Finals Photo Epic: Proving Grounds 2021

Sep 13, 2021
by James Stokoe  


As the athletes rolled in for an early morning roll call, the fog was stagnant on the course, looking up from the bottom you could barely see the features halfway up the hillside never mind the top features. The rain from the day before left the top unrideable this early in the day and concern was expressed from both some riders and the organizers. Fortunately, we had the positive vibes of Gud Life entrepreneur, Johny Salido to keep the stoke high with the understanding that as soon as the sun burns the fog away, we're going to be left with a beautiful smokeless day of jaw-dropping riding and high-fives - he was right.

Around mid-day the riders started to pad up, the fans were rolling in and checking out the vendor village before making their way up to the course to find the best spot to see the madness go down. Members of the Black Sage Dirt Works and the riders were on course with shovels and rakes aiding mother nature in drying out the features so the riding could commence as soon as possible. Once everyone was happy with the condition of the dirt, the ridiculousness started.

In the women's field, all the athletes, sans Ming Goetz who hurt herself in practice, were padded up and ready to drop. Although this is technically a competition, there is no denying that the athletes are there to support one another, if Cami hit a feature multiple times and she was confident on it, she'd tow Hannah in so that Hannah knew that as long as she kept the distance between her front wheel and Cami's back wheel, then everything was going to be just fine. As finals got closer, it became apparent that there, due to a variety of reasons, would only be two women dropping to see who would take home the First Place check and a sick trophy. Hannah Bergemann & Camila Noguiera made it to the start gate. Both athletes had been sessioning the same features and line down the hillside, so it was just down to which rider would do something to make themselves stand out from the other. No one is ever jealous of being a judge, and especially when you have two riders such as Noguiera and Bergemann who both slayed the features they hit, however, after two runs apiece it was Cami's day. And the support for her fellow competitor wasn't left on the course - she pulled Hannah up to the top of the First Place podium log to share the moment while the flashes popped, right before the champagne shower commenced.

Again, no one is jealous of being an event judge, especially when there were so many lines and so many possibilities for the athletes to hit - and with a little better weather in the days before the event, there would have been a crazy amount of sniper lines to link features from one side of the hillside to the other making their job damn near impossible. The guys were all over the course, putting together lines that would make them stand out from their fellow competitors, the stupid big Shark Fin was a feature that had a lot of riders scratching their heads but it was 2nd and 3rd place finishers Reed Boggs and Dylan Stark, respectively, who combined this monstrosity into their run. Another noteworthy moment of jaw-dropping insanity was when Paul Genovese said, "Well, I showed up on a single crown - I can't be a poser." so he proceeded to throw a Barspin off the first drop, followed by a Tail Whip off the Pucker Pad, then, because that wasn't enough, he Suicided the Penthouse Drop, again, Paul was the only rider on a single crown. It was Carson Storch who took the lead during the first round of runs and that's where he stayed all day. 2019 First Place finisher, Reed Boggs came nipping at his heels during his second run, but just fell short, however, Boggs was still stoked to lay down such a solid run. Dylan, well, he's just something else, his style, his positivity, and his sheer determination was evident throughout the entire time at the event - even after falling further up the course in his second run, losing any chance of catching Storch to take the win, he didn't see this as a reason to safely get to the bottom, he figured, hell, this is a reason to show the crowd a good time - unfortunately, he came up short when he tried front flipping the bottom feature and pitched himself over the bars, he managed to get up and shake it off before medical professionals and Josh Bender checked him out his smile on the podium showed that he was just fine.

Proving Grounds 2021 was nothing short of a great success, the course was insane, thanks to Kyle Jameson and Black Sage Dirt Works, Todd Barber held everything together and made sure, with the help of his incredible staff, that all that was in his control ran as well as it could, and the comradery between all of the athletes was all-time. We cannot wait for Proving Ground 2022!

DJ definitely didn t win the style award for being off his bike on his bike is a different story.
DJ definitely didn't win the style award for being off his bike, on his bike is a different story.
There wasn t an award for best style off the bike but we all know Jaxon would have won it.
There wasn't an award for best style off the bike, but we all know Jaxon would have won it.

Carson going through his run impending run in his head as he walked to the start scoping each feature.
Carson going through his impending run in his head as he walked to the start, scoping each feature.

Racking up to take the riders to the top.
Racking up to take the riders to the top.

A little last-minute preparation before finals were about to go down.
A little last-minute preparation before finals were about to go down.

Cami scoping her landing spot - smooth as a cucumber.
Cami scoping her landing spot - smooth as a cucumber.

Bergemann creamed the wood booter during her finals run.
Bergemann hitting the wood booter during her finals run.

Hannah with the tweak on the Meat Cannon on her way to taking home the 2nd Place trophy.
Hannah with the tweak on the Meat Cannon, on her way to taking home the 2nd Place trophy.

Hannah one of the two ladies who dropped for their finals run. She showed commitment and passion in her riding - a true pleasure to watch.
Hannah, one of the two ladies who dropped for their finals run. She showed commitment and passion in her riding - a true pleasure to watch.

Boggsy with that dropped one-foot dog piss style on the hip.
Boggsy with that dropped one-foot / dog piss style on the hip.

DJ showing everyone why he won the best style award.
DJ showing everyone why he won the best style award.

The extension on Boggsy s suicides are something to make Kyle Strait excited.
The extension on Boggsy's suicides are something to make Kyle Strait excited.
Jaxson walking to the tunes in his head.
Jaxson walking to the tunes in his head.

Carson threeing the Meat Cannon in his winning run.
Carson threeing the Meat Cannon in his winning run.

Cami was one of two of the female competitors who competed in the finals. Both she and Hannah Bergemann utilized the same features down the course with Cami pulling ahead in points to take the win.
Cami was one of two of the female competitors who competed in the finals. Both she and Hannah Bergemann utilized the same features down the course, with Cami pulling ahead in points to take the win.

DJ Brandt using the MTB Hopper to boost his way down the course.
DJ Brandt using the MTB Hopper to boost his way down the course.

Kyle Strait showing us why he s been a unstoppable force for so many years - we can t wait to see what he has in store for us at Rampage. Also a tidal wave started to develop in the Indian Ocean about the same time he landed this trick. Coincidence
Kyle Strait showing us why he's been an unstoppable force for so many years - we can't wait to see what he has in store for us at Rampage.

Big Rik spinning off the Pucker Pad.
Big Rik spinning off the Pucker Pad.

Dylan one of only two riders who hit the Sharkfin. Both he and Reed Boggs utilized the Sharkfin in their finals run and both athletes showed us that the feature is possible to ride just scary AF.
Dylan, one of only two riders who hit the Sharkfin. Both he and Reed Boggs utilized the Sharkfin in their finals run, and both athletes showed us that the feature is possible to ride, just scary AF.

Carson dipping it on the Penthouse Drop.
Carson dipping it on the Penthouse Drop.

You cannot help but be stoked when you re around Johny - he always keeps the Gud Life in his sights.
You cannot help but be stoked when you're around Johny - he always keeps the Gud Life in his sights.

Jaxson shows us the flexibility of the youth of today...
Jaxson shows us the flexibility of the youth of today...

Local grom Ryan McNulty showing the big names he s competing alongside that he too can play this game.
Local grom Ryan McNulty showing the big names he's competing alongside that he too can play this game.

Carson Storch on his way to victory.
Carson Storch on his way to victory.

Dylan Stark one-handed backflip on the last feature.
Dylan Stark one-handed backflip on the last feature.

We d say something about Johny soaring with the birds but we know the PinkBike commentors would talk mess. Here s Johny with a no-hander on the Penthouse Drop.
Here's Johny with a no-hander on the Penthouse Drop.

Dylan doing Dylan things we ve said it before and we ll say it again he s an animal.
Dylan, doing Dylan things, we've said it before, and we'll say it again, he's an animal.

Trevor Lyden grabbing some soul-stealers as Cami flew by.
Trevor Lyden grabbing some soul-stealers as Cami flew by.

This is just confusing Reed definitely looks sideways however he definitely landed this and took away the 2nd place trophy.
This is just confusing, Reed definitely looks sideways, however, he definitely landed this and took away the 2nd place trophy.

David thought that his finals run was a good time to try spinning two different features that he hadn t tried spinning before. He landed both - unbelievably clean.
David thought that his finals run was a good time to try spinning two different features that he hadn't tried spinning before. He landed both - unbelievably clean.

DJ continuing to prove why he won best style.
DJ continuing to prove why he won best style.

Nicholai 360 on the top drop.
Nicholai 360 on the top drop.

Paul making use of his single crown and kicking a giant tailwhip off of the pucker pad.
Paul making use of his single crown and kicking a giant tailwhip off of the pucker pad.

Gud times for Johny.
Gud times for Johny.

Hannah dropping in with the crescent moon.
Hannah dropping in with the crescent moon.

DJ showing why he won best style. Huge table 360 on the big line.
DJ showing why he won best style. Huge table 360 on the big line.

Carson spinning vertically on the second drop.
Carson spinning vertically on the second drop.


Paul spinning his bars on the the top drop.
Paul spinning his bars on the top drop.

Reed spinning the other top drop.
Reed spinning the other top drop.

David spinning the top drop.
David spinning the top drop.

Kyle and his signature sui.
Kyle and his signature sui.

Damon boosting to the moon on the bottom octagon feature.
Damon boosting to the moon on the bottom octagon feature.

Reed Boggs took home second place partly due to this huge one foot table off the megladon shark fin.
Reed Boggs took home second place partly due to this huge one foot table off the megalodon shark fin.


Followed by Cami on the same feature.
Followed by Cami on the same feature.

Hannah on the meat cannon.
Hannah on the meat cannon.

Paul with full trust in his single crown Zeb as he suicides the Penthouse drop.
Paul with full trust in his single crown Zeb as he suicides the Penthouse drop.

The only rider to show up on a single crown fork and the only rider to throw a bar-spin AND a FRICKIN Tail-Whip in his run What the eff Paul
The only rider to show up on a single crown fork, and the only rider to throw a bar-spin and a Tail-Whip in his run? What the eff Paul?

Ryan. Doing a suicide. On a bike. Off a drop.
Ryan. Doing a suicide. On a bike. Off a drop.

Ethan took a big crash in practice and played it cool the rest of the day.
Ethan took a big crash in practice and played it cool the rest of the day.

Dylan airing out the megladon. At least freeride isn t extinct.
Dylan airing out the megalodon. At least freeride isn't extinct.

Dylan went down in his second run after coming up short on a front-flip on the huge final feature. Bender said Don t worry I can help clean you up buddy.
Dylan went down in his second run after coming up short on a front-flip on the huge final feature. Bender said, "Don't worry, I can help clean you up buddy."

The obligatory beer shower for the winner - beer provided by 10 Barrel Brewing.
The obligatory beer shower for the winner - beer provided by 10 Barrel Brewing.

Hannah throwing the horns and winning women s heart and soul.
Hannah throwing the horns and winning women's hearts and souls.
DJ with the best style award.
DJ with the best style award.

Dylan Stark took home the Heart and Soul award for the men s category.
Dylan Stark took home the Heart and Soul award for the men's category.

Cami and Hannah on top of the women s podium
Cami and Hannah on top of the women's podium!

This is what it s all about here - comradery between athletes.
This is what it's all about here - comradery between athletes.

Carson Storch taking the first place Reed grabbing the second from his stella 2nd run and Dylan taking home third.
Carson Storch taking first place, Reed grabbing the second from his stellar 2nd run, and Dylan taking home third.

You can t have your cake and eat it too.
You can't have your cake and eat it too.

At the end of the day we were all stoked to go gnome.
At the end of the day, we were all stoked to go gnome.



21 Comments

  • 9 0
 Awesome riding from all riders but I gotta say, Paul's tailwhip off the on-off pad has to be one of the gnarliest things I've seen on a bike lately. Congrats to everyone!
  • 8 1
 Really no video footage ? No transmission on redbull.tv ? No coverage. That's a joke comparing to audi nines, roof ride, copenride, or crankworx innsbruck.
  • 1 0
 There will probably be edits coming out soon. Seems that it's no longer a qualifier for Rampage, so no Redbull Tv? Also seemed to be some mild controversy around attendance, or lack thereof, of some of the bigger name freeriders
  • 1 1
 As someone who was there, I'm not surprised there was no coverage. The event was a bit of a shit show, in the middle of nowhere, with minimal cell service or infrastructure. Makes the upcoming Snowshoe world cup look like its taking place in the middle of Tokyo or New York City. Riding was so rad, and so was the vibe, but certainly nowhere near what Rampage offers.
  • 2 0
 What about “photo epic” would make you expect video? Just playin around lol…I saw official video should drop tomorrow ✌️
  • 8 0
 Bender / Stark…..steel sharpens steel.
  • 3 0
 Dab pen on the ground was what actually sharpened them both
  • 3 0
 Unbelievably cool event...kudos to all involved putting it on. I know many railed against the wood features back in the day at Rampage, but I love the wood features at this event (and I liked them at Rampage). The Stark Fin is insane!
  • 6 0
 Did Seth's bike hacks name these features?? Like wtf pucker pad
  • 3 0
 Those features were absolutely intimidating to even look at, like dropping off the tops of telephone poles. Super fun event, 10/10 would go again.
  • 4 0
 I rate this article 3 stars
  • 1 0
 Out of...
  • 1 0
 5/7
  • 2 0
 Too bad more of the girls didn't ride on finals day. Such a sick event though, hopefully coverage improves as this event grows
  • 2 0
 There were about 6 women that were pre-riding the course late Friday and early Sat. It was rad.
  • 4 0
 Stark and Boggs are beasts
  • 1 0
 This Event has his own clowns? Thats next level!
  • 1 0
 no final results of all riders??
  • 1 0
 that is a ridiculous drop to be tricking
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