Hot Dawgz & Hand Rails Recap—Jaeger Bailey and Melissa Evans Take Top Spot
Words: T. Bird
Photos: Mary Walsh, E-Stone, Mark Clavin
For the past fifteen years, Bear Mountain's Hot Dawgs & Hand Rails has been the official kick-off party for the upcoming winter season, and if 2018 is any indication of what this season will be like, I am supremely optimistic that it will be one of the best winters ever.
As per usual, the weather was perfect. 80 degrees, a slight wind and cloudless skies blanketed the ridiculous setup built by the Bear Mountain staff headed up by Clayton Shoemaker, the man who has worked tirelessly to make Bear the world's premier park destination. Explaining the Herculean task of blowing (literally) tons of ice in 80-degree weather is a post in and of itself, but the features constructed by the Bear builders was basically the equivalent to three terrain parks packed into one. Two wallrides, a butter pad, a flat down, a down flat down, a downrail and a multitude of options for over 70 of the world's most talented rail riders set the stage for one hell of a showdown, and with $10,000 on the line, Hot Dawgs and Hand Rails was not your typical September rail jam. It's world-class riding, and it showed on Saturday as thousands of people packed in and around the course to enjoy some beers, purchase some early season passes, get raffle tickets to support the local Big Bear Baseball team, watch some insane live music and some of the best snowboarding that our culture has to offer.
The field of riders was stacked with veterans and up-and-comers alike and when the first of two hour-long jam sessions kicked off, it was absolute mayhem on the course at all times. From Sam Taxwood going Mach 3 through the setup to Chas Guldemond's calculated and precise runs, the riders went absolutely nuts all day long and there was almost too much action to document. Standout of the day included Jaeger Bailey, Pat Fava, Miles Fallon, Taxwood, Melissa Evans, Nora Beck, Chuck G, Lenny Mazzotti, Dylan Alito Luke Winkelmann, Benny Milam, Riley Nickerson, Brandon Davis, Jesse Paul, Ryan Paul, Jed Sky, Nirvana Ortanez, Ted Borland, Oliver Dixon, JJ Westbury, Nate Haust, Jack Herald, Drayden Gardner, Frank Jobin, Jonathan McDonald, Ben Bilodeau, Denis Leontyev, Buzz Holbrook, Spencer Schubert, Gab Jacques and too many more to name, but at the end of the day, it was Jaeger who took the win for the men and Melissa Evans for the girls.
Jaeger's gap-out back threes onto the down flat down and backside rodeo Japans and Melissa's propensity for attacking every feature—from the kinks to the wallrides—were enough to impress an esteemed judging panel that included legends like Dave Downing and current icons like Scott Stevens and Joe Sexton. All in all, it was one of the best times I've ever had at Bear, and I've had some really damn good times on this hill. The 2018/2019 winter season has officially begun with yet another legendary HDHR in the books, so get ready because the temps are falling and the snow is about to fly and we at SNOWBOARDER look forward to getting back on the road to document as much as we possibly can.
1st Place: Jaeger Bailey
2nd Place: Dylan Alito
3rd Place: Pat Fava
1st Place: Melissa Evans
Best Trick: Benny Milam