It was a beautiful day Saturday to take a walk in the park, ride a bike or maybe even longboard. Many people rolled their way to the Idaho Falls Greenbelt River for the Bonneville Youth Development Council and Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation’s first longboarding races.
“It’s truly just a pivotal point where it’s one more program that we’re able to offer to the community and reach a new demographic,” said Chris Horsley, the recreation superintendent.
The sport is something that the city noticed is becoming quite popular.
“My office is right across the road from the river walk,” Horsley said. “Every day, May through October, we just see longboarder after longboarder.”
Many longboarding enthusiasts agree, too, that it is something picking up around the area.
When longboarders heard about the races, many got to practicing right away.
“I’ve been practicing,” said 12-year-old Ausian McGaffery. “I’ve been riding around the block in my neighborhood multiple times and just trying to get speed.”
There are three age brackets, including middle school, high school and adults. The first-, second- and third-place winners in each bracket will receive prizes.
Many of the longboarders hope to walk away from the races with some top prizes, like gift cards from local businesses.
However, the Bonneville Youth Development Council hopes that young people also walk away from the event with something even more.
“Vaping among teens is extremely high in Idaho,” said Mallory Johnson, the community coordinator for the Bonneville Youth Development Council. “We want to educate them.”
The Bonneville Youth Development Council’s mission is to reduce substance abuse among teens in Bonneville County.
“A lot of time, (teens) don’t know what is in the substances,” Johnson said. “They think it’s just the flavoring or it’s just this, but there are a lot of harmful chemicals besides nicotine.”
The Bonneville Youth Development Council hopes that whoever they were able to speak with, they can provide them with more knowledge about what vaping can do to their bodies.
“We want to let them know that they have such a bright future in front of them and to become addicted to a substance just stunts that,” Johnson said.