Words by: Catherine Peck
Despite not getting to bed until 4.30am, I still managed to jump out of bed on Sunday morning as I was so excited to report back from Saturday night's epic event – ‘The Santa Cruz Rookie Rider Clash’.
This event has gone down as my best ever UK riding experience. The highlight for me was hearing Alice Blake’s name being called out as the Girls ‘Santa Cruz Rookie Rider’ winner. I don't think I've been that excited for at least two years! In fact I was jumping up and down and making so many girly screeches that Natalie (Animal sponsored rider) came up to me and said “did you win"?!
So why was I so happy for Alice? Well, Alice wanted this win so much and has been training hard at Milton Keynes (MK). Plus, her Dad challenged her by saying she could only go to the Brits this year if she won free tickets, accommodation, lift pass, etc! So no excuse now Dad, the Brits will just have to fit in with GCSEs!
It was a bit of mission getting to the Snowdome in Tamworth but it was well worth the drive. The car was full with Alice (16), Connor (13) and his brother Reece (11), (the MK-sponsored riders) – I had been begged into taking everyone and happily agreed but on the condition that I was expecting lots of wins. It was a late one as the comp started at 10pm and we were all still shredding at 1.30am. This is the usual time slot for Tamworth’s Freestyle sessions on Saturday nights, with a Jib Session for the first hour and a half and the final not kicking off until midnight. And what a great way to spend your Saturday night; with fellow shredders, hitting some gnarly features, with some great tunes.
Between our little team we did well on the winnings front. Alice, Santa Cruz Girls Champion, took home entry to the Brits, free entry to the after parties, £200 towards accommodation, a lift pass for the week, Santa Cruz board and bindings, Electric goggles, Vans boots of her choice and Skull Candy ‘Santa Cruz Screaming Hand’ headphones. As if this was not enough, each winner also took home a free subscription to Snowboard Club UK and media partners Cooler Magazine and Whitelines so they can keep up-to-date with all goings on in the snowboard world. The Santa Cruz team were also throwing out prizes for sick tricks on selected features, so between us we left with; 2 belts, 2 caps, 2 beanies, 4 girlie tops, t-shirt, 2 hoodies, Skull Candy headphones and a DVD! Thank you so much…
Rob Lawton took home the equivalent of Alice’s winnings but for the Boys Overall Winner. So, he will also be gracing the Brits with his style on behalf of Santa Cruz. There were some shit-hot riders there, so Rob and Alice have both done themselves proud.
Tempted by all the prizes up for grabs, we, along with every other rider, were all stepping it up to the max. A massive thank you to Santa Cruz as some comps are a little reserved on the prize front but the amount of gear giveaways certainly encouraged and motivated a lot of riders!
I caught up with Event Organizer Cherry Martin to get her take on the night: "We have had such a great night at Tamworth SnowDome. Over 80 wannabe shredders turned up to ride and rode hard to win. It was inspiring to see the levels people push themselves to and we made sure that everyone that competed went home with a prize of some sort – for stomping their landings or epic stack its! We’ll definitely be running another comp like this so stay tuned to santacruzeurope.com for more…."
The Snowdome at Tamworth is open to all. To check out the high caliber of riders and stomping atmosphere why not pop along to the freestyle nights on every Saturday night at 10pm, until 1.30am on Sunday morning. And if the riding all gets too much, you can enjoy a nice drink in the outside bar overlooking the slope.
Catherine Peck is sponsored by Animal and Salomon.