Hotfootin’ to Blackfoot
It’s been such a busy year for the Monster Energy FreestyleMX.com Worldwide Tour presented by SMP Clothing that it wasn’t hard to believe this was our first contest of the year. That’s right, we finally got both tour buses on the same side of the country long enough to make a long awaited return to Blackfoot, Idaho and the Eastern Idaho State Fair. Now I know what you are thinking, “Idaho? Big contest and long awaited?” Yes, yes and yes.
Eastern Idaho loves dirt bikes and they really love FMX. We have been there ten times in eleven years and after missing last year, the ticket pre-sale was up 200% for 2012! This stop sees a few TV interviews, tons of radio and print as well- these people get it! Blackfoot has also seen some of the most treacherous weather in past years threatening to cancel shows, but it has not happened yet-and this year the conditions were perfect.
We invited a few new faces to the contest this year like Garrett Ahlf and Jeff Griffin from Bako, Hart and Huntingtons Lance Coury and One Industries Bryce Hudson. Of course many of the crowds usual favorites made it up for the gig too and as evidenced by the 2.5 hour autograph line at the end of the night-the fans were stoked.
The night got kicked off with our first five riders of ten trying to get into the five man final which saw Bryce Hudson and Famous Stars and Straps rider Rich Kearns advance. Garrett who was sidelined just a few months ago with spine compression fractures just missed out along with Cainville ripper Sean Nielson and the Troy Lee Designs John “Junkyard Dog” Distler. The judges were tough and had to be with so much talent on the bill. One mistake put a rider out of contention as they were compared on technical skill as much as showmanship and style.
The second round of qualifiers eliminated Lance Coury and Jeff Griffin-both of whom had the least amount of time to learn the ramps this year. Advancing was the newest Metal Mulisha member Kenny Bell (who wowed fans with the Suicide Belly Roll), SCS Unlimited’s Keith Sayers from nearby Butte, Montana and the Monster Energy new guy Matt Buyten.
The Monster Energy Best Whip competition kind of surprised as everyone expected Lance Coury to do really well but he was bested by Rich Kearns, who didn’t get the whip he really wanted. The young gun Bryce Hudson popped a Turn Down getting the front wheel pointed past 90 degrees which impressed everyone including the fans which picked him as the winner. That is not easy to do on a mobile set up! We also brought back what I thought was the most fun and entertaining event of the night-Moto Pig presented by SMP Clothing. It started out with five riders doing some awesome old-school Goon tricks and everyone in the place was cracking up. It got down to the NVHC crew of Bell and Buyten who started calling tricks on the fly with Bell finally pulling out a win after five rounds!
Onto the Final. Kearns came out firing with a really technical run and did not put a wheel wrong the entire time which was just too much for Bell, Sayers or Hudson to match (even though everyone of those guys got high marks from the judges). It was down to the last rider, 7 time X-Games Step Up gold medalist Matt Buyten to try and unseat the Connecticut native. By technicality- Kearns narrowly had the edge by a tenth or two in points- but the crowd picked Buyten who showed a little more style in his run. These two guys really know how to get everything from their tricks-be it a Seat Grab, Bar Trick or those combined with a Backflip, but where Rich is textbook and perfect, Matt rides like the Devil may care and has a real moto-type style. It’s aggression with ease if I could explain it. But I can’t so you have to come see him ride! Check out the schedule to find out where he will be next and keep up to date with any additions or changes on our Facebook at ‘Freestylemx.com’
Big thanks to the fantastic crowd that came out, you made the event we were all waiting for that much better and we cannot wait to be back in 2013!