Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan — May 5, 2014 — This could be a big year for Pete Betti.
Fresh off a win in the 2013 Philadelphia National Freestyle Championship’s amateur division, the 18-year-old skateboarder from New Jersey is heading to the World Freestyle Round-Up in Vancouver this month to compete against skaters from Japan, Germany, the U.S. and Brazil. And if things work out, he’ll be going pro this fall.
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It could be a big year for Temptation Skateboards too. That’s because the Trenary-based startup is Betti’s sponsor, and when he gets to Vancouver, he’ll be riding their boards.
An editor at the Porcupine Press and a freestyle skateboarder himself, owner John Colley began hand-printing boards in his garage as a hobby. In contrast to vertical skateboarding made famous by Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero and others, freestyle skateboarders practice their craft on flat pavement and, crucially, they never let their feet touch the ground.
“I’ve heard some people refer to some of the tricks as being similar to watching ballet,” Colley said.
Colley’s two-year-old venture is gaining steam, largely thanks to his association with Betti.
“Once Pete joined us last September, with his help and spreading the word on Facebook, his name is recognized, and we have a small following,” Colley said.
He’s using the moment to do more than sell boards. On May 5, he debuted a new design whose sale will benefit people struggling with hunger in the Upper Peninsula.
Every purchase will send $5 to Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank’s branch in Sault Ste. Marie, which serves Alger, Luce, and Chippewa counties. One in seven people in the Upper Peninsula struggle to afford all the food they need, a situation Colley knows personally.
“When I first moved up here, I had to rely heavily on the Bridge Card,” Colley said, referring to Michigan’s food assistance program, “and we’re established well enough as a family to where I thought if I can do something to give back and to help the people around here, what better way?”
Temptation’s new board features an undead chef posing with a rather unsavory plat du jour and a cookbook titled “Feeding America.” The macabre imagery is more than just a skateboarding trope, as Colley explained: “You’ve heard the phrase, ‘he’s nothing but skin and bones.’”
Despite a rather meager economic recovery, Colley says people in his community remain hopeful, especially now that the end of winter is bringing seasonal work back to the area, along with a new season for skateboarding.
Meanwhile, Pete Betti is getting ready for the World Round-Up and looking forward to spending time with skaters at the height of their craft.
“I think the World Round-Up is a great competition to catch up with some of the world’s best flatground skateboarders …,” he said. “I think I’ll do pretty good in the contest, but because it’s my first time competing there, I have no idea what to expect.”
To check out some videos of Betti in action or purchase a board to benefit Feeding America West Michigan, visit temptationskateboards.com.