The Projects, 8:30 a.m.: There’s always been something a little bit different, and a little bit special, about the Projects. But this morning these hallowed and dusty grounds are even more amazing than usual — as green as a rolling sea. Scott Byerly and crew must have been busy weed-whacking, root-hogging, back-hoeing and short-hauling crap all week to get it to sparkle like this — it gleams with an air of respectability that nobody ever imagined it could. If they keep this up, they’re going to have to change the name.

Soon after: The contestants start floating in, first some underground kids, on time and eager, and later the fashionably late arrivals like Danny Hampson, Aaron Reed and George Daniels, who casually prowl the grounds like they’ve grown up here. Hampson glibly carries his board shorts over a shoulder with two fingers, like a carefree dolphin cruising the shallows for a quick meal. There is no hiding his hunger this year. As for Byerly, he holds his head high like a proud papa, as he always does, showing off yet another new baby (his park) to all the adoring fans.

The riding: Starts without much fanfare, despite Nick Weinacker and Dano the Mano burning up the mics. Everyone seems busy catching up, getting their supplies and stores ready for the day and just feeling out this year’s Jam — waiting for the first big thing to go down or for the buzz to kick in from the bottomless tin coffin of Rock Star Energy Drinks. As for me, I have a golf cart, a diet beer and a cockiness that rises out of nowhere.

Heat One gets underway, 43 riders will mix it up over the course of the next five hours to see who gets through to the dance. Some favorites will make it, some will fall just short. To those who didn’t — your effort was amazing, we have dredged the lake and recovered your hearts and souls and guts which you left on the course, and that’s what the Toe Jam is all about.


(Top Two Riders Advance)
Semi Finals ˆ Heat 1

1 Basino, Phillip USA 71.67
2 Hanson, David USA 58.33
3 Hair, Austin USA 50
4 Yarbrough, Ouri USA 28.33
5 Tor, Stef CDN 20
6 Careech, Jesse USA 15

Semi Finals ˆ Heat 2

1 Hansen, Reed USA 85
2 Grubb, Brian USA 70
3 Hyams, Kyle USA 63.33
4 Bowlby, Keaton USA 45
5 Lemons, Ryan USA 30
6 Lawrence, Adam USA 26.67

Semi Finals ˆ Heat 3

1 Daniels, George USA 76.67
2 Kaiser, Ben USA 70
3 Balzer, James CDN 63.33
4 Pastura, Andy USA 58.33
5 Jaquess, Renee USA 36.67
6 Kakinuma, Nobuo JPN 15

Semi Finals ˆ Heat 4

1 Hampson, Danny USA 73.33
2 Danielo, Drew USA 60
3 Gardner, Ross USA 51.67
4 Rathy, Aaron CAN 41.67
5 Skulnik, Jeffrey USA 23.33

Semi Finals ˆ Heat 5

1 Taylor, Nick USA 81.67
2 Becqueriaux, Luis SPA 43.33
3 Tompkins, Clint USA 33.33
4 Hooker, Matt USA 30
5 McGuckin, Drew USA 16.67

Semi Finals ˆ Heat 6

1 Thomas, Brandon USA 85
2 Reed, Aaron USA 71.67
3 Shinn, Stuart USA 63.33
4 Little, Bret USA 53.33
5 Horan, Ben USA 45

Semi Finals ˆ Heat 7

1 Ruark, John USA 73.33
2 Gregory, Chase USA 65
3 Enns, Mark 53.33
4 Doyle, Ryan CAN 38.33
5 Kovacich, Tim USA 23.33

Semi Finals ˆ Heat 8

1 Cambell, Steven USA 73.33
2 Manzari, Matthew USA 65
3 Paulson, Gabe USA 31.67
4 Watson, Reed USA 23.33
5 Byerly, Scott USA 10