It is the thing which all electric football hobbyists and players gather around. Without it the game is not possible. It is the board. Although commercial boards are what many players grew up with and are still readily available, there are many electric footballers who choose a different path: custom boards. The last few years have seen a rise in custom board designs and building. Among the current (and more famous) names of elite custom electric football board builders is Ricardo Riley.
Raised in Washington, D.C. and now living in San Antonio, Texas, Ricardo Riley has been building custom boards for himself and others since 2013. Crackin’ Plastic sat down with Ricardo to ask him some questions about board building and what motivates him.
CP: Why did you start building electric football boards?
RR: “There were plenty of boards available for purchase. I just wanted to build my own and customize it my way. I wanted a 24” x 48” for myself and I felt that I could possibly build one. It would be uniquely mine.”
CP: How did you learn? Did you have help?
RR: “I’ve had lots of help along the way. Shabby J (aka James Partipilo), Roger Fisher, James Harris, and a special shout out to Edwin Hinton. He [Edwin Hinton] actually asked me to make him a board: Met Life Stadium. RIP my friend. I’ve met a lot of great people along the way. My boards aren’t perfect, but I try and give the best that I can, and I replace any and all things, always.”
CP: How many boards do you think you’ve made so far?
RR: “Ninety plus.”
CP: Do any boards stand out in your mind?
RR: “I have a Cancer Survivor board, and a board that has “Suggies Cleaning Supplies” on one side of it! Coaches really make them their own. The Cancer board was Edwin Hinton’s third board. He recently died, but he was an avid EF hobbyist. Sorry about the curse word [the board states, “F— Cancer”], but that’s what he wanted. It gave him hope to keep on battling.”
CP: How much time do you devote to building boards?
RR: “On average I’ll spend my weekends building, painting, etc.. 15-18 hours a week. I do all of my own covers, building, painting, lettering, logos, etc., so I can control the building time now. I used to outsource quite a bit in the beginning.”
CP: So it’s not a full time job then?
RR: [Laughs] “No, I’m a manager in Corporate America. I have 16 people that report to me at any given time.”
CP: What do you enjoy most about building boards?
RR: “The best thing about building the boards is seeing them in people’s homes and at tournaments. I never thought that something that I’d make could really make others happy, and that they’d enjoy it. It seems I was kind of wrong about that one!”
CP: So, we have to ask: you’re from Washington, D.C. but you’re a Dallas Cowboys fan?
RR: “Tony Dorsett and #12 [Quarterback Roger Staubach]. Saw them and it was a wrap!”
CP: Will you continue to build boards in the future?
RR: “Not sure. It’s not really cost effective. FedEx is raising shipping by 90 bucks. I don’t pass that along, so…
But that being said, I do love building boards.”
Article by Greg Ingold