The final three riders qualified for the finals of Byerly’s Toe Jam behind the boat on the creamy waters of Lake Koppert this weekend. When all was said and done, James Balzer, Matt Manzari and Drew Danielo earned golden tickets to Orlando in September and every one else’s hopes and dreams were crushed.

Well, maybe not crushed because Hippodrome/Toe Jam 3 was the best stop of the Toe Jam yet. Maybe it was the smell of blackberries or the lack of humidity, but it really was a great time. Unless, of course, you were a wakeskate belonging to Reed Hansen, Matt Manzari, John Ruark, Zak Stone or Chase Gregory. While the thrashing the boards took on the pool gap and behind the boat was probably not pleasant, it was the late night trip into the fire that was true punishment. No one is really sure who tossed several almost-new, perfectly good wakeskates into the fire Friday night, but everyone is sure it was a total mellow harsher. Anyway, enough about that, back to the good stuff.

Things heated back up for Saturday’s boat final. The air temp was warm and the action was even hotter. My god, did I just really type that sentence? It’s late, I’m tired. Anyway, the 16 semi finalists were whittled down to a familiar final match up: Brian Grubb vs. Nick Taylor. Both riders have proven this season that they have the skills to top the podium and did so again today. It was a tough call for the judges with Nick pulling a switch heelside frontside 3, toe side back 180, a backside 3 and frontside 3. Grubb mixed it up with a toeside stalefish, slob 3, toeside and heelside shuv indies, indy benihana, melon body varial and a toeside shuv indy rewind. The judges, perhaps wiser than yesterday because beverages were no so readily available in the boat gave it to Grubb, and well, they were right, again!