Maloof's to Host Skateboarding Event

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The biggest payday in skateboarding will be back this summer despite the poor economy.

Joe Maloof, who owns the NBA's Sacramento Kings along with his
brother, Gavin, said Tuesday that plans are under way for the
second Maloof Money Cup at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa
Mesa from July 10-12.

The second edition is expected to be much like the first, with
many of the top stars in skateboarding competing for nearly
$500,000 in cash and prizes.

Although the list of skaters hasn't been finalized, promoters
expect stars such as Shaun White, Jake Brown, Bob Burnquist, Bucky
Lasek, Pierre-Luc Gagnon, Ryan Scheckler and Paul Rodriguez to

Rodriguez won the street competition last year, beating teen
sensation Nyjah Huston to claim the $100,000 top prize. Gagnon beat
White - the Olympic snowboard gold medalist and X Games star - in
the vert, earning $75,000 and a tricked-up SUV.

Maloof said he had so much fun at the first Maloof Money Cup
that he wants to do it again, despite losing an estimated $1

"That's all right. I'm not worried about it, because I wanted
to do it right and I wanted it to be the premier event in
skateboarding," Maloof said by phone from Las Vegas, where his
family runs the Palms.

"We overdelivered on every promise we made," Maloof said "I
think people never expected it to be the event that it was. I hate
to brag about it, but if it was a lousy event, believe me, I would
let you know that. But I think the skaters loved the course. They
accepted us. The public loved it."

Maloof said major sponsors are returning, and with more money.

"We're going to do a lot better this year financially," he
said. "This is a success story. We're not laying people off, we're
going full blast with it."

That's good news to Rodriguez.

"It's a blessing because some people aren't able to even have a
job and I'm able to have my job and we're able to skate in such a
cool event and have such a great time in these hard times and
hopefully fire kids up to follow their dreams," he said.

While the pairing of the Maloofs and skateboarders might seem
odd, it certainly fits the brothers' fun-loving personalities.

Rodriguez said the Maloofs are "wonderful dudes" who earned
credibility by listening to skateboarders' ideas for the

"I give them all the respect for that," Rodriguez said. "Last
year when it was going on, I saw so many skaters who are so popular
within the culture of skateboarding but who you never see in like X
Games and Dew Tour. You only see them in the street videos and
magazines doing their stuff. They were here and enjoying themselves
at this contest, which says it all right there."

Organizers spent approximately $250,000 to build a composite
half pipe and a street course made from 230 cubic yards of colored
concrete and marble.

The street course resembled a city plaza with a fake bank
building, ramps, stairs and handrails. It had to be torn out within
days of the event.

"That was such a heartbreaker for all the skaters, you know,
this beautiful course that is legitimate concrete, real rails, all
kind of obstacles, had to be torn down," Rodriguez said. "They're
probably going to do it again this year, you know, build the course
and it'll be amazing, and they'll have to tear it down. But I guess
the fairgrounds has to use that space."

Organizers were able to recycle parts of the street course, and
plan to build some obstacles this year so that they can be reused.

"It was sad, man," Maloof said. "The next day I went by the
place and it looked like a horse arena again."

Maloof, 53, launched the event after noticing how popular
skateboarding is.

"I want it to be the premier event for skateboarders. This is
their event, this is their world championship. They don't have to
share the stage with motorcross, they don't have to share the stage
with other events.

"The No. 1 thing I like is how fun it is to be around," Maloof
said. "There's like a brotherhood with these skateboarders. They
never say anything negative about each other. They stick together
like nothing I've ever seen."