Risen board shop owner Nate Gusman (right), son Nixon, and family are working to build a brighter future for the skating community in Winnemucca.
Risen board shop owner Nate Gusman (right), son Nixon, and family are working to build a brighter future for the skating community in Winnemucca.
A group of local like-minded skaters are working to shape the culture of skateboarding in a positive and community-focused way in Winnemucca by holding a skate competition, “Skate Saturdays” and encouraging skaters to be respectful of their community. 

Risen Board Shop Owner Nate Gusman has been leading intentional efforts of skating and kindness with hopes to help the community grow in a positive direction since November 2020, when he and his wife Yerania opened the brick and mortar skateboard shop. Gusman started spending more time at the skate park on his days off after realizing a need for positive influence in the skating community. 

Gusman said that the idea of owning a board shop had been fueled by his love for the sport and he was able to open the shop in November. Since opening, the shop has gifted out over a dozen skateboards to kids in need who go to the skate park but don’t have their own board. 

He said that putting a board in the hands of a kid who is causing trouble can encourage them to go use the board and learn how to skate rather than fighting and starting nonsense, especially for kids who may naturally take to skateboarding skills but who can’t afford their own board. 

“When we give out boards it’s the best feeling in the world,” said Gusman. “The look on their face, the disbelief that someone they don’t even know bought that board for them.” 

Gusman has worked at the Turquoise Ridge mine since 2008 and has two weekends off per month. On the weekends he is off, on Saturday he runs the board shop from 10-2, then picks up enough pizza to go take to the skate park to feed everyone and skate with the kids, which he refers to as “Skate Saturdays”.

“We’ve had people come in and donate boards and gift cards for the purpose of being donated to kids,” said Gusman. “The community has helped out a ton.”  

Gusman has been skating on and off for 23 years and said his first road trip at 16 was from Reno where he grew up to Winnemucca to skateboard at the newly constructed (at that time) skate park. 

As a self-proclaimed born-again believer, Gusman said he encourages sobriety as a means for better skating and overall positivity in life rather than the darkness in substances he has witnessed flow through some skating communities. 

“I promote sobriety, I’m 26 months dry, I don’t preach to the kids but let them know they’ll skate better being sober rather than drinking alcohol or smoking pot,” said Gusman. 

Gusman said that when he first started going to the skate park regularly in November 2020, kids at the skate park didn’t spend much time talking to each other or interacting as a community, which he said has definitely improved in the past 4-5 months. 

Along with the positivity and sobriety, Gusman has also led efforts to encourage helmet wearing, by wearing his own and sharing with kids how important it is to wear. 

“We are pushing helmets pretty hard, a local family lost a loved one due to a skateboarding accident and donated $1,000 to give out helmets to the kids,” said Gusman.

All contests sponsored by Risen Board shop after the Rise & Grind spring skate competition will be helmets required; to date, over 80 helmets have been gifted to kids in Winnemucca. 

Gusman said the efforts of making positive changes at the skate park include winter snow removal so the kids can skate, taking food, gifting helmets and boards and education about skating etiquette. 

Gusman said fellow skateboarder Richard Haas has helped a lot with efforts since November, as well as Gusman’s family members who help wherever they can, including shop operation.

Gusman and Haas will be judging the Rise & Grind competition to be held on Saturday, April 3, 2021, from 2-6 p.m. 

Registration for the competition can be done anytime before the competition begins either by following the Risen Board Shop Instagram link for the contest or going to the shop located at 510 Melarkey St Suite 207 in Winnemucca. 

The skate competition will include tier levels and prizes for beginner, intermediate and advanced skaters with games and trick contests for various prizes, with food trucks on site. 

Gusman said he has been talking with city representatives to communicate and advocate for improvements and repairs needed at the park, including the lights, drainage issues and broken rail pieces. 

In July Gusman said a skating group Extreme Tour is planning to visit the Winnemucca Skate Park for a 2-day event with bands and skate contests. He hopes to be able to sponsor multiple contests and events at the park throughout the year.  

"It’s exciting seeing the change, those kids were so hard when I first started going over there and now everybody knows everybody,” said Gusman. 

Gusman said he one day hopes to be able to organize an indoor skating center nonprofit in which the environment can be regulated for safety, substances and bullying. 

Gusman attributes the positive difference he has made thus far to an intentional effort in community and positivity. 

“I just decided to go start spending more time there and making things better,” said Gusman. “It’s crazy to think that twenty years ago I drove out here just to skate in the park and now here I am trying to change the culture.”