Tom Sims Legends Event recap

Photos and words by Ben Birk

On a day in March 1983 Tom Sims, Mike Chantry, and a cat driver built the first ever man made halfpipe for the world championship at Soda Springs, California. Now 30 years later to the date, over 60 people showed up to participate in the 30th Anniversary Tom Sims Retro World Championships. The attitude of the participants was “This is for Tom” because of his impact on their lives. It was last year on September 12, 2012 that Tom Sims passed away.

The contest started on Saturday at Soda Springs under blue skies and with warm weather. The first event was the Super G with a course that was long and straight just like the downhill event at the first Worlds.  Everyone was split into three groups. The Legends Class (boards 1989 and earlier), Open Class (boards 1990 and newer), and the Women’s Class. The lineup was stacked with legendary snowboarders like Chuck Barfoot, Terry Kidwell, Tina Basich, Kevin Delaney, Chris Roach, Heather Mills, Keith Kimmel, Evan Feen, Eddie and Cary Hargraves, Scott Starr, Bud Fawcett, Kevin Kinnear, David Alden, Dino Bonelli, Jeff Fulton, Scott Clum, Scott Downey, Christie Elder. Jeff Krebill and Dennis Nazari tied for first in the Legends Class with a time of 24.33.  Shawn Farmer took first in the open class and Christie Elder finished first for women.

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Group shot at the top of the Super G course. The stoke was high. Photo: Ben Birk

Day two was the halfpipe portion of the contest and featured a pipe with four foot walls and was about 100 feet long. The legends class started things off.  It was cool to see some airs from boards that were over 23 years old. Kevin Delaney was a stand out from the get go on his Sims Snowboard and ended up airing himself into first place. Cameron Beck slashed into second and Chris Roach landed in third. Once the legends class finished it was the open class turn to set the bar higher, and indeed they did. Chris Roach finished second and was throwing grassers over head high while Cody Horan who finished first was changing up his tricks almost every run. For the women’s class, Christie Elder and Heather Mills (first women to do a backflip on a snowboard) battled it out. In the end it was Christie Elder who finished first.

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Silver Serino had one of the biggest Methods all day. Photo: Ben Birk

After the contest had come to an end, the awards and ceremony portion started. The overall titles went to Christie Elder and Cameron Beck for the Legends class and Cody Horan won the open class. Each overall winner won a custom Sims snowboard with special graphics commemorating the event.

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This board was built for speed. Phuly Johnson takes a quick ride to the bottom of the hill. Photo: Ben Birk

The Legends of Tahoe Snowboarding inductees were announced next. A yearly tradition, the Legends of Tahoe Snowboarding honors three to four local legends for their involvement and contribution to snowboarding in the Tahoe area. This year paid tribute to the Reno scene in Tahoe. The honorees were Heather Mills, Fall Line Films’ Jerry Dugan and Artie Krehbiel, photographer Chris Carnel, and Edgar Rivera.

The ceremony ended with Mike Chantry, Scott Clum, Michael Hess, and Chuck Barfoot sharing some of the memories they had of Tom Sims. After the speeches, Tom Hsieh (founder of the first snowboard magazine ISM) took the stage to make a surprise presentation. The California State Assembly and Assemblyman Phil Ting honored Tom Sims with a Memorial Resolution that Tom Hsieh read aloud to a teary eyed crowd. It was the perfect ending to a great weekend.

The two day event could not have happen without the hard work of Mike Chantry, Tom Collins, Don Bostick and Bob Klein. We hope to see everyone return and new faces next year.