On Saturday, November 29, the Horsefeathers City Jib took place in the historic center of Pilsen, Czech Republic. Incredible riding level, perfectly organised event and an enthusiastic crowd. We love Czech! Czechs loves snowboarding! There are 11 (!) snowboard shops in the small town of Pilsen (160.000 inhabitants) even though the closest resort is almost a two hours drive and only has got six lifts. Since a couple of years, the Horsefeathers City Jib is a regular in Pilsen. Being there for the first time, we expected a small event with a handful of pretty much unknown Czech riders and maybe a few hundred spectators. How wrong we were! On the list for the invited riders there were common names (Ville Uotila, Michi Zirngibl, Hans Ahlund, Marc Swoboda and Kareem el-Rafie) as well as rookies you have already heard in conjunction with rail madness (Dutch kid Gerben Verweij, Austrian Benni Wetscher or German Daniel Rajcsanyi). Throw some more talented kids in form of young Czech riders in, add a fast and perfect set up, 2000 spectators plus a Gothic cathedrale as scenery and you get a killer contest!
The format of the contest was also quite a killer as it was easy to be followed up by the spectators: The riders had to judge themselves with the best 8 riders advancing to the quarter finals. Finnish rider Ville Uotila won the crowd (and the votes of his shredding mates) over with a switch frontside 180 over the straight rail and a frontside rodeo on the mini quarter but also Hans Ahlund, Gerben Verweij, the Germans Thomas Schwarz and Alex Tank, Czech guy Roman Dlauhý and Swede Kareem el-Rafie showed some crazy rail trickery. Whatever comes on your mind, when you heard word „jibbing“, it was there. You name it. Big rotations on the box, where Darek Bergmann nearly throw down sick frontside 450 on, 270 off the box, technically advanced riding full of hardway entries, well balanced combos, no matter if on bar or between the kinks, pretzel and danish, nosepress and stand-up, it was simply all there.
In the quarterfinals the eight riders were split in four groups and now had to face each other head to head in three runs. Playing „Scissor, Paper, Stone“, the winner could choose the first obstacle. If a rider won the run, he got not only got one point from the judges but could also got to choose the next obstacle. In the third run the riders had to take off on the least ridden obstacle and the rider who was the first to get two points proceeded to the next round. This innovative contest format made it interesting for the spectators but also the riders as every obstacle got ridden.
The level was really high and the course quite fast with a steep drop-in ramp at the very top: The right ingredients for a thrilling final. At this point, after 5 hours shivering outside with temperatures around 0 degree, I still hadn´t surrendered to the cold but the only possibility to fight it was the free (!) and hot (!) Red Bull Jägermeister – it really helped but as the bright side always has a dark side the result was a terrible hangover the next morning and a poor memory of the exact tricks that the riders took out of their bags at the end of the evening. But actually it doesn´t matter because what I still remember was that the action was sick, the crowd went mad and Fredu Sirvio well deserved the victory: He was the most consistent and hazardous rider of the evening. But it was a close race between him and Ville Uotila who became second. Place three went to local Roman Dlauhý and German Alex Tank became fourth. For the ones of you who like a more detailed report: Here is what the official event reports says about the finals.
“Last Czech standing, Roman Dlauhý succumbed to flawless skills of Fredu Sirvio and Ville Uotila stopped Alex Tank in another clash of undefeated titans. Whole Pilsen cheered up for Roman Dlauhý during battle for third place. Roman proved that he got a lot experiences with contests and with equal rate of risk and confidence satisfied five thousand roaring throats by achieving third place. Final battle of flying Finns won the guy with visage of a punk, who just came around when heading for famous beer on tap – Fredu Sirvio. Ville Uontila deserved second place on second jibbing contest he had ever attended. Following afterparty nearly turns name of the club from Alpha into Omega and best trick of the day was announced there, related on rider’s vote. It was super stylish fakie ollie backside tailslide 270 out from Wojtek „Gniazdo“ Pavlusiak.”