The loop follows Grand Ave. onto Locust St. in downtown Des Moines. It has been a popular area for teens to meet and hang out for decades.
The “loop” follows Grand Ave. onto Locust St. in downtown Des Moines. It has been a popular area for teens to meet and hang out for decades.
Carly Campbell

Scooping the loop part of metro history

Scooping the loop has been a part of the Des Moines culture for years, extending back into the 1960s. Some students do not know what “the loop” is. The loop is in downtown Des Moines following Grand Ave. and Locust St., surrounding the Pappajohn Sculpture Park. “You mostly do it just to meet new people, hangout, see some cool cars,” senior Danielle Rieck said. Rieck’s father and aunt scooped the loop when they were teens, and now she does it herself. “If you’re bored it’s something to do.”

The loop has evolved since the 60s. The races that used to occur have since decreased to a minimum, but some say they still happen if people look hard enough. People begin to travel along the route of the loop around 9 p.m. and starts to clear out around 11 p.m. “The loop [has] changed over the years,” Des Moines Police Officer David Seybert said. “Until recently, it was an area kids used to cruise and park in empty parking lots to visit.” 

Senior Megan Farnsworth occasionally drives down to scoop the loop and says that most people should go at least once. “There are many different types of people that are at the loop, but most go to look at cars; not get involved in the darker activity of the loop,” she said.

With different types of people, trouble may become hard to avoid. “The loop generates numerous complaints,” Seybert said. “Complaints range from loud music, loud mufflers, fights, trespassing, drinking, drunk driving, squealing tires, to suspicious persons and drag racing.”

The illegal races have lead to the area being watched constantly by police to ensure the safety of the people on the loop. “There are some kids that are honestly not too smart and jokingly dodge cars while they’re hanging out,” Rieck said.

With all of the activities that go on at the loop there are bound to have some problems. “Nothing good can happen while ‘scooping in the loop’ after dark.  Although there are good kids having fun downtown, there are also others down there to cause trouble,” said Seybert.

The traffic downtown on the loop is very similar of that on Merle Hay, which has been busy since road work started recently. “I’ve seen it happen too many times,” Rieck said. “A really nice car has been damaged because they were trying to show off in front of friends or girls.”

Rieck, who has had subwoofers installed in her car, took the chance to compete in what are called “sub contests” before. “It’s not really limited as long as you’re not doing anything illegal that will get you in trouble,” she said.

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  • Alan StrongNov 1, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    Scooping the loop is fun. A Super Bee or a Roadrunner Super Bird would be just right for the occasion. Downtown DSM is pretty after dark. Would not mind taking my wife and daughter on a scooping expidition if we visit Des Moines again.

  • John DoeFeb 27, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Thats not accurate! What is “Darker activity”?