Judges have a difficult job. Not only do they have to determine the merit of each trick, and decide between a sweet trick with a hand drag or a stomped mediocre trick to crown a winner, but they do so with many outside distractions. Take today’s rail jam at the third stop of Byerly’s Toe Jam in Washington for example. Judges Brandon Rau and Shawn Perry certainly had their work cut out for them. In between slurping down refreshing beverages, locating more refreshing beverages and relieving themselves after consuming beverages, it’s amazing they even had time to watch. Then throw in riders adding their two cents, photographers shoving their LCD screens in their faces and Dano the Mano asking them to comment, and well, you can imagine how hard it really is.

But despite all the distractions, the judges were on point today. The riders were divided into three heats of 11, and given ten minutes or 6 hits (whichever came first) at the rail set up. The top rider from each heat (yes, only one) was to move on to the finals. Of course, after much deliberation it ended up being two for each heat, but second place could only vie for 4th through 6th places. Confused yet? I still don’t understand it myself, but the judges seemed to have things under control.

Anyway, in heat one there was a lot of splashing and not a lot of stomping going on. Finally contest organizer and cool dude Silas Thurman threw down a solid board slide with, as Brandon Rau described it, “gangsta steez.” Brian Grubb was next and a shuv indy second try bested Silas, moving him automatically to the money. In heat two it was a similar story, until Reed Hansen dropped. Second try he stomped a varial flip, inevitably winning the entire contest (it was best trick of the day, not just the heat.) Then came the third heat. I feel almost as bad for the dudes in this heat as I do for the judges.

Ben Kaiser landed a frontside 180 first try and then followed it with a shuv. Ben Horan stomped a tailslide and a frontside boardslide. Drew Danielo got a shuv to benihana first try (but dragged his hand a little.) Other guys were attempting frontside flips, front and back bigs and 3 shuvs. The wise judges decided that a perfect tailslide was the bestest and so Benny H moved into the money. When all was said and done he got second, Reed got first and Grubb got third. Good times, and thanks to the judges.


1. Reed Hansen – Varial Flip
2. Ben Horan – Frontside Tailslide
3. Brian Grubb – Shove-Indy