Contests can be a place to show off and gain recognition. For most people, both those competing and those watching, a contest is also just a good excuse to see old friends and bond over a common interest. With the exodus of the Vans Cup, Dew Tour and other local competitions growing stale, the staff at Heckler decided to take the reins and throw a contest that would bring the Tahoe boarding community together for a day of fun in the sun. Such is the birth of the Rattlesnake Rampage. Tails First!
After a couple months of planning naturally all boiling down to the last week, April 3rd rolled over on the calendar and it was time to go. The format was simple: A switch boardercross and switch method contest held over the course of the day with the highest combined score taking home $1000, some awesome gear from our sponsors and a badass trophy. No doublecorks, no trick of the year BS. Just solid snowboarding that would separate the men from the boys and put a smile on everyone's face in the process.
Gray Thompson, Eric Messier, and Nick Geisen go for the last minute wax technique.
Zach Jacobsen drinks off a little practice raspberry.
Tim “The Monster” Eddy.
Johnny Lazz on the scene.
The day started on Boreal's boardercross course. After weeks of claims, days of practice and a few minutes spent hot waxing, it was finally time to see who could make it down the hill the fastest, and the best part was that no one really knew who it would be. Did bigger guys have an advantage? Did the course favor goofy footers or regular footers? Wheres the beer? In the end, no one really knew. Well, some at least knew where the beer was, but everything else would be left up to the race.
With over 10 heats of four competitors, things got serious quick. It's hard enough to go down the mountain backwards, but factor in 4 people neck and neck, a hail of snowballs from the crowd and Dirty Joel Cline on the mic heckling and now you've opened up a whole new can of worms. Some favorites got knocked out of the running quick, either due to poor waxing, over amping or overclaiming. Likewise, some underdogs quickly made themselves known and soon enough the final four stood atop the start gate.
Lazz pounds a beer while Scotty Hoffman goes for the pre-claim.
Lazz and Scotty battle it out.
Race faces before the toughest heat of the day. Kyle Miller, Grey Thompson, Eric Messier, and Shane Fortier.
And they're off!!!
Neck and neck in the flats.
Coming in fast on one of the lower turns.
Tom Pelley and Niko Cioffi speed toward the finish.
Dave Abarta and Dcon after their semi heat.
David Mann found the trees with a smile.
Dcon slides across the finish line in style!
Kenneth Russel, Scotty Hoffman, Eric Messier, and Tom Pelley.
With Kenneth Russel, Eric Messier, Tom Pelley and Scotty Hoffman in the final heat, everyone knew they would be in for a good race. Not a good, clean race, but an entertaining one nonetheless. As soon as they left the gates it was anyone's race. Through the upper section they were neck and neck, each taking the lead for a few seconds only to be taken in one of the turns.
In that close of a race someone is bound to go down and Kenneth Russell was the first to lose his footing and the lead. Not long after, Tom Pelley fell off course and lost his chance. It was finally up to Hoffman and Messier, and Messier had a solid lead. Out of nowhere, Pelley and Russell came blasting in, but only as a result of shortcutting an entire section of the course. The Australian Tom Pelley crossed the finish line first with Eric Messier close behind. Pelley's glory was shortlived as everyone found out he pulled the southern hemisphere swindle and Tahoe local Eric Messier name was cemented as the first Rattlesnake Rampage Switch Boardercross Champion!
Next up, the Switch Method Contest, judged by legend and father of the Grasser, Chris Roach. The chaos from the boardercross carried right over to the jump to see who had the best switch method. Right away it became apparent that everyone had been practicing. What everyone thought would be a battle between two or three people became a showcase from the whole field.
Dave and Neri suck at shotgunning.
Mann-ly switch method
Silver Serino, down but not out.
OMG, Selfies!!! LOLZ. Barf. @_vag_ @kchartsock & @jessicakay7. Go harass them on instagram
Chris Wilmoth attending to his broken finger with a little of the old Vitamin-B.
Winner of the Total Ripper Award kick one out.
Nick Geisen kicks on out.
Dirty Joel Cline was heckling the riders, crowd, innocent bystanders, and people that weren't even there.
Willy keeps it proper.
Dakota Whitaker sleeps through his switch method.
Brendan Gerard sails on out over the Capita banner.
Warp Wave's Gray Thompson shows some skin over Castle Peak. Check them out at Warp-Wave.com kids.
When the dust and snowballs, and foaming beers finally cleared, Head Judge Chris Roach declared Chris Hatt, aka Junior, the winner with unarguably the best switch method of the day. Right on his heels was Shane Fortier, Kyle Miller, Eric Messier and Kenneth Russell. The coveted first place spot could have gone to any of them, but in the end Junior tweaked his just a little bit harder and went a little bit bigger. High Fives were slapped, beers were slammed and everyone sauntered into the lodge for the the final ceremonies.
Kenneth Russell multitasks.
Shane Fortier blasts a smooth one.
A contest where the judges are hucking snowballs at you in the finals has to be pretty serious. Top left going clockwise: Brendan Gerard, Gray Thompson, Alex Hereford, Ben Rice getting Nailed by Brian Neri. Photos: Kevin Lee Baker
Josh 'Fletch' Feliciano gets served in the face.
Brian Neri hits Ben Rice in his bozwrecks as a dozen more snowballs are headed right for him.
Banger puts his switch method to use, kicking the snowballs out of his way.
Eric Messier dodges snowballs with style!
Junior with the best switch method of the day.
Legend Chris Roach tabulates scores with judges Dcon and Dave Abarta.
In the end, Messier's first place boardercross finish gave him a clear advantage in the overall, and with his clear switch methods almost every hit, he emergerd victorious as the 2013 Rattlesnake Rampage Champion. Rounding out the podium was Shane Fortier in 2nd place and Kenneth Russell in 3rd. Everyone got some prizes and walked away stoked. Most importantly of all, everyone in attendance had an awesome time and talk was already buzzing about gunning for Messiers' title next year.
Overall winners Eric Messier (1st) Shane Fortier (2nd) and Kenneth Russell (3rd)
The Champ! Eric Messier.
Stay tuned for the recap video in a few days!
Here are some of the photos people posted on instagram from the Rattlesnake Rampage. To see more, make sure to follow @hecklermagazine.
Big thanks to our sponsors:
See you next year!