvarado thought it would ever be.
He credits city staffer Lana McBroom for making it easier for him to clear the necessary hoops.
“There was so much that went into it this year – getting a risk assessment and all of the permits. If it wasn’t for her (McBroom) I’m not sure I would have had the patience to tackle it all,” Alvarado said. “I’ve gotten a lot of support from people close to me and people in the local skateboarding industry and that has helped this grow into what it is.
“The bigger companies don’t want to have anything to do with you, but you really get to know the people at smaller, more local companies – especially in Northern California. And whether it was a board or T-shirts or stickers or printing or even time, they’ve really stepped up and helped out.”
The event itself – scheduled for rain-or-shine on Saturday – will be sponsored by Vida Loca Skateboards, Lotus Longboards, Orangutang Wheels, Fayuca Skateboards, Kingpin Skateshop, American Icon, Say Grace Catering, Jenn Guerrero Photography and Tahoe Longboards.
Registration – which begins at 9 a.m. at the gazebo in Library Park – will be handled by representatives from the Central Valley Am-Jam. Entrants are asked to cover a $25 donation for their participation, and additional donations will be accepted. Participants will be given a T-shirt, entered into raffles for prizes and welcomed to a BBQ following the event.
The group will be departing promptly at 10 a.m.