March 12th, 2010 – Summit At Snoqualmie, WA
As the night fell and the lights of Snoqualmie washed a snowy venue anew Saturday evening, the 2010 Ride Shakedown Rail Jam took center stage. The field was open to a 90-minute finals jam, MC’d by Mike LeBlanc and judged on overall impression by Peter Line, Patrick McCarthy and Etienne Gilbert.
A notable difference from previous Shakedown rail events, the USA Edition shifted away from more acrobatic set-ups of the past, opting for a much more technical and urban-tran feel than ever before. The riders fully stepped up for the changes, and from the opening bell it was obvious that every kid in the jam was going to be coming hard for the heavy purse – $5,000 awaited the men’s overall winner, with a cool $3,500 heading to the top woman.
24 riders competed for the 5-person final cut (3 men, 2 women), with a solid mix of tech and style coming from some of the best rail talent in the game today. Highlights included the cab 180 tailpress to back three out from Forest Bailey on the donkey-down, Yale Cousino’s calm back 270 switch-ups, Zak Hale’s years-beyond style on the closeout flat, and am qualifier Robbie Walsh going for broke, sending regular and switch back 7 taps to flat off the spool pillar. The 27-year old from Welches, OR went harder than any other from sunrise to sunset, narrowingly missing out on the final cut — catching edge on the top spool as time expired, Robbie unfortunately earned himself a free ski patrol ride, but cemented a lifetime of mad respect from everyone in attendance.
In the end, the judges chose Forest, Sam Hulbert and crowd-favorite Austin Hironaka to represent the men’s finals, with Izzy Lalive and Megan Whiteside going for the ladies. 3 runs, best trick, thousands of dollars on the line. Most ran for the centerpiece staircase rail, but Austin took it right to the top of the spool pillar, getting the loudest cheers of the night for his perfectly done Miller Flip Tailgrab, earning him the 2010 Shakedown Rail Jam title and 5,000 US bills. For the women, Izzy took it down with a clean 50-50 front 1 out and switch boardslide to regs for the win and $3,500.
Hironaka, the local boy hailing from University Place, WA, was beyond hyped: “Today was amazing! It was just a big jam with a bunch of friends. Nothing but big smiles and good boarding an I had a really good time. I’m on cloud nine right now and I just haven’t gotten off! I’m stoked that the Ride Shakedown came to the USA, dude! I’m 5,000 dollars richer! I couldn’t be anymore stoked!”
Riders and spectators look forward to the big show Saturday night, with the 2010 Ride Shakedown Finals taking flight at 8 PM PST. Can’t make it out to Washington this evening? Check in with the kids at Fuel TV, feeding the event live from Snoqualmie at www.fuel.tv/rideshakedown.
2010 RIDE SHAKEDOWN SEMI-FINALISTS (top 16 Men/5 Women advance to Finals)