Red Bull Pleasant Valley BMX Jam – Kansas City

Tom Dugan, toboggan
Major boost courtesy of Tom Dugan. Photo courtesy of Thad Allender.

Last night, Red Bull sponsored a BMX Jam at the Pleasant Valley Skatepark in Kansas City, MO, and it was fast, loose and everything a jam-format contest should be. Justin Mann, KC local, organized the whole deal and Red Bull provided the cash for the riders and the beverages for all. With as much Red Bull as was flowing, there were a TON of kids in the crowd who are probably still buzzed.(Editor’s note: I’ve been given more information on the contest, and want to pass it along, especially as it seems this crew has some big plans for next spring (more to come on that). Jesse McCollum worked hard to put this together with Kyle Munn and Justin Mann, mentioned above, and Ivy Melvin from Red Bull. Dig.)

The format of the contest consisted of multiple 10-minute open sessions with judges throughout the park giving $$$ for tricks pulled. Then, there were 5 or so 10-minute sessions on various features of the park, and winnings were given for longest jump, biggest gap, etc. At the end of the night, the riders turned in the funny money for cold, hard cash.

Personally, the contest was cool for so many reasons:

  1. The turnout was impressive – 25 or so riders competing, with many more all over the park, and a big crowd taking it all in. This all went down with mostly word-of-mouth promotion from what I can tell. My faith in BMX went up a couple notches.
  2. I brought my 5-year old (his first contest in-person), and he was so stoked about the whole thing, especially the gap session.
  3. I finally got to meet a couple guys whose work and riding I’ve respected for a while. Phil Wasson, FBM rider and now machine shop entrepreneur – he was one of the judges, and we talked about doing an interview about the work he’s been doing for Knight, Tree and others. Also met Thad Allender, an excellent photographer and rider, whose work I’ve followed for a while. He’s now a neighbor of mine, and I’m hoping to ride with him and his crew soon. Check out more of his photos of the contest at his Flickr site (need a flickr or yahoo account to view them).
  4. Got to make reintroductions with Dennis McCoy, as well as see him ride and introduce my him to my kid. I knew it was Dennis from across the park when I saw the full-face helmet (more riders should take note…), and the crazy-long hang-fives and nose-wheelies out of the transition and around the bowl. He said he was asked to judge, but was unsure of his schedule, with things like running and riding in the Dew Tour, for example. Instead, he just came to ride, watch and enjoy the level of riding from the locals.
  5. As I said, the level of riding was right-on, and the respect between the riders was evident. Technical and flow styles were represented, and both were encouraged by the judges and applauded by the crowd.

I hope that the organizers continue to put together events like this around Kansas and Missouri. With support from Red Bull and bike shops like Cycle City, (who gave a $600 gift certificate to one of the riders who was tearing it up on a beater of a bike for the unannounced P.O.S. award) I know they’ll continue to grow and pull in more riders, crowds, and kids wanting to give BMX a go.

If anyone has more photos or video, send me links, and I’ll post ‘em up.

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