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Maggie Leon and Benny Milam Take the Win at Crimson Bull Heavy Steel – Snowboard Journal


I went to Newfoundland for a semester in school. It was form of a spur-of-the-moment choice. A semester overseas within the furthest-place-from-home closest to residence—as a result of Newfoundland has its personal time zone that’s a half hour off from EST, and greater than that, it’s simply its very personal place. There’s snowboarding there, however not on the aspect of the island that I used to be on. I used to be in St. John’s. It was fall, anyway, so there was time earlier than the snow fell again residence. At that time, within the 2000s, web movies weren’t a factor and all laptops had DVD drives. You needed to swing by your store each few days in September to search out out when the brand new movies dropped. I went to Newfoundland with three films in hand: Shakedown, The Breakdown on Shakedown, and Sport Present.

The opening part in Mack Dawg’s Sport Present is from 2003’s Crimson Bull Heavy Steel. The one which was in Portland. Danny Kass, Hana Beaman, E-Tree, Scotty Arnold, Bjorn Leines–and TJ Schneider profitable the entire thing with a 270 on. I keep in mind watching that part over and over. As a New England child watching snowboarding whereas actually on an island distant from the place it was taking place, Heavy Steel was so cool.

So when Crimson Bull introduced they have been bringing the competition again, almost twenty years later, the teenage snowboard fan inside me was actually hyped. The prospect to see the occasion in individual that I had admired purely as a fan ignited that pleasure about snowboarding that continues to be the identical yr after yr, regardless of when you’re 15 or 50.

For the 2022 version of Crimson Bull’s notorious occasion, Benny Milam was tapped to guide the cost together with fellow Minnesotan and rail legend, Joe Sexton, who would act because the competitors director. And so, the second weekend of January, almost fifty snowboarders descended on Duluth, Minnesota, representing a cross part of areas, types, and trick proclivities. The Midwest was out in full power. Benny Milam, Justin Fronius, Dan Liedahl, Alexis Roland, Jaylen Hanson, Rob Roethler, Nial Romanek, Mike Liddle, Eli Lamm, Blake Lamb, Sam Klein, Mike Skiba, Kyle Kennedy, Hannah Petersen, Ryan Paul, Grace Warner (and extra). Eastcoasters Dylan Okurowski, River Richer, Sam Anderson, Maggie Leon, Nora Beck, Nate Haust, and Zeb Powell. Canadians Marty Vachon and Jadyn Chomlack. Montanans Melissa Riitano and Iris Pham. Austin Visintainer from the PNW. MN transplant Danyale Patterson. Iowa’s Kaleah Opal Driscoll. Utah’s Pat and Joey Fava. Jordan Smalls and Drayden Garnder from Southern California. Fumiya Okamoto from Japan. Plus extra. A legion of riders elevating the bar within the streets.

The setting for the competition, Cascade Park, is an iconic location on each the literal and metaphorical map of road boarding. (Keenan Cawley breaks it down with the assistance of Andy Pearson on this story for Torment.) The tower drop at high, the kink rail down beneath—it’s a heavy spot the place Jess Kimura, Mark Wilson, Benny Milam, Jed Anderson, and just some others have left their mark. (Jess returned for the competition, however this time as a decide alongside Jeremy Jones and Tommy Gesme.)

For the competition, issues have been damaged down into three location-based heats: The Tower, on the high of the park; The Playground, a set-up of picnic tables and rails in the course of the park; and The Steel, the notorious kinked rail on the backside of the park. From the second the competitors started, it was a semi-controlled chaos of the most effective sort. Frankly, that is the factor that makes an occasion like Heavy Steel what it’s: high-energy, fixed momentum, and a keep-your-head-on-a-swivel mentality. Standing anyplace within the course to take images, you needed to maintain a glance out and be able to pivot out of the way in which of anybody coming your manner. It’s quick and frenetic. The riders feed off each other. Methods simply get gnarlier because the time ticks down. The day started at 10 am and went till 6 pm and felt prefer it occurred in a flash. It’s loud, it’s relentless, it’s hectic. It’s good.

The Bomb Gap’s frontmen, Chris Grenier and Ethan “E-Stone” Fortier have been on the mics, calling the competition. Matty Mo was taking part in music. As a spectator watching the riders up the ante, each personally and collectively, issues simply continued to escalate all through the day. The Tower part was simply huge. Everybody began off instantly throwing down. Ben Bilocq grabbed a shovel immediately and have become the unofficial head after all upkeep (huge because of Ben). The Playground part was mayhem. Miles, Zeb, Nate Haust, Rob Roethler, and extra have been sending the picnic desk hole. Alexis Roland, Nial Romanek, Sam Anderson, Iris Pham, Danyale Patterson, Casey Pflipsen, Ryan Paul, Fronius, and Nora Beck did work on the down rail. Maggie Leon and Marty Vachon have been ticking off characteristic after characteristic. The viewers on the sidelines was rapt, getting autographs as riders glided by. That was fairly cool to see. By the point the solar was setting, the highest of North 1st Avenue was packed alongside the fence on the backside of the stairset. The ultimate act of Heavy Steel was on.

If the whole day was heated, the final part was the plain crescendo. Zeb frontboarded the rail. Iris Pham 50-50’d it. Ryan Paul, Nial, and Mike Liddle have been simply doing the issues they do. Maggie Leon hit the ledge to looker’s left. Marty Vachon and Rob Roethler took the road much less traveled and hit the redirect. Benny Milam went in. Swap frontlip. Almost landed a cab 270 on. It was darkish and chilly, however not Minnesota-cold, when Grenier and E-Stone known as it. When all was mentioned and achieved, Benny Milam and Maggie Leon took first place on the lads’s and ladies’s sides, respectively. Second went to Jaylen Hanson and Marty Vachon, and third to Alexis Roland and Zeb Powell.

Early on within the morning, I used to be posted up just under and to looker’s left of the tower, looking for my footing on the hillside. A filmer was posted as much as my proper and launched himself. “Mike, however everybody calls me Dawger.” One of many stunning issues about snowboarding is how issues can actually come full circle. A video you watched as a child rising up in a small city in New England can turn out to be a actuality you participate in years later—albeit a souped-up actuality after two-decades of trick evolution. In fact, with Heavy Steel, Crimson Bull not solely resurrected an indicator occasion from the early 2000s, they provided a chance for riders who spend most of their seasons filming to get all collectively, feed off each other, and present the place issues are at to everybody current and everybody watching from afar. Thanks for the great instances, Duluth.



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