On a recent vacation to Vancouver, British Columbia I was pleasantly taken aback by how the city immediately juxtaposes the urban with mother nature. I’ve seen no other place on Earth that integrates these two potentially conflicting entities so well; without the mundane banality of the suburbs in between.
On Saturday June 12, 2010. Chicago got a taste of just how scenic the nature-meets-city aesthetic can be at Red Bull Stomping Ground, a BMX freestyle competition that transformed an abandoned, River West neighborhood factory lot into the ultimate dirt playground. The course, located at Augusta and Elston was designed by Tim “Fuzzy Hall,” who’s sort of like the Larry Bird of BMX.
Now I know about as much about BMX as I do about women’s shoes (being a heterosexual male, I know absolutely nothing about women’s shoes), but that didn’t stop me from appreciating the event on numerous levels. The course itself is the star; with exciting bike jumps and flips the dazzling co-star. These aerial maneuvers are even more exciting when occurring with the city’s beautiful skyline as the backdrop.
By Paul M. Banks
Unfortunately, the day’s weather was anything but beautiful. Intermittent rain cut the event short, and most of the crowd fled before the results were made official. Brandon Dosch took first place, and the award for best trick, while Chris Doyle took second, Mike “Hucker” Clark third. But you don’t have to know that much about the sport to appreciate the brazenness (or moxie, guts, heart, courage, thrassos, sisu, stones, cajones, or chutzpah if you prefer) it takes to go get “wicked air” enough on these jumps to perform “540s” and “720s.”
The event announcer himself said it best following one of Dosch’s jumps: “I don’t care about my nut sack, I just did a triple ____.” My apologies to the primarily young, heavily-inked crowd in attendance for not knowing the specific dirt biking jargon that was completed than sentence. And I was unable to get answer out of my sources at the event after the competition.
However, I could tell that many of the people in attendance were like me: there to see Fuzzy’s masterpiece of stone, rubble, and dirt. One of the jumps even included a way-past-it’s-prime taxicab, adding further intrigue to the course.
“Fuzzy Hall will hands-down build some of the sickest obstacles that we’ve never seen,” said 2006 Action Sports Tour Dirt winner Anthony Napolitan earlier this week on ESPN.com
If Hall is the Picasso of dirt courses, then the Chicago Stomping Ground may just be his Guernica.
“This backdrop of Chicago, I don’t think it gets better than this. This is my 85th course, and this is one of my favorite sites I’ve ever built on,” Hall said in the Examiner.
It’s just a shame the weather prohibited him from sharing this fascinating course (one that took weeks to build) with more people.
You can watch the video promo here
The event was broadcast live on Red Bull TV. NBC 5 Chicago will rebroadcast it at a later date.Follow paulmbanks