Urban’ Boardin on Halloween: The 2009 Backyard Bang
Johnnie Paxon man handling the rail. photo: Geery
I have been to some miserable inner city rail jams in my day. I’m talking bitter cold and/or pouring rain, and because you are there simply to spectate, you are never dressed for such elements. But this year’s Backyard Bang was actually the most pleasant urban snowboard experience I have ever had.
Not only was there a VIP area with free food and beer, provided by Kona Brewing, who also gave away a trip to Hawaii to some lucky bastard, but the jam was short, sweet and interesting. The new and improved SnowBoy productions set up included a brand new box jump, and let’s face it, all rail jams need more air.
Jordan Kelly logs some air time. photo: Geery
Even for the non VIPs, spectating was easy with a nice covered section provided by a nearby building, and overall tolerable weather. There was one minor incident with a inevitable rain shower, but it quickly passed. Unfortunately, the riders did have to suffer slightly when the sky opened up, as most participants weren’t really dressed for the elements. There was a taco, a chicken, a hobo, a bearded lady with a baby, but very few people dressed in actual snowboard gear. What else would you expect on Halloween?
In addition to the jump, there was a solid down bar and two wall ride options to keep people from flying into the crowd. A few people still managed to find their way into spectators due to getting extra aggressive, but thankfully the random dancing man on a podium behind one of the jibs was not harmed.
Nick Jacobsen is one shifty guy. photo: Geery
After a frantic 10 minute final jam, the winners were announced. For the women top honors went to Celeste Rhoads who landed a frontboard to fakie as well as a switch boardslide, and was 180ing on to the rail both switch and regular. “It was kind hand to land because the landing was rough, but it was a really fun event,” Celeste said.
Kumara Kelly, Celeste Rhoads and Megan Middleton. 3, 1, 2
The guys’ podium was almost too close to call but the top three stacked up with Austin Sweetin in 3rd, Johnnie Paxson in 2nd and Jonah Owen taking first. Jonah was able to throw down a opposite toe 270 to 270 out, which he reportedly had just learned a few days prior. “The jump was really fun, just flipping off that thing was a blast,” Jonah said seeming somewhat in disbelief he’d won. “Johnnie Paxson was doing some ridiculous moves. Sawyer Dean was doing some crazy technical rail tricks. He did really well too. It was a fun comp and everyone killed it.”
Austin Sweetin, Jonah Owen and Johnnie Paxon. Winners.
Thanks to event sponsors Salomon Snowboards and the Art Institute of Portland for putting on one of the most painless rail jam experiences out there, and so close to my house!