Photo Epic - Proving Grounds 2019 Finals

Sep 9, 2019
by Trevor Lyden  


Proving Grounds, a place where riders can come to show their worth and compete to earn a spot at the biggest freeride mountain bike event of the year. The inaugural 2019 event had a total of 18 international athletes on the docket who were prepared to battle it out to take the top three spots. Due to a crash at Black Sage the day before Jordie Lunn was unfortunately out of the competition, as was injured Swedish rider Oscar Harnstrom. The remaining 16 riders woke up bright and early on event day in preparation for the big event and to squeeze in the last few practice runs in the morning.

After a thorough riders' meeting, the number one plate of Jaxson Riddle was set to drop in a 9:30. As has become the norm with freeride/freestyle events, the wind and rain proved to be the biggest challenge throughout the day. The first 12 riders were able to take their first runs before the wind became too strong. The next six hours became a battle with mother nature and we saw everything from howling gusty wind to a high desert downpour. After what seemed like days, the dirt finally dried enough for the riders to get back on course. The athletes took multiple test runs on the lower section before deciding that there was enough speed to complete a full top to bottom pull. Of course, the wind still decided to be a nuisance and never fully died down. Thankfully there was enough of a lull that the remaining four riders were able to finish their first runs and then everyone was able to flow directly into their second and finals runs of the day.

In the end, the young guns came out on top with 22-year-old Bend local Reed Boggs taking the first spot, followed closely by Johny Salido in second and Utah native DJ Brandt in third. With these wins, the victors earned their invitation to the big event in the desert next month. See you guys and Rampage soon!

Jaxson Riddle with the number one plate.
Jaxson Riddle with the number one plate.

Jaxson Riddle was a favorite to advance into Rampage however he finished just outside the top three.
Jaxson Riddle was a favorite to advance into Rampage, however he finished just outside the top three.

Jaxson with maybe the biggest crankflip drop to date
Jaxson with maybe the biggest crankflip drop to date?

William Robert on the 20x20 second drop.
William Robert on the 20x20 second drop.

Flat spin 360 from William.
Flat spin 360 from William.

Bienve had an amazing start to his run with a massive front flip off the meat cannon unfortunately the wind hit hard afterwards and he was blown mid air into a case
Bienvenido Aguado had an amazing start to his run with a massive front flip off the meat cannon, unfortunately the wind hit hard afterwards and he was blown mid-air into a case

Bas carrying speed around the berm into the Red Bull moto jump.
Bas carrying speed around the berm into the Red Bull moto jump.

Conor started things off with a mega backflip on the flat drop. His run was looking to be a winner until he slid out on a landing lower on course.
Conor MacFarlane started things off with a mega backflip on the flat drop. His run was looking to be a winner until he slid out on a landing lower on course.

Conor on the cannon ramp.
Conor on the cannon ramp.

Alex Volokhov with an insane backflip over the canyon gap .
Alex Volokhov with an insane backflip over the "canyon gap".

DJ took third place with tricks like this big flat drop 360.
DJ took third place with tricks like this big flat drop 360.

Billy Meaclem looked super stylish all weekend.
Billy Meaclem looked super stylish all weekend.

After winning Joyride Emil thought he d try out the big bike skills. Turns out he s damn good no matter the size of the bike that s under him.
After winning Joyride, Emil Johansson thought he'd try out the big bike skills. Turns out he's damn good no matter the size of the bike that's under him.

Emil with some shoulder flexibility.
Emil with some shoulder flexibility.

Casey and Bas eying up the wind.
Casey Brown and Bas Van Steenbergen eying up the wind.

Casey Brown is one of the best female riders in the world and was on course all week proving why she deserved her invitation.
Casey Brown is one of the best female riders in the world and was on course all week proving why she deserved her invitation.

She landed this meat cannon drop clean however cased the following jump pretty hard and ended up with a shoulder injury. Heal up quick
She landed this meat cannon drop clean, however cased the following jump pretty hard and ended up with a shoulder injury. Heal up quick!

Bienve and Johny waiting to drop in.
Bienvenido Aguado and Johny Salido waiting to drop in.

Due to weather there was lots of waiting around. Thankfully 10 Barrel was on hand to make sure no one went thirsty.
Due to weather there was lots of waiting around. Thankfully 10 Barrel was on hand to make sure no one went thirsty.
Happy dogs make happy people.
Happy dogs make happy people.

Waiting out the storm.
Waiting out the storm.

Midday rain put a long delay on the competition.
Midday rain put a long delay on the competition.

Spectators taking shelter wherever they can find it.
Spectators taking shelter wherever they can find it.
BEER TRAILER. Sometimes it s ok to be a follower.
BEER TRAILER. Sometimes it's ok to be a follower.

Not ideal conditions.
Not ideal conditions.

Thanks to Oregon Dirt Park for having out all week
Thanks to Oregon Dirt Park for having out all week!

Nicholai had some impressive tricks however they weren t quite enough to take the Rampage spots from his friends.
Nicholai had some impressive tricks, however they weren't quite enough to take the Rampage spots from his friends.

Juan Diego Johny Salido with a superman seatgrab.
Juan Diego "Johny" Salido with a superman seatgrab.

The young gun from Mexico took the silver medal for the day.
The young gun from Mexico took the silver medal for the day.

Big flip for Reed.
Big flip for Reed Boggs.

Reed Boggs bringing home the gold and securing a spot to that one big event in the desert next month.
Reed Boggs bringing home the gold and securing a spot to that one big event in the desert next month.

Remy Metailler suicide off the meat cannon.
Remy Metailler suicide off the meat cannon.

Remy airing into the late evening sun.
Remy airing into the late evening sun.

Louis Reboul.
Louis Reboul.

Bienve won best trick for his massive frontflip off the meat cannon. Unfortunately for the media Bienve prefers not to tell people when he s dropping so there is less pressure on him.
Bienvenido Aguado won best trick for his massive frontflip off the meat cannon. Unfortunately for the media, Bienve prefers not to tell people when he's dropping so there is less pressure on him.

Reed Boggs and his old man feeling the stoke.
Reed Boggs and his old man feeling the stoke.

Your inaugural Proving Grounds winners and newest 2019 Rampage competitors.
Your inaugural Proving Grounds winners and newest 2019 Rampage competitors.

DJ Brandt 3.
DJ Brandt #3.

Reed Boggs 1.
Reed Boggs #1.

Johny Salido 3.
Johny Salido #2.



56 Comments

  • 16 0
 Well that 1st pic of Jaxson Riddle looks absolutely mental! Must have been some crazy stuff going on if he dind't make it top 3...
  • 1 5
flag thesharkman (Sep 10, 2019 at 5:52) (Below Threshold)
 Its just camera angle work
  • 20 7
 I think this event is good and I like the idea of a qualifier of some sort. But I think it just shows that there will never be a true "rampage" style event as this just looked like a bigger slope event. There is just no way to duplicate the steepness, exposure, etc of rampage.
  • 28 1
 If there was any event like Rampage, then it would defeat the point of Rampage
  • 15 0
 This was close but i think Chatel Mountain Style is a better qualifier
  • 2 0
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: oooooh yes Chatel would be nice.... Still build but way ruffer
  • 2 0
 @JamesGTi: yea that’s what I was trying to say. The skill set needed for rampage is pretty unique IMO, and any qualifier is likely going to always end up rewarding the trick/slope style riders as the other stuff is impossible to replicate.
  • 18 5
 Gutted for Casey and Jordie. Congratulations to the winners.
  • 44 25
 Why though. I don't get this whole thing with Casey. She's a fantastic rider, arguably the best female in the world. But honestly if she'd got through over any of the top 3 purely because she's female it would've been embarrassing for the sport.
  • 20 6
 @JamesGTi: Why gutted? Because she wrecked and had to leave the Proving Grounds competition. Jordie also wrecked the day before during Black Sage and wasn't able to compete.
  • 36 4
 @JamesGTi: Because she is a female blazing a new trail for other woman.
Rampage should have a female category that's it.
You have to look at the big picture. For woman to progress and to embrace a sport , we need an avenue for them and some role model... Are we really waiting for a woman to best the male to open the door??
With this thinking there would be no sports open to female!!
  • 20 3
 @JamesGTi: Because we'd love to see a female rider at Rampage. I'm not saying she should take a spot just for being female...but they should give her a special invitation OR have her appear in a female category. Rampage is just as much as a marketing/showcase event as it is a subjective competition.
  • 17 8
 @JamesGTi: she got hurt dumbass
  • 21 24
 I heard Semenuk identifies as a woman & will be pioneering the female Rampage category in 2020.

Game on
  • 5 3
 @Grunk: Absolutely! no doubt Rampage has been helping to elevate the sport but they have now an opportunity to elevate it for everybody men and women..and they are blowing it!!!
They should at least invite her to showcase how female could ride...
This event was not representative of what rampage should be. Rampage is about creating your line and I'm pretty sure female athlete would be able to build line as interesting than their male counterparts. It's not always all about big slopestyle moves!
  • 2 1
 @JamesGTi: Why would it be embarassing if she were better than them?
  • 1 1
 @Grunk: do you think she would even want to be some kind of ‘let’s see if the girl can make it down’ sideshow?
  • 1 3
 @bizutch: Yes. That is in fact the future of female sports.
  • 2 4
 @max2max: Women would get killed if there were a women's category at Rampage. Does that sound fun to you? Be realistic. It may not be as warm and cuddly as your visions are but this is real life.
  • 5 1
 @thesharkman: That's a bit hyperbolic. The riders build what they think they can realistically push themselves to ride. If there was a women's category then they would build stuff relative to their skill level, they wouldn't be forced to ride stuff that's above their skill level, just like it is for everyone else.
  • 2 2
 @dingus: Yes they would have the option to build what they want, but you have to realistically look at the venue itself. There really are no "easy" ways down that zone. No matter what they build, it would still be extremely difficult and likely too much for all but maybe a handful of female riders.
  • 2 0
 @max2max:

She’s not going to be healthy in time either way.
  • 15 1
 Just put Jaxson in.
  • 2 0
 He’s got time and it’s only a matter of time before he’s on the podium. He’s a freak of nature. Goes so big
  • 12 0
 Stoked Dj made it back. Deserves another shot at it
  • 9 0
 VIVA MEXICO!!!!!
  • 4 0
 Geez, the weather looks great in a lot of those pics. Did it really get that nice after the rain? We had to bail (kids/school/long drive). Boys were super bummed to miss the big hits. These are great shots Trevor.
  • 7 0
 Johny Salido FTW 3
  • 2 0
 Bienvenido honestly deserved it the most bummer he went down on his run, we had the chance to talk to alot of the guys and he was by far the most stoked one, he seemed like one of the only guys who actually wanted to be out there shredding and trying to have fun with it, much respect.
  • 3 0
 Agreed. He was grinding out those practice runs. Hope he gets in as an alternate.
  • 1 0
 If the wind cooperated and he threw that big Superman after the front flip his score would have been higher. Weather made it real tough. Conor was putting down heaters the whole time too.
  • 10 4
 "Rampage" goes "Joyride"
  • 7 5
 So basically , show us your big slopestyle flair and you can go through - 'cause we all know that's what the judges are looking for - not the baddest toughest lines with balls to boot.
  • 4 0
 Gnar_art_pklaine making those sick trophies!
  • 1 0
 they're cool folks! this event looked rowdy oh my
  • 1 0
 Thanks guy!!
  • 3 0
 @trevorlyden Awesome photos and write up as usual!
  • 4 0
 DJ is a Colorado native
  • 3 4
 Gutted for Robert & Riddle.... I have a feeling Red Bull told the judges: "No matter what happens DO NOT LET ROGATIKIN IN RAMPAGE- boy's a liability! Don't want another cliff fall leading to a probable lawsuit in our hands!" Guys... Nicholi's a real Juggernaut- nothing can break him! Just un-blacklist him for the sake of sport.... & entertainment!
  • 2 0
 here's me trying to tackle the local pumtrack...
  • 1 0
 So, join the big boys at RAMPAGE, that's different gravy.
  • 1 0
 I'll wait for the beer movie.
  • 1 0
 Bring back single crowns to rampage
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