Hot Dawgz & Hand Rails 2015 Photo and Video Recap
Zak Hale has been crowned the champion at the 12th annual Hot Dawgz & Hand Rails at Bear Mountain Resort, becoming $10,000 richer. Clayton Shoemaker and the Big Bear park crew outdid themselves yet again this year, creating a massive 'X' shaped course for the 2015 Hot Dawgz & Hand Rails. Riders chose from two drop-in points, which crisscrossed in the middle, with various water and rock obstacles ominously lurking below its features.
Bluebird weather graced the mountain as a heavy contingent of riders strapped in some for their first real contest appearance of the season. The features were pretty high consequence, with little but hay bales and some astro-turf to break the riders' falls when things didn't go quite according to plan.
After the first rider dropped the field quickly began to poke and prod at the course, getting a feel for each feature and shaking off the rust. Zak Hale kicked things off strong with a solid gap to front board over the water feature, while Ryan Paul got comfortable and put down a back 270 on the same. At first, speed was a bit of an issue for some of the riders who may have not waxed accordingly, as the hot mid-afternoon California sun baked the course.
As each rider completed one side of the course, they'd immediately hike up and drop into the other zone, where the main attraction was definitely the flat bar and creeper ledge which crossed a pool of water. This was nicknamed the 'splash zone,' since a few bails sent the photographers and filmers scrambling for shelter.
After an hour of throwing down, the dedicated Bear park staff went to work re-filling divots and grooming the lips back to their original pristine conditions. Soon after, the second heat kicked off and the competitors seemed much more comfortable overall. Perhaps this was due to shaking off the rust, or just some old fashioned liquid courage, we may never know.
One of the biggest cheers from the crowd was drawn by Erik Leon's method to lip. We'd be remiss not to mention Oliver Dixon's masked, one-footed antics, as he slid the down bar with his unstrapped boot, soap-style, but didn't quite put it down. Other standouts included Ozzy Henning's smooth-as-hell back one onto the down bar, as well as Jaeger Bailey who decided to take a quick dip in the pool, much to the dismay of the crowd huddled in the splash zone looking to get the shot.
Overall the field of riders were overwhelmingly stoked on the course, which is no surprise to anyone that was watching.
"The flat bar over the water was my favorite feature of the day by far," said Brady Lem.
Just like that, the 2015 Hot Dawgz & Hand Rails is a wrap.
1st Madison Blackley
1st Zak Hale
2nd Ozzy Henning
3rd Mike Gray
Dennis Leontyev – switch frontside 450 gap to rail
Photos: Jeff Brockmeyer
Video: Tom Haraden