Breckenridge local Kendal Whelpton saved it all for his last run and threw down a backside rodeo 720 to edge friend Chad Otterstrom by seven tenths of a point to take the $10,000 check in the Mountain Dew Classic at Breckenridge.
After the first run Aaron Bishop had the lead with a score of 46.3 for his switch rodeo 720. He was followed by Whelpton, Kenyon Robinson, and Japan’s Junji Kabayashi.
In the second run no one edged Bishop out of the lead. Jason Brown, who’d been throwing the sickest Super Cabs in practice, had trouble with his landings as did Miki LeBlanc, JP Walker and Ross Powers.
It wasn’t until there were three riders left when Chad Otterstrom dropped in and decided to upgrade his first run switch rodeo with a Cab 900. He spun seven then late grabbed for the final three. The judges rewarded him with a 46.9 and the lead.
That’s when Whelpton stepped up. “I saw Chad and knew that I had to stick this one,” Whelpton said.
No one looked as surprised at the landing as Whelpton himself. He grabbed, spun, put down the landing gear and rode away without a hand touch or even a bend in his knees. It was the most perfect landing of the contest and his friends knew that he’d cinched the titled before the judges
even had time to enter their scores. A mob of nearly 20 of Whelpton’s friends piled over the fencing and stormed the finish area burying him in a mass of congratulations.
In the women’s competition Whistler’s Krista Bradford picked up the slack left by Leslee Olson and Jessica Dalpiaz to take the win and a check for $7,500.
Lesless Olson, who qualified in first place with a rodeo five, had some trouble in the finals. “I hook up my tail edge right before I took off and it threw me sideways,” she said. “I couldn’t see and I though I was to the top of the jump and I wasn’t.”
Krista Bradford, of Whistler, B.C. was the fourth woman to hit the kicker. She threw down a 43 point spin and took the lead in her first big air contest. From that point on no one really came close. Jessica Dalpiaz and Leslee Olson put down two runs but just couldn’t take the lead.
Bradford was pleasantly surprised with her win. “Not bad for my first contest,” she laughed. “I really didn’t expect this at all. I just thought I go for it and seen what happens.”
Competition at the Mountain Dew Classic of the Vans Triple Crown of Snowboarding continues tomorrow with men’s and women’s halfpipe competition.