ROOTS JAM ORLANDO FLORIDA 2004
â€œGoing back to the ROOTSâ€? was decided a minute after last years Roots jam, this is gonna be in my schedule every April from now on. Florida is not the worst place to travel to in April, nice weather, good nightlife, friendly people and what more. Over 160 amateurs thought that too and with lots of flatlanders and Pro’s it made this one of the biggest comps in the USA.
Mike Vincent was hired by the UGP crew to help out organising this years Roots Jam and it was Mike that did a lot of good work and made it run smoother than ever. Ron and Rachel Bonner did a good job with this 7th Roots and hope they will host this jam for a long time. It seems that the Roots is the only real â€œundergroundâ€? contest of the year with a big turnout and still has that great feeling of a non-stress contest.
The 16 and under class is so fucking amazing that they were even better than the 17 and over class! This is a good sign for the future, it looked that the new generation was not ready yet to take over the Oldschool riders but now they are ready to give it a shot at Pro class soon. See Scotty Cranmer coming from 16 years and under 2 years ago and winning Pro last year and a solid 2nd place this year so being 17 is not a disadvantage anymore.
The Course this year was awesome, same â€œMassâ€? crew as last year with some new members did a great job, it was even better than last year and I didn’t hear one complaint, this was topquality and rode like a permanent indoor skatepark and that for just a couple of days.
The big Wall was filled with DC logos the main sponsor, in front of the wall they got lots of wedges/ramps so it was used by every type of rider. In the middle they had a big Wall with 4 foot of vert, wedges, a roller which was good to see how much BMX skilles the riders had and a boxjump. The other side was filled with a big platform with the famous rainbow rail and lots of ramps and wedges, all ramps were filled with sponsor logos to keep them happy.
Flatland was another item added last year and it was a wise decision cause the best riders of the USA were attendant. Seeing Stephen Cerra in 10th place says enough, it was a tough class there were no riders outside the USA this time but it was Matt Wilhelm for the second time who won the Pro class. Aaron Frost got 4rd being beaten by Local Scott Weaver who rode extremely well this year, he was good last year but deserved to be in the top 3 this year. Second was Terry Adams who is very original and on the roll this year, it seems that he found his way in the contest circuit and travels more than ever to show his unique style. The Amateur class was won by Justin Miller.
European riders needs to wake up! This is an American contest with a European feeling and this year I was the only one to represent our side of the ocean, I mean with drinking and not ridingâ€¦ Buy a ticket to Orlando (not very Expensive) , book a cheap hotel, enter the contest and you will come back the years after cause you don’t want to miss this. I am lucky to have good friends in Orlando so they hook me up with a sleeping place at the House Of Terror making it easy to find the easter eggs cause they were smashed against the house but that’s another story I can’t tell youâ€¦.
Pro Street/Park/Ramps whatever was filled with awesome riders but with only 15 riders going to the finals it was hard to make it to that final run. John Jennings was wakeboarding only minutes before the finals and broke his bike so he couldn’t ride and got 15th place. Jeremy Hrabal got 14th and newcomer from Florida Justin French made it to the finals and ended up with the lucky number. Bohan and Parenti just missed the top 10 with Parenti going big on every trick but crashe a lot on the wall. Ryan Guetter just beat Rob Darden who did a tailwhip to wallwalk and a double tailwhip for 9th place.
Tom Haugen is sponsored by SNAFU now and make TM Mike C. happy with a eight place with tech stuff over the spine just finishing behind Allan Cooke who came back from the Backyard jam a week earlier. Aussie Colin MacKay missed top 5 by a hair, Josh Harrington was going big but not big enough to beat Mike Aitken with his patented â€œlate tabletopsâ€?. Ryan Nyquist was the only Big Time Pro in the final with 720’s over the spine and truckdrivers but couldn’t keep the youngsters from winning this Pro class.
Scotty Cranmer was ahead of Morgan Wade in the first run according to my judging sheet but when Morgan Wade hit the ceiling with his rear peg coming from the big vertwall everyone was so superstoked that this SNAFU rider was the hero of the day. This made Morgan Wade the winner and got home with a nice Fender Guitar so we will see him on MTV soon playing with his new band: Texas homeboys or whatever.
ROOTS is one of the best contests of the year and I hope more Europeans are going next year, it is worth it, although you can’t drink at the contest (at least not in public, call me for the tricks) it makes it feel at home. The Orlando Nightlife is awesome too so that makes it worth alone to go. Just be friends with Eric Abbadessa and he hooks you up with some cheap drinks or call Eve at the Hide-away bar for some PBR’s. Thanks to J-Rod, Mike, Ron & Rachel for making this trip possible, see you next year!
Paul de Jong