In an electric evening, a standing-room-only dinner crowd at the TransWorld SNOW Industry Summit was treated to an awards presentation featuring one of the most influential snowboard photographers ever, one of the most controversial pro riders ever, and one of the leading shops in the industry.

Kicking off the evening’s festivities, ZJ Boarding House was recognized by TransWorld SNOWboarding Business Editorial Director John Stouffer as being the snowboard shop of the year. The shop was chosen by the industry’s sales managers and reps as exemplifying what a specialty snowboard shop should be. ZJ co-owner Todd Roberts accepted the honor and told the crowd that unfortunately his partner Mikke Pierson couldn’t attend the conference this year, but was super happy to receive the award. He also thanked his staff and the industry for recognizing the shop.

Next up, TransWorld SNOWboarding magazine Editor Kurt Hoy introduced the Tranny Awards, which are given to individuals who have had a lasting influence on the development of the snowboard industry. He then asked former pro rider and longtime industry veteran Bob Klein to introduce the two Tranny Award recipients.

After a ten-minute slide show featuring pioneering photographer Bud Fawcett’s shots of Shawn Palmer and many old pros, Klein then talked about Fawcett, how he was introduced into the snowboard world, and what he did for the sport. “I’ve seen Bud tons of ways, but never without his trademark smile,” said Klein of his longtime friend.

Accepting the award, Fawcett pointed out that he really learned to snowboard and to take pictures at the same time. He thanked Klein and the whole Tahoe crew for getting him into snowboarding, the many riders including Shawn Palmer who make the sport what it is, and his wife and kids for their support.

After the standing ovation, Klein continued. “This is a night of contradictions,” he said, introducing the next Tranny award recipient. “While Bud is the nicest, happiest guy in snowboarding, Shawn Palmer has been at the center of controversy for years and has been grossly understood.”

“Palmer’s never afraid to speak his mind and that’s what gets him in trouble,” says Klein of his longtime friend. He then talked about Palmer’s incredible accomplishments over the years, including him winning the junior world champion title in 1985, taking the snowboard world champion title several times, then reinvented himself as a boardercross athlete and winning numerous X Games gold medals. From there, Palmer crossed over to other sports such as skiing, motocross, downhill mountain biking, and many others.

Klein talked about an interview Palmer did on ABC where he said, “It’s just too damn easy, I should quit,” citing the controversy it caused among other riders. While the media likes to talk about all the bad things that Palmer does, Klein said that they miss many of the good things he also does, like buying a crippled friend a 5,000-dollar wheelchair, or helping work on friends’ cars for hours. “He’s the most genuine person I know,” says Klein of Palmer, and then called him up and presented the award to the roar of the crowd’s standing ovation.

Palmer thanked Klein, Fawcett, and others. “It’s been a long, successful, painful road over the last seventeen years,” he said. “I’ve been standing on a podium for half my life and I like standing right in the middle.”

He then said that he sees his competitive athletic career slowing down in the near future, but that he’s going to put those competitive juices to work in his involvement with his snowboard company and in the industry.

The TransWorld SNOW Industry Summit gathered more than 300 executives from snowboard and ski manufacturers, retailers, and resorts to discuss issues facing the group. Produced by TransWorld SNOWboarding, with partners Mountain Sports Media and SIA, the SNOW Industry Summit was held April 1 to April 4, 2004 at Copper Mountain, Colorado.