The Joint in the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel And Casino was packed by sundown on March 11 for the Third Annual TransWorld's Riders' Poll Awards, presented by Ford Ranger and sponsored by Durasurf and SIA. Emceed by Selema “Sal” Masekela, the show took the audience on a meandering course through this year's finest moments in pro snowboarding and hailed those who went above and beyond to make our sport the burgeoning mega-pastime it is.
Pros were acknowledged in eleven categories, including nine voted on by the riders themselves. The event also included the SIA Retailers' Choice Award and the TransWorld SNOWboarding Readers' Choice Award. First up: Best Boardercross Rider. Snowboarding's self-proclaimed antihero, Shaun Palmer, took the title for the men and cut the bullshit for his acceptance speech: “Every sport needs an asshole, and I'm glad to be yours.”
Andrew Crawford was cautiously well-spoken as he presented the awards for Best Big-Mountain Rider with Michele Taggart: “A lot of people I know now are still my heroes.” But the night really got rolling when Mikey LeBlanc and J2 Jason Rasmus reprised their respective cop and bum roles from Destroyer to present the Rock Star Of The Year Award. J2's rambling list of nominees included “Ivanna Tinkle and Yo' Momma,” but he was peremptorily curtailed when, in a blatant act of police brutality, Mikey broke J2's booze bottle over his head and awarded the category to Peter Line.
The SIA Retailers' Choice Award, honoring the riders who had the most influence on this year's shop sales, brought on the first of five boisterous stage appearances by Tara Dakides, who was battling an acute case of inebriation early on. Peter Line won the men's title and asked the debatably rhetorical question, “Look at me, I'm smoking Capris. How marketable can that be?”
Marc Frank Montoya's toddler, Lil' D, hyped up the crowd for the Best Halfpipe Rider Award with miniature versions of all the latest hip-hop moves. And although Danny Kass wasn't nominated for this (or any) awards at the show, his fellow riders recognized him more than once. “Danny Kass is really pushing halfpipe riding,” said Todd Richards as he accepted his award for Best Male Halfpipe Rider.
The presentation of the TransWorld SNOWboarding Readers' Choice Award was made by Kevin Jones and Marcus Egge, and set the precedent of mayhem to follow. Twelve-ounce rounds were shotgunned, wrestling matches ensued, and K.J. poured an entire beer on Dakides, his girlfriend and the women's winner. The onstage antics threw everyone a little off track–Tara began her third acceptance speech with the question, “Wait, what is this for?” Most in the audience didn't know either, but they did know that she'd killed it this season.
A sharp-dressed Travis Parker and Bobby Meeks finished off the night with the presentation of the Best Overall Rider Award to a very gracious Bjorn Leines. “There's no limitation for anyone,” said Bjorn, “so just try to have fun.”
If at times the evening decayed into the depths of muddled revelry, it never abandoned the spirit of rider recognition at the core of the event. “Most people in the world don't have a clue how cool snowboarding is,” said Sal in closing to the awards. And if the rowdy mobs of industry people in the audience had stopped to think about it, there's no doubt they would've felt damn lucky to be making a living off a sport they love.
The Wildcats Vs. Marilyn Manson (SIDEBAR)
Having a group of fourteen drunk Canadians backstage is scarier than a goth show, according to an irate Hard Rock employee: “We've had tons of bands play here, we've even had Marilyn Manson, and nothing like this has ever happened!”
The commotion began when, in a fit of rock-star decadence, the Vancouver-based Wildcats crew locked themselves in an upstairs dressing room and had their way with it.
Security guards pried open the door to reveal a post-Wildcat wasteland and 1,500 dollars in damages, complete with overturned chairs, walls splattered with hors d'oeuvres, broken mirrors, and carpets stained with expensive champagne. The unruly Canadians then proceeded onto the stage to present the award for best video segment–event organizers practically needed a stage hook to get them out of the spotlight. It was messy, and maybe a little self-indulgent, but compared to the creepy goings on backstage at a Manson show? Not even close.
TransWorld's Riders' Poll 2001 Results (SIDEBAR)
The following is a list of the nominees in no particular order. The winners' names are bolded.
TransWorld SNOWboarding Readers' Choice
Male: Kevin Jones, Terje Haakonsen, Bjorn Leines
Female: Barrett Christy, Janna Meyen, Tara Dakides
Best Overall Rider
Male: Kevin Jones, Bjorn Leines, Terje Haakonsen
Female: Tara Dakides, Barrett Christy, Shannon Dunn
Rookie Of The Year
Male: Jordan Mendenhall, Gigi Rüf, Romain De Marchi<
Female: Kim Bohnsack, Pauline Richon, Anne Molin Kongsgaard
Best Boardercross Rider<
Male: Xavier Delerue, Drew Neilson, Shaun Palmer
Female: Line Östvold, Ine Pötzl, Maëlle Ricker
Best Big-Mountain Rider
Male: Johan Olofsson, Axel Pauporté, Jeremy Jones
Female: Karleen Jeffery, Victoria Jealouse, Julie Zell
Rock-Star Of The Year
Romain De Marchi, JP Walker, Peter Line
SIA Retailers' Choice
Male: Terje Haakonsen, Peter Line, Ross Powers
Female: Barrett Christy, Shannon Dunn, Tara Dakides
Best Rail Rider
Male: Kevin Jones, Jason J2 Rasmus, JP Walker
Female: Janna Meyen, Tara Dakides, Roberta Rodger
Best Freestyle Rider
Male: Kevin Jones, Peter Line, Jussi Oksanen
Female: Barrett Christy, Tara Dakides, Janna Meyen
Best Video Segment
Jeremy Jones, Peter Line, Bjorn Leines, JP Walker