The first day of Byerly’s Toe Jam, April 20th, 2006, was a very special one. Not only is it Scott’s birthday, but it was also Reed Hansen’s sweet 16, and of course, earth day. So the competitors spent the time between their runs picking up trash. Nah, I’m just kidding about that last part.

The riders who competed today certainly had their work cut out for them, with only 6 spots (3 behind the boat and 3 behind the ski) to be split between 24 of them. And the competition was tough in both fields. Behind the boat it came down to wake to wake moves. The riders who moved on rode smooth and big.

Four heats of six were narrowed down, the top rider advancing from each heat. From there those riders went to the semis where the top 6 rode head to head to get the final three who would compete against the invited riders for the next two days. Perhaps the biggest perk of qualifying in either boat or jet ski was it was only the riders would be able to hit the pool set up, consisting of two serious metal hand rails.

Behind the boat, Reed Hansen, Aaron Rathy, Nick Taylor, Ryan Lemons, Rich Facciano and Ross Gardner won their heats to move on. With solid wake to wake moves and some flip tricks, Hansen, Rathy and Gardner moved on to compete against the pros. Please note that lip tricks were at a minimum, and apparently the times they are a changing.

<>In the jet ski competition, 85% of the scores were based on rails, while 15% went to overall impression. It was Kyle Hyams, Brandon Rau, Dave Hanson, Matt Hooker, Brett Little and Aaron Rathy who won their heats to move to the head to head competition. In short, shuv in and out maneuvers were what it took to move on. When it come down to one on one, Kyle Hyams, Matt Hooker and Aaron Rathy reigned supreme, with an especially stand out performance from Hyams who’s shuv on, shuv out on the box was one of the most technical moves of the day. Aaron Rathy is also one to watch, as the only person who qualified behind both and jet ski and the boat.

Six heats — winner of each heat advances

<>Heat One <>                                     Heat Two
<>1.) Rich Facciano                        1) Nick Taylor
2.) Stuart Shinn                           2) Steve Schoenhals
3.) Lois Becqueriaux                   3) Bret Little
4.) Brian Kobosko                      4)Enric Dosta    

Heat Three                                   Heat Four
1.) Reed Hansen                          1) Ryan Lemons
2.) David Hanson                        2) James Balzer
3.) Kyle Hyams                           3) Brandon Rau
4.) Brian Dalton                           4) Steve Campbell

Heat Five                                      Heat Six
1.) Aaron Rathy                           1) Ross Gardner
2.) Matt Hooker                           2) Chase Gregory
3.) Jono Boysen                           3) Ben Kaiser
4.) Gabe Paulson

Three winners advance to main event

1.)    Aaron Rathy      1) Reed Hansen         1) Ross Gardner
2.)    Nick Taylor       2) Ryan Lemons        2) Rich Facciano
PWC (Rail)
Six heats — winner of each heat advances

Heat One                                       Heat Two
1.)    Kyle Hyams                          1) Brandon Rau
2.)    Steve Schoenhals                  2) Chase Gregory
3.)    Reed Hansen                         3) Gabe Paulson
4.)    Jono Boysen                         4) Steve Capmbell

Heat Three                                    Heat Four
1.)    David Hanson                      1) Matt Hooker
2.)    Stuart Shinn                          2) Nick Taylor
3.)    Rich Facciano                       3) Ben Kaiser
4.)    Brian Dalton                         4) Ross Gardner

Heat Five                                       Heat Six
1.)    Bret Little                              1) Aaron Rathy
2.)    Enric Dosta                           2) James Balzer
3.)    Ryan Lemons                        3) Brian Kobosko
4.)    Lois Becqueriaux

PWC (Rail)
Three winners advance to main event

1.)    Kyle Hyams              1) Matt Hooker           1) Aaron Rathy
2.)    David Hansen           2) Brandon Rau          2) Bret Little