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etnies Sponsored UGP Roots Contest Recap

Apr 11 2002 / Thursday

April 6th - 7th, 2002
Orlando, Florida
UGP held
the Roots Jam located at the Central Florida Fairgrounds in Orlando, Florida
April 6th and 7th for the 5th year in a row. This event is held much differently
from other events; it is free to spectators, no big corporate-type sponsors,
and you have a ton of entries in both the Am contest and the Pro contest.
The Am contest had close to 200 entries, and the Pro contest had approximately
100 entries! It seems that so many people turn up for the contest because
of the fact it is truly a roots contest.
There were seven etnies riders at the event: Dave
Friemuth, Josh Stricker,
Adam Baker, Brian Vowell, Aaron Behnke, Leif Valin,
and etnies-Australia rider Pete Majoinen (cover of RideBMX Magazine,
May 2002 issue). A bunch of other guys would have been there, but a Primo/Props
road trip was planned from Orlando to St. Louis, Missouri from April 5th
to April 10th. Taj Mihelich, Ian Morris, Brian Terada, Nate Hanson, Mike
Tagliavento, and etnies-UK rider Bas Keep were all on the Primo trip, so
didn't make it to the contest. I'm sure those guys had a good time on the
trip and got a lot of work done, but they missed a kick-ass contest.
With so many riders, the folks at UGP had some scheduling to do. With close
to 200 Am riders broken down into two divisions (15 & under, and 16
& over) and approximately 100 Pro riders, things had to be scheduled
out and they had to run smooth. Friday was designated as a practice only
day, the Am contest was scheduled for Saturday (with finals on Sunday),
and the Pro contest for pretty much all day Sunday.
The Am contest began on Saturday morning, and went pretty late into the
evening. With so many Ams, what could you expect? The Pros got their opportunity
to practice after the Am qualifiers were over. It was tough to keep only
the scheduled heats on the course at once, so the course got pretty crowded.
And for the most part, the riders were getting acquainted with the course
checking out possible lines…pretty much saving themselves for the contest
the next day.
Saturday night, TransWorld BMX photographer Keith Mulligan had a black and
white photography exhibit at a local gallery in the Orlando downtown area.
Tons of amazing photos were on display including photos of riding, photos
of landscapes and scenery, and some random photos that don't fit into the
first two categories. I must say, Keith did an amazing job with this exhibit
that displayed his favorite photos that he has taken over the years. Nice
job Keith!
The Pro contest was pretty much all day Sunday. The crowd had definitely
grown since the previous day, which I think was due to a lot of the Ams
now being spectators as opposed to participants. As I mentioned before,
there was 100 pros in the contest so you can imagine a lot of amazing riding
went down. The majority of the contest was two runs for 60 seconds each,
and the average of the two scores was your total qualifying score. The finals
would have 10 riders (pretty tough to cut down from 100), and would be held
in a jam format. It would be a 30-minute jam session where each rider would
have 3 runs. The riders in the finals didn't let anyone down either. In
that 30-minute session, I witnessed some pretty gnarly tricks. Wait 'til
you see the coverage from the contest and you'll see what I mean.
Dave Friemuth ended up placing 13th (close to making the final, probably
should have), Josh Stricker 27th, and the other riders not far behind.
The 5th annual UGP Roots contest was definitely a success. Etnies would
like to thank the UGP staff, the riders, the fans, and everybody else that
was involved in making this contest kick-ass. Thanks everyone!
Oh yeah, the UGP after party on Sunday night was fun to.

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