Copper Mountain hosted the fourth Annual Nike Snowboard Derby on Saturday, April 19,1997. This Pro/Am Derby matched up 4 to 6 competitors per heat, racing down a course with 18 sets of gates, 14 obstacles including single and double jumps, banked “S” turns, “road gaps”, table tops and a 45 foot table-top jump at the finish line with a 15 foot take-off ramp. The riders finish in the air. Top finishers in the pro category were fighting for a $5,000 first place cash prize, and total event cash purse of $25,000 and $50,000 in gear and prizes.

The early rounds of competition were somewhat unevenly matched with one or two top riders leaving the rest of the pack in the dust. Everyone within the Rocky Mountain Region hoping to get lucky and walk away with a big $5,000 check registered themselves as pro riders. As the day went on, however, and the cream started rising to the top.

Packs of 6 fought their way down the course, trying to nudge their competitors around the banked turns and beat them to the big air finish line. Mark Fawcett found that the best way to keep riders away from his personal space was to swing his arms in circles. “When it gets tight in there and everyone is bumping into you, the best thing to do is just start whipping your fists around, they’ll make room or get knocked out,” Fawcett said.

Although the crowds were minimal, the 300-500 people that were sitting down in the sun and watching the pro’s huck themselves 15 ft. into the air and clearing the 45 ft. table top in packs of six, definitely got their money’s worth.

Jason Brown riding for Salty Peaks Snowboard Shop in Salt Lake City, Utah, finished first, riding hard all day. For the pro women, it was a repeat performance from last year for Rhonda Doyle who ruled every heat taking home the $5,000. “This event is a crap shoot, if I get out of the gate first and have some good runs, I’ll win this thing,” Rhonda prophesied earlier in the day. And apparently she did. Pro Men
1 Jason Brown
2 Chris Maierofer
3 Jason McCallister
4 JJ Thomas
5 Lucas Dehmlow
6 Jason Troth

Pro Women
1 Rhonda Doyle
2 Leah Vermullen
3 Katrina Olson
4 Dena Melinn
5 Giuliana Rende
6 Jen Karscinski

Amateur Men
1 Marc Ruffieux
2 Frank Guerin
3 Clif Dimon
4 Peter Sutherland
4 James Parham
5 Travis Dawson
6 Brian Noe

Amateur Women
1 Deb Hill
2 Susana Correia
3 Bobbie Breitkreutz
4 Tammy Crowley
5 Maryanne Corcoran
6 Sally Moore

Junior Men
1 Loren Brinton
2 Richard Duff
3 Joel Serafin
4 Warren Duff

Senior Men
1 Jon Baiocchi
2 Shawn Foy
3 Mark Stegall
4 Sean Russell
5 Shane Young
6 Russ Baker