Tommy Gesme wins 10th anniversary Hot Dawgz and Hand Rails at Bear Mountain
Photos: Ben Birk
Ten years ago Clayton Shoemaker and Bear Mountain park crew laid down 40 tons of snow at the resort base, covering enough ground to hit three junkyard jibs and the handrail at the entrance to the lifts. This was the setup for the first Hot Dawgz and Hand Rails. Since then the contest has grown into a multi-feature course that uses 140 tons of snow and attracts some of the best up-and-coming rail riders as well as thousands of people to watch and party.
“It’s changed a lot,” said JP Walker who rode in the first Hot Dawgz and Hand Rails and judged this year’s event along with Chris Bradshaw, Dave Downing, Scott Stevens, and Joe Sexton. “At least I felt like guys were kind of rusty in the first years because obviously not many people had been snowboarding much. But now a lot of these guys are coming off full summers at Mt. Hood and they’re actually pretty warmed up. Some of those tricks you want to be mid-season warmed up to be doing like the hardway stuff and the more serious stuff. The level of moves the guys are doing is pretty crazy.
Today the contest is both a way to get stoked for a winter that’s just around the corner and preview new features that will be added to the Bear park. “We like to build things we know we can implement in the park next year,” said Director Of Park Development, Clayton Shoemaker. “The container feature, some of the closeout rails, they’ll be configured different but we’re going to put it all in the park.”
This year’s course was mirrored on the left and right lanes, starting with a shotgun rail on either side into a closeout rail and down-bar option. The middle line was a hollowed out shipping container lined with snow that could be hit as a wallride on the outside or through the middle to step down to a down-bar. Compared to the courses from the past few seasons where some heavy flipping went down, this setup lent itself more to technical riding than acrobatic stunts (of course it wouldn’t be HDHR without a few flips onto or off of things, which did happen).
Around 40 riders started dropping in to the jam-style contest at 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 21 including Tommy Gesme, Brady Lem, Dylan Thompson, Cam Pierce, Lucas Magoon, Dylan Alito, Johnny Lazz, Brandon Hobush, Spencer Schubert, Scott Vine, Zak Hale, Jonah Owen, and Jordan Smalls. On the women’s side were Melissa Evans, Desiree Melancon, Corinne Pasela, Nirvana Ortanez, and Isabella Boriello. After the first 30 minutes it was pretty clear that Minnesota’s Tommy Gesme and Quebec’s Dillon Ojo were going to be on the podium if they kept riding the way they were. Tommy’s loose style and long hair is reminiscent of a young Keegan Valaika, and he smoothly slayed both the down-bars and the container rail with moves like a tail grab to back lip, and a switch backside 270. It took him most of the two hour contest but he also landed a switch backside to 270 to regular, that all together earned him first place and 10,000 dollars. “It’s my first time being at Hot Dawgz and it’s f—king awesome,” said Tommy. “I always watched them in the past and this setup looked like it was the best since I can remember. They know what they’re doing here at Big Bear. Shit’s on point. “
Ojo rode away from some solid tricks before trying to line up a Cab three to switch 50-50 on the middle rail, eventually riding out of it in the closing minutes, putting him in second. SoCal’s own Jordan Smalls rounded out the podium in third with tricks like a switch hardway 270 on the container rail and a switch backside 5-0 on the down-bar.
Jaeger Bailey took Best Trick with a 50-50 on the closeout to hardway backside 270 transfer to the down bar. Meanwhile Spencer Schubert was on a mission to defy physics with tricks like an air out of the shipping container to knuckle to front flip and a front board on the perpendicular closeout to popover board slide on the down bar. You kind of have to see it to understand it all. This and plenty of other hammers went down so check back soon for the video recap.
- Tommy Gesme
- Dillon Ojo
- Jordan Smalls
- Melissa Evans