|Date: august 8, 1987.|
Place: Widefield, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Organisation: Ron Wilkerson
Commercials were airing on TV. There were King of Vert posters everywhere. Pepsi had put a lot of money into promoting the event, not to mention the usual KOV sponsors: Haro, Diamond Back, Airwalk, ODl and General. With the backing of these companies, there was no way this contest wouldn't be a giant successunless, of course, some very ominouslooking clouds hovering overhead decided to unleash their wetness on Saturday morning. The 9 1/2 feet high by 20 feet wide ramp, set dead center in Widefield High School's football field, was perfect. No complaints were heard, and if no one complains, you can be sure it's perfect!.
|A look around let us know that almost everyone was there. The Skyway team was in full force with freestyle masters Matt Hoffman, Eddie Roman, and Matt's Oklahoma riding buddy and Skyway teammate, Steve Swope. Joe Johnson was there with winning on his mind. You may recall the Texas KOV, in which Joe edged out Matt for the win. Neither Matt nor Joe were at the Michigan contest-Dave Voelker won that, but he and Dyno teammate Dino DeLuca are still on tour, so they weren't in Colorado. Don't worry though, there was still plenty of comp for Matt and Joe. Besides the guys we've already mentioned, there were DB man Tony Murray, Haro co-rider Jack Smith, Marty Schlesinger and two of Dennis McCoy's back-home riding pals, Leo Chin (yes, Animal Chin has been found) and Thad Miller. Chris Potts was there on his last ride for Awesome before going to Hutch, and a couple of Colorado locals were also ready to rage.
All 13 experts took two one-minute runs each, with the top eight being funneled down to the 20-minute jam. The guys who made the cut were Tony Murray, Leo Chin, Eddie Roman, Steve Swope, Chris Potts, Jack Smith, Joe Johnson and Matt Hoffman.
Tony Murray went first, riding with his usual smooth style. Next was Leo Chin with high Blyther-style airs, bio-reenfries and triple-back-to-back no-handers. Eddie Roman was next, and he looked the best he ever has with cancan one-handers, 270 drop-ins and a no-footed one-hander. Chris Potts didn't look his usual self -a wounded ankle was definitely slowing him down-but he still pulled his now-famous lookdowns, mean one-footed X-downs, and carved the ramp from edge to edge on every run. Matt H. look-alike Steve Swope busted loose with smooth style and severe variations. He did inverts, 270 drop-ins and a jammin' salmon, among others. Big Jack Smith from the "Big" state of Texas was a definite standout. He pulled off twisted lookbacks and lookdowns, switch-handed one-footers, no-handers over the channel and ended each run with a 360 or 540 flyout onto the deck. This inspired half the guys in the class to try the same tricks. Matt Hoffman, as usual, did every limb extension trick under the sun. No-handers, no handers into no-footers, Indian airs, nofooted cancans, no-handed one-footers and probably the gnarliest trick of the class, a full extension no-handed alley oop over the channel! Yes, it was as insane as it sounds. Matt also went for a 540 about two feet out, carving half the ramp. Unfortunately, he slammed both times he tried it. As the jam wound down, it was obvious that Matt and Joe were clearly head and shoulders above the rest. With every run, the comp between these two increased 100 percent. After Matt did the alley-oop channel no-hander in practice, Joe Johnson did it in the contest. After Matt's unsuccessful 540 attempt, Joe went for it-and made it! Besides doing most of the tricks Matt did, Joe also had plenty of his own: fully kicked downside no-footed cancans, no-tooted inverts at eight feet plus, opposite-side one handed one-footers (tweaked beyond belief) and no-handers, all done at least eight feet out and as smooth as glass.
The judges were Mark Lewman, Andy Jenkins, Bernd Schneider from Germany and Ron Wilkerson (Matt Hoffman, Sr. took Wilkerson's place for the pro jam). They tallied their scores (with high and low scores thrown out) and came up with these results: Tony was eighth, Eddie seventh, Leo sixth, Steve fifth, Chris fourth, Jack third, and Matt second. This meant that double J. was the victor! It was close, two tenths of a point separated the two, but Joe's incredibly smooth style and bionic airs netted him the gold once again.
EXPERTS RESULTS: 1.Joe Johnson 2.Matt Hoffman 3.Jack Smith 4.Chris Potts 5.Steve Swope 6.Leo Chen 7.Eddie Roman 8.Tony Murray
Tony Murray lookback. American Freestyler december 1987
Leo Chin. Photo by Scott Towne.
|The pros in account were Ron (of course), teammates Brian Blyther and Dennis McCoy (making his halfpipe contest debut), DB's Mike Dominguez and Skyway's Hugo Gonzales. Michigan winner Josh was MIA with a broken collarbone. Since there were only five pros present, they skipped qualifying and went right to the 20-minute jam. The very stale 2-Hip jam tape was put into motion, and Ron Wilkerson went to work cuttin' up with a lively combo of air and lip tricks. A front-wheel abubaca to crash, high inverts, a rear-wheel abubaca, quadruple back-to-back hop drops (extending a different limb each time), rocket airs, a no handed fakie to crash, a Miami hopper dropin with a sketchy landing, a fakie footplant over the channel and a no-hander in the same dangerous territory. Mike Dominguez was next with his patended "purist airs" about nine feet out, carved lookdowns over the channel, one-handed one-footed inverts, and what contest would be complete without Mike doing 540s at least six feet out? Not this one, Mike blasted them even higher and covered more distance than ever before! Brian Blyther looked his usual smooth, fluid self, blasting the highest air of the contest, at least ten feet out! He did Blyther hop drops, cancan lookbacks, cancan one handers, Chicken-man airs, 540 flyouts that nearly knocked people off the deck, back to-back 540 airs about two feet out and his unbelievable carve airs, eight feet out and the entire width of the ramp. It'd be hard to top Brian. Then there was Hugo Gonzales. Hugo has seemed to be fading out of the scene in the past year or so, but with the recent addition of a halfpipe to his backyard, Hugo has improved immensely. He did footplants, X-ups, one-handed one-footers, lookbacks, a high fakie cross-up to crash and a couple of impressive 540s. Hugo is once again a threat. Dennis McCoy rode his first-ever halfpipe contest with catlike style and high inverts, opposite-side one-handed one-footers, a 360 flyout that almost knocked Dominguez off the deck, X-up one-footers, a front-wheel abubaca (that Dennis says he, not Ron, invented) and a lookback alley oop. He ended his final run with a 540 about four feet out. Unfortunately, he hung up so badly that he caught his chain on the coping! Dennis flailed to a slam at the bottom of the ramp, but he wasn't hurt.
Hugo looked good, but he got fifth. Dennis ripped but didn't seem as comfortable on the halfpipe as he does on a quarterpipe-he snagged fourth. Mike D's limited trick list put him down to third. With more variations, plus his 540s and high airs, Mike could have won. Ron blazed, hopped and dropped a good variety of tricks, but too many crashes kept him down in second place. Four down, one to go. Unless you're dumb, you already know. Brian won, no question. His unreal heights and smooth-assilk style were no match for the rest. Brian is now $700 richer and leading in series points for the King of Vert title.
PROS RESULTS: 1.Brian Blyther 2.Ron Wilkerson 3.Mike Dominguez 4.Dennis McCoy 5.Hugo Gonzales
Ron Wilkerson. Photo by Scott Towne.
DMC. Photo by Scott Towne.
Hugo Gonzales. Photo by TenEyck Media.
|With the actual contest over, the standard procedure sticker toss/autograph session went on for an hour or so, and then somebody mustered up a rain dance and water started fallin'. Finally everyone went his separate way, and another killer King of Vert was over. Next one's in Washington, D.C.|