Greenville, NC is a funny place. It's a place where boys become men, students become graduates, and lots of late evenings become blurry memories. It's also a place where the CWS always seems to find the rainiest and coldest conditions of the year.
After a wet and chilly but very fun contest in 2007, the CWS returned to Greenville last weekend for their annual Halloween event. What started last year as a fun way to bid the summer farewell tuned into something much bigger in 2008, thanks mostly to a burst of support from Greenville-based retailer Overton's, who stepped up to match the existing CWS purse and brought in several riders to challenge CWS season champ Adam Fields in the pro division.
Oh, by the way: did I mention that all the riders had to dress up? Well they did, and it led to some of the more memorable moments of the 2008 season. There were all kinds of surprise appearances, including Stewie from Family Guy, a banana, John McEnroe, Phil Mickelson, and at least two Jokers. John McCain even took a break from the campaign trail to come shred with everyone. He's pretty good, too.
By the time the pro division rolled around, the rain stopped, the sun came out, and things got interesting. Adam Fields was riding a two-year-long streak of CWS victories and was the clear favorite coming into the event. Dressed as a popular pro women's wakeboarder (I won't mention names, but it rhymes with "Bamber Ring"), Adam shocked the crowd when he fell three times and left the door wide open for the rest of the field. Austin Hair threw on a Baywatch-inspired lifeguard outfit and threw down an insane run that would have easily taken the top honors any other day. However, it wasn't quite enough, and he was edged out by Indiana Jones, AKA Ben Greenwood, who walked away with the $2000 first prize. Once again, I'm glad I was MC-ing and not in the boat as a judge; it seems that the past three CWS events have all been nearly too close to call.
After the contest, everyone went out and painted the town red, thus ending the best CWS season so far. Everyone stay tuned for 2009 and be sure to come out if you're anywhere near a stop next year. Big thanks to all the sponsors: Overton's, Park Boats, Hyperlite, Slingshot, CWB, UGP, and Red Bull. Also, big thanks to Jodi for keeping the jams coming all season long and for keeping me company on the announcer's tower. See you guys next year…