Though most pro snowboarders like to cast a blind eye to the business side of shredding, the bottom line is that the free products and fat paychecks are the result of whether or not they can drive sales. Having a pro model amplifies these metrics associated with our sport's cult of personality. Being a superior performer with a compelling persona makes for an individual that is the ideal candidate for a pro model. America's Next Top Pro Model showcases these icons who by name alone can push product in a manner that cutting edge technology, fancy graphics and diligent sales people can't.
With the on-hill aspects of the ANTPM decided a day earlier, the participating riders assembled at the High Cascade campus for what is perhaps the most relevant Top Pro event in terms of signature model status: The Charity Auction. For two hours in the early evening of Tuesday July 20th, 2010, SNOWBOARDER gave all of the High Cascade campers an opportunity to bid on their favorite rider's gear in hopes of taking home a prime piece of snowboarding memorabilia.
The format for this portion of the ANTPM was simple: Each pro set out their gear during the HCSC dinner and the kids had a chance to write a bid on a sheet of paper silent auction style. Over the course of the two hours, bidding battles ensued with the stakes constantly being raised. As this was a full fledged Top Pro category, the participating riders had a vested interest in getting top dollar so they threw all manner of gear into the mix in hopes of getting the highest bids.
Jesse Burtner was the first pro to stoke the fire by offering up a two-pack of his pro models. Next came Joe Sexton who not only auctioned his board but also his slightly used flannel, soiled socks, an Etnies gift certificate and a half-eaten bag of Pepperidge Farm Fish Crackers.
As the bids started to escalate for most boards, one model remained at the $20 minimum. That board belonged to Marc Frank Montoya. The low dollar amount was due to a busted edge. Finnish pro Eero Ettala himself manned up to Marco's plight and committed $150 to Marco's cause.
Garnering the third highest amount of money was Heikki Sorsa's setup. His Weekend Snowboards pro model is the first of his career and long overdue. With a bid of $340 Rafie Karen became the first person in history to buy a Heikki Sorsa pro model. Bettering Heikki's amount by $20 was last years overall champ Lauri Heiskari. His DC Shoe Company stick was won by Augie Organschi, who dropped $360 for the prize.
On the surface, putting up four boards, a pair of used boots and a pair of used snowboard pants (including whatever may have been left in the pockets) would make Chris Bradshaw seem like a very charitable dude. All is not as it seems though. Somehow Bradshaw was under the impression that the winner of the Charity Auction portion of the ANTPM would be donating the cumulative bids to their charity of choice when in fact that honor goes to the overall winner of America's Next Top pro Model. For example, in 2010 Eddie Wall won the auction event but Lauri Heiskari, as the overall champ, was able to donate the money raised to his charity of choice, which was St. Judes Children's Hospital. Apparently, Bradshaw has created his own charity called The Hell's Anglers, which supposedly helps endangered fish in the greater Big Bear Lake region. SNOWBOARDER has been unable to independently verify that said charity even exists, which leads us to believe that there was something, ahem, fishy going on. Regardless of his motives, Bradshaw did garner the most money. With a bid of $450, Peter Walsh came up big and left the charity auction with a full Technine quiver while Bradshaw left bummed and confused.
Doing good and riding great is what America's Next top Pro Model is about. When the cash was counted the grand total–which will go to the 2011 ANTPM overall champion's–charity of choice will be $3,550. SNOWBOARDER would like to thank all of the riders and campers who participated in the auction. Check back tomorrow to find out who will be bestowed with the overall 2011 America's Next Top Pro Model title.
Check back to SNOWBOARDER Magazine’s Facebook page for more photos from the event.
*Not pictured- Heikki Sorsa’s board went to Rafie Karen for $340