BRISTOL, Connecticut, U.S.A. — Well, school finally let out Friday and it was time to pack up the gear and venture out into Lake Compounce’s employee parking, the area of the X Trials competition.
Beforehand, everyone who was with the press got a credential, some form of identification to signify that you’re superior to those common spectators.
Flop 1, the credential
It was just some puny pink wristband that said ESPN Media on it. Not any backstage pass necklace you can wear and really show off. Oh well, it gets me backstage.
First task of the day, find a parking spot
And boy is it good to be a journalist when you come to a major event late.
Success 1, the parking spot
With a flick of the wrist, we were able to pass through minutes of finding a parking space and walking what might’ve seemed like miles in the blazing sun. I did mention it was in the high 80’s, low 90’s, right? Tattoo members were shown to a small media parking spot right in front of the entrance for only a few feet of walking before getting to the entrance and the action. How nice.
Well, from then on, I’m left on my own to get as many stories in as I can.
With my handy credential on my wrist, I was given access to climb any tower and spectate from whereever I felt like going, even right in front of the course. No peering over fat, big-headed ladies for me. Anyway, my personal task was to find three men that I had interviewed a week before who were supposed to be attending.
Search for Jamie Bestwick
Well, stunt bike vert preliminaries were today, so I had the best chance searching for Jamie Bestwick, who had won first place in Grand Praire, Texas last month and took first place at last year’s X Games.
Unfortunately, I had arrived late and just was able to catch the end of the vert preliminaries. Bestwick had already run. Then, the final results for the preliminaries were shocking, to say the least.
Flop 2 and 3, Bestwick
Bestwick had unfortunately placed 13, which is really mysterious, as it is not normal for a consistently top scorer to fall to thirteenth so suddenly. So, I searched around, inquiring as to what happened to Jamie.
In my search, I discovered that Bestwick had hurt his arm or wrist. I’m not sure if it was during competition (but most likely) or not, but all I knew was that he was whisked away to the hospital to check on his arm.
Oh well. Maybe he’ll be there tomorrow in all his glory cheering on the top ten finalists.
With Bike prelims all over and some time to spare, I headed over to the Xperience to grab some free stuff. After all, there was a lot of it, and I’m a frugal type. The Xperience was loaded with free stuff, such as water bottles, key chains, reflectors, stickers galore, and coupons.
If you were lucky enough to win a prize in a contest (which wasn’t very hard since there was a contest almost every half an hour), you could’ve walked away with a picture with Andy McDonald (top pro skateboarder), your very own board (wake or skate), or even a brand new car.
The best thing I would get is some free suntan lotion and a water bottle to keep my hands full. Oh well, there’s always tomorow.
While I’m sunburning, I might as well get something more valuable than free but just as easily obtainable: Autographs.
With a newly found Sharpie pen, I collected at least 7 autographs on my only Tattoo shirt in one day. I’m shooting for at least 20 tomorrow, but we’ll see how that goes.
Luckily, everyone was nice about it, and I didn’t faint from being starstruck. Autographs I have now include Jay Miron and the two Yasutoko brothers. Not bad in a half an hour’s worth of collecting.
Well, with the sun in all its glory and the Bike Flatland about to start, it’s about time I headed over to the press tent to watch the Finals up close and personal.
Fortunately, the tent covered the sun and we were basking in the great shade while watching the athletes compete. Plus, to top off my free stuff bag, we were given two complimentary CDs, one from the band RA and a compilation CD that included artists such as the Deftones. Again, not bad.
Well, the flatland competition was equally as exciting as my day so far, and a great way to end the day.
Martti Kuoppa would take third place, behind Nate Penonzek and Phil Goden. Kuoppa however, would win the Hoffman Year-Round title.
I asked him what he thought about it and he simply said, “It feels great.”
Oh yeah, I got his autograph too.
Lastly, it was time for the awards, and all the athletes who won got these pretty fashionable and good-looking Connecticut blue license plates that reads “X TRIALS.”
Kuoppo, for his year-end title, got a WWF style looking belt to wear for 24 hours (it’s tradition) to signify he is the year-end victor.
Anyway, the day finally ended, and I’ve come to the realization that I really DON’T have any news story to write as I’ve been too occupied soaking up the stardom.
That’s Flop 5, I believe
Luckily, there’s always first person commentaries that you can always use to fill up the web site with, and so I am here doing so. After all, it’s not like I got through the day with nothing to write about.
Mike Nguyen is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.
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