Portland Takes It To the Streets For Red Bull Heavy Metal

Portland, Oregon is a soggy town this time of year, so the crowd came armed with umbrellas to watch to second annual Red Bull Heavy Metal rail jam—and they used them. A mighty drizzle greeted everyone as the world’s top rail riders, including returning-champ Scotty Arnold, Chris Engelsman, Justin Hebbel, Bjorn Leines, and Micah McGinnity among others, tore apart a set of four rails set up downtown in Pioneer Square.

Judged by seasoned rail cronies J2 Rasmus, Joel Mahaffey, and Eddie Wall, the contest was divided into two zones: the first being a straight rail and a gap to straight rail, and the second being two hefty kinked rails. Beginning on zone one, the action was driven by the likes of Wyatt Caldwell buttering into frontside boardslide, and Bjorn Leines gapping the staircase and floating ultra-solid gap to boardslides. Eventually rail trickster TJ Schneider turned up the heat with some spins, culminating in an extra-tricky switch backside 270 on.

It was Leines’ cab 270 on, backside lip to fakie, however, that got the nod from the judges. But following a strict code of contest honor, Bjorn forfeited half his ten-grand check to one Mr. Schneider, saying, “I had a feeling this was some sort of tie, so I’m giving half of this to TJ. I get to keep the trophie, though.” It made everyone feel all warm inside.

Dusk settled into the city as the session moved over to zone two: the kinks. A different set of riders were dominating this scenario: Chris Engelsman, Zach Leach, Kyle Clancy, and to everyone’s surprise—Danny Kass. Not that we didn’t think Kass was good enough, but few have seen him really lay into a pants-shitting-caliber rail like this. He stepped up with, among other tricks, a 50-50 to frontside 360 off the kink, stomped like he’d just done a 1080 melon in the pipe.

Engelsman was the first (and only) one to boardslide the entire kinked rail on rider’s right. He also managed to hop on the left rail in several variations of radical, including an amazing switch boardslide that reminded everyone why E-Tree is the fakie master. When all was said and done, Kyle Clancy took the title of “kinkiest.” With a boardslide to switch 50-50 through the kink into switch frontside boardslide that looked like part of some elaborate dance routine, Clancy showed the world that not only does he rule at jibbing, he can probably cut a mean rug, too.