If you think that Nate Howe was having a mid-life crisis when he opened Cub Power at 1369 Harrison Ave., you would be wrong.
Instead, the 55-year-old, who has skateboarded since he was a kid, is finally fulfilling a long-time dream to own his own skateboarding business.
Howe believes his store, with its new, rare and vintage skateboards, is Butte’s first full-service skateboard shop. He may be right as no reference to a previous skateboard business could be found while searching on www.newspaper.archives
“I’m somewhat of a skate hoarder,” laughed Howe. “I actually have been collecting for years so in a way, I already had a skateboard shop.”
Howe ran his own house painting business in Bozeman for 25 years and for the last six years, he worked at Montana State University. Moving to Butte was another “dream come true.”
“Butte is such a neat town and feels more like Montana to me,” he said. “People here seem more real.”
Howe confessed that he has wanted to move to Butte for the last couple of years as Bozeman had become too expensive. He and his girlfriend, Kathleen Hurley, recently bought a home and intend to stay.
Before moving to Butte, Howe had been a frequent visitor, first coming as a teenager with his friends to skateboard on the concrete drainage ditches up in Walkerville.
“That was long before skateboard parks,” he said.
The new business owner does have Butte ties. His grandfather, Thoralf Fromdahl, worked in the Butte mines, and his dad, Mel Howe, worked four years here in the early 1980s.
Although he may now be 55, Howe still skateboards every day. That’s how much he loves the sport.
“At my age, I’m now at the intermediate level,” he explained.
He still reaps the benefits from the sport.
“It keeps me in shape,” he explained, “and makes me focus.”
Since Howe’s teen-age years, skateboarding has certainly evolved and become more accepted as a sport. So much so, that it is now an Olympic competition.
That was not the case in 1978, when Anaconda officials banned skateboarding on its “main drag sidewalks.” The penalty if a skateboarder got caught was the confiscation of said skateboard for 10 days.
Howe remembers those days.
“It had a bad rep because you could get hurt,” he said.
Times change and so do opinions.
By 2005, Anaconda had a skate park. The following year, Butte opened its own just off Continental Drive. One young avid skateboarder was quoted at the time as saying “it’s freaking awesome.”
“Anaconda and Butte both have great skate parks,” said Howe, who has frequented both.
Skateboards are not his entire inventory. Howe is also featuring new merchandise such as tennis shoes and clothing. Soon, he hopes to expand that inventory.
Meanwhile, the store’s grand opening is set for Saturday, Oct. 2, and will include a skate jam. Howe plans to have live music as well.
“Hopefully it won’t snow,” he said.