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Taj Takes Backyard Jam

Nov 7 2002 / Thursday

• Mike Escamilla went to the Etnies Backyard Jam in Derby, England on the weekend of October 25-27, but didn’t compete. He did ride some in practice, even though he was suffering from an extremely sore ankle (sustained from doing a photo shoot with Ride BMX photographer Mark Losey for an upcoming poster). He also suffered from an extremely swollen knee that he just had drained. While in England, Mike sealed his love for his wife Jodi by getting a tattoo of her name around his wedding finger.
• Leading up to the Etnies Backyard Jam in Derby, Taj Mihelich had been working hard at T1 making sure all was taken care of so that he could go have some fun in England. Taj ruled the course all weekend long and, to no one's surprise, won the contest hands down! In the process, he split his lip wide open on the biggest trick of the contest—a huge tail whip transfer from the spine ramp sideways across the course to one of the transitions on the grind rail box. He traveled at least a good twelve feet over the ground and took a good couple of crashes—one resulting in the split lip. Taj didn’t care though, he was having a good time. He also raffled off his bike to some lucky kid with the help of Ian Morris’ Seventies Distribution. Taj spent last week at home just catching up on T1 affairs and relaxing before getting ready to head out to Southern California on Monday, November 4. He’ll be going on a Ride BMX road trip that will take him and a few other BMX heavyweights, including Dave Osato and Van Homan, up the West Coast. They will be hitting various spots along the way before ending up at the Etnies La Revolution next weekend at Skate Street in Ventura.
• Joe Rich has been informed by his doctor that his thumb is doing just fine. He should be able to resume riding by the end of November, which he is, understandably, super happy about. Joe went out to Philadelphia four days before heading to England for the Etnies Backyard Jam so that he could get some tattoo work done by his buddy, Dave Fox (who is a BMXer’s favorite when it comes to getting inked). When in England, Joe took plenty of photos of T1 and Etnies riders, as well as just honing his photography skills in general. Joe also judged the contest. After the Backyard Jam, he went back to Philly to get his new skin art colored in, and also to hang out with his family. Joe also just had a photo he took published on the cover of the newest issue of DIG BMX, which he’s really happy about. He returns home to Austin on Monday, November 4, where he will commence work on the T1 world tour.
• Ruben Alcantara was home in Austin just catching up on things before going to England for the Etnies Backyard Jam, where he placed a respectable 6th with his usual flowing style and original lines. Ruben had a good time and enjoyed himself. He flew home to Spain just to relax and recuperate after a full year of traveling and attending contests. He will return to the U.S. on December 27, when he is scheduled to join the T1 team on their world tour.
• John Heaton attended the Etnies Backyard Jam and placed a well-deserved 2nd with his usual display of flip to manuals, awesome 540 wall rides and just excellent lines around the whole course—pulling most of his tricks first try in usual Heaton style. John has been filming for the MacNeil bikes video due out very soon. Besides that, the weather has been a little nippy up in Canada, slowing down outdoor sessions.
• Nate Wessel went to England for the Etnies Backyard Jam, where he had a good time making the finals and placing a well-respected 16th in a sixteen-man final. Nate returned home to Cleveland to some cold weather. He spent a day relaxing before going to a school, where one of his friends is a teacher. He met with some of the kids and told them what he did for a living—which is a little more exciting than the usual show 'n' tell of a plumber, or something. Nate gave out stickers and chatted with the kids for about an hour—they were so stoked. This past weekend, Nate went down to Kansas City to attend a friend’s wedding. He will be leaving this Wednesday, November 6, to go to Hawaii with Etnies team mate Dave Freimuth and a few other good friends just to chill and have a good time.
• Nate Hanson has been working as usual at Tip Plus / Primo as well as installing a new stylish fire place in his house. Nate also recently put a full roll cage in his Blazer. He has been riding up at the Trabuco pool with some friends; as well as the usual Vans Orange and Palace Park in Irvine. Nate rode Skate Street skatepark on Sunday until the early hours of the morning with Etnies team mate Brian Terada and some other good friends.
• Jason Enns has been at home just taking things easy and filming extra footage for the Demolition DVD, his accessory sponsor. Surprisingly, the weather has still been pretty good up in Vancouver, which Jason is really surprised about. He’s been scoping out some spots for a Ride BMX video that is coming out soon with a Jason Enns section.
• Prior to going to England for the Etnies Backyard Jam, Sandy Carson spent some quality time at home with his girl, as well as riding some local spots in Austin. He also did some writing for DIG BMX magazine. Sandy rode in the contest, but just barely missed out on making the finals by a couple of points. He still rode awesome, though, and definitely had a good time. Sandy stayed after the Backyard Jam to attend another jam up in Liverpool put on by Lord clothing with Etnies team mate Garrett Byrnes. It was kind of an all night bike/ skate Jam deal. Sandy also headed over to Belfast, Ireland to work on DIG Magazine with its creator, Will Smith, in his home town. Sandy returned home to Austin on November 4th.
• Before going out to the Etnies Backyard Jam at the end of October, Garrett Byrnes had been skating a lot back home in New Jersey and getting some final surfing missions done before the harsh winds of winter come around on the East Coast. Garrett placed 8th. in the Backyard Jam with his awesome, super-fast lines and big transfers to pedal slide attempts that would kill any other mere mortal. He went to the same Lord Jam that Etnies team mate Sandy Carson attended up in Liverpool before heading back home to Jersey on November 3rd. Garrett will hopefully be relaxing before getting ready to head out on the T1 world tour with Etnies team mates Joe Rich, Nate Wessel and Ruben Alcantara.
• Josh Stricker was working hard at school before heading out to the Etnies Backyard Jam, where he competed but did not make the finals due to some crashes. But it wasn’t for lack of trying—big transfers and interesting manual lines would have made this a tasty recipe for a good contest run on a normal day for Josh, but just not that day. Josh came back to Philly to play catch-up with his school work, which he’s taking very seriously.
• Edwin Delarosa also went over for the Etnies Backyard Jam. He sessioned the shit out of the grind rail box and ledge, but, unfortunately, broke his chain in his run and had to start over. In the end, it just wasn’t good enough to make the finals. If it was just a contest on grinds, Edwin would win hands down. Edwin enjoyed himself, though, and has been branching out and trying to ride more transitions, which he’s been having fun doing. Edwin returned home to some crappy weather in New York, which put a dent in his usual daily riding sessions in the city. This gave Edwin time to give his bike some love by putting new bars and wheels on. He’s getting ready to head out to Spain on the FIT Bikes tour. They’re going to rent an apartment out there for a while to get footage and take photos.
• Brian Terada has been doing his usual shredding up in Ventura County, hitting all the local street spots and keeping things low key, sessioning Skate Street skatepark on a regular basis, as well as hitting the super down-low park session on Sunday night with Etnies team mate Nate Hanson. Brian did a mini-ramp demo with some guys from Skate Street at the Pond of Anaheim on Thursday for a religious group.
• Dave Freimuth has been busy organizing and helping put on the Baco Halloween Jam at Area 51 Skatepark in Appleton, Wisconsin this past weekend. He’s put a lot of work into fixing the ramps and building new stuff to spice things up. Dave also had the opportunity to ride some of his creations, which have been super-fun. He’s getting ready to head out to Hawaii this Wednesday with Etnies teammate Nate Wessel for some quality rest and relaxation.

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