This Idaho Skater is Doing Amazing Things: T.J. Hughes Skates 45 Miles for Ecuadorian Children


Crooked Fence Brewing and Sidewayz Films Team Up to Document T.J. Hughes’s Amazing 45-Mile Ride from the Idaho City Skate Park to Rhodes Skate Park in Boise

Here at Earthlings Entertainment we’re always looking for ways that we can help out our community, and we’re always looking for others doing the same thing. The other day I checked my Facebook wall, and saw this incredibly inspiring video of a local Idahoan going balls to the wall to help out others. Enter local skater T.J. Hughes.

The beginning of the video helps to tell the story, but some years ago T.J. was followed back to his shop by a kid who just kept talking about skateboarding and how cool it was (T.J. works at The Boardroom in Boise). Seeing that the boy had no shoes on, and knowing that a lot of African refugee families had relocated into his area, T.J. took it upon himself to give the young man an early Christmas present; T.J.’s personal skateboard. “I grew up pretty poor,” T.J. told me over the phone, “so I knew how something like that would have an effect on me.” For the boy, the fresh recipient of a skateboard, this was looking to be the end of a pretty good day. For T.J. this was the beginning of an incredible journey.

That moment inspired T.J. to contribute what he could to an annual charity he was already keen on via a member of his snowboard team. Seeking out boards, trucks, and other skate accessories, he donated what he could to La Roca Skate Church in Quito, Ecuador to help at risk youth. By blasting his social networks, he began raising more every year, until his cause caught the eye of some of his friends over at Crooked Fence Brewing. They threw in their support.

“It was Crooked Fence that took it a step further and hired Sidewayz films to document the whole thing,” he said of the 13 minute video. And take it a step further they did, owing to its minor bloom throughout the social media networks. “Almost 3,000 views… it’s been shared over 100 times to people I don’t even know,” says Hughes. “It’s kind of gone viral.”

“That’s awesome,” I told him, “but what now? I mean is there a way that people can still pledge support even though you’ve already done the ride?”

“Well, that little 13 minute video is kind of the starting point for a bigger project,” he replied. It turns out that Sidewayz wants to make a full documentary about the project from beginning, middle, to end, in order to raise awareness of La Roca in Quito and the work that they’ve been doing with at-risk youth. They are looking to raise $25,000 to film the documentary that is currently dubbed “PUSH”.

“I already have my plane ticket… and a few extra thousand dollars to give them,” said Hughes. But they have not yet reached their goal. They need support from their local community.

“That’s the main thing for me, is just spreading the word and getting it out there.”

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Andy O.

Andy O. is an independent hip-hop artist from Boise, ID and one of the co-founders of Earthlings Entertainment. Follow him on twitter @AndyO_TheHammer and facebook.