Words by Ben Gavelda, TransWorld SNOWboarding
The Riders’ Poll roared! Travis Rice and the infamous GT took the stage in front of a stacked crowd in downtown Denver to host the 12th Annual TransWorld Snowboarding Riders’ Poll presented by New Era on Friday night. The historic Fillmore Auditorium played host to eager fans, established pros, industry heads, and even a few lurking legends while snowboarding’s brightest were acknowledged for their 2010 riding pursuits. And of course, everyone came to party, too.
Starting it off fresh, the highly competitive Men’s Rookie Of The Year award went to overall B.C. badass Mark Sollors. While he’s certainly no rookie up in the great white of Canada, Sollors and his stylish riding are now further recognized in the States. His parents made it all the way down from Kelowna, B.C., Canada, to support their boy.
From skate rat, to Baker loc’ Mike Ranquet has contributed to the Northwest snowboard and skate scene for years and The Legend Award was much deserved. As a young buck with a plot of land and a vert ramp outside Seattle, Ranquet kept the skate scene burning in Washington before blasting big cliffs at Baker and tearing through the pro snowboard scene. Dave Lee presented Ranquet with the award saying, “After I saw him ride, I said ‘f–k yeah, I want to do that.’ I think snowboarding owes a lot to him.” That led into a long ramble and tribute to skateboarding and it’s roots in sliding sideways on snow with a quick bark that, “…skiing is f–king gay, seriously.”
Mikey LeBlanc’s knees of steel landed him the Standout Of The Year award for his massive stairset ender in Videograss’ Bon Voyage. Serioulsy, Mikey is still out there stomping it bigger than ever. “I’ve been riding for probably twice as long as these other nominees, which makes me feel good that I’m still in it. I couldn’t have stomped that one on a reverse camber board, that’s for sure.”
It came down to the last few riders’ votes to determine the close race for the Video Of The Year award, which went to TransWorld SNOWboarding’s In Color. Rad soundtrack, versatile riding, sick crew–videographers Joe Carlino, Gary Milton and Hayden Rensch created the snowboard flick of the year and the pro riding community agreed.
One of Australia’s finest exports, Torah Bright took home the Women’s Rider Of The Year award. Torah absolutely killed it at the Vancouver Olympics and she’s not stopping there. Word is she has some double dip tricks and has her eyes set on the 2014 Sochi, Russia games.
Our loyal readers made it known that Torstein Horgmo is and Jess Kimura were their Men’s and Women’s Reader’s Choice selections for 2010. And with that award, Canadian Jess Kimura kicked off her sweep for the evening. Kimura stole the show for women’s snowboarding and proved she’s one of the hardest working, most talented female riders in the game by taking home the Women’s Video Part Of The Year award for her standout opener in Think Thank’s Left Brain Right Brain, too. After a heap of thanks Jess mentioned, “I want to thank f–king Jesse Burtner for giving me a chance.” With a grip of magazine coverage and another banging video part in Peep Show’s Let’s Make Better Mistakes Tomorrow, this ambitious Canadian has been killing it.
While we’re talking about cleaning up, the Eastern Sierra souljah John Jackson did it again. John J took home top honors of the evening including Men’s Rider Of The Year and Men’s Video Part Of The Year for his double song, double corked backcountry charge in Forum’s F’ IT. Two years in a row now, snowboarding’s elite have labeled him the best rider with the best video part of the year. It truly is a massive honor to be handed both awards, back to back, in a time when the level of videos, tricks, and riding is exponentially expanding in snowboarding.
The awards closed with Travis Rice and the Brain Farm posse giving a glimpse of the new, next level movie The Art Of Flight before the partying commenced for the night. A giant thanks goes out to all the riders, readers, and industry that make this awards show possible. You all rule, seriously.
Keep your browser set on TWSnow.com for continuing coverage and videos from the Riders’ Poll throughout the week.