Photo Epic: First Hits - Proving Grounds 2019

Sep 7, 2019
by Trevor Lyden  


The time has come for those to prove their worth and earn their place in the biggest freeride event of the year. The inaugural Red Bull Rampage qualifier the Marzocchi Proving Grounds is officially underway and riders are testing the course in preparation for the big day on Sunday. The invited riders will be competing for the last three spots at this years Rampage stop in mid October. Proving Grounds is being held in Prineville, Oregon on a hillside opposite to the Black Sage Fest. The course has been designed from the ground up to replicate the type of riding that athletes would face at Rampage. Although the terrain in Oregon looks little like the deserts of Utah, the features imitate the style that riders would see there. Large wood drop and technical jump lines are spread throughout the hillside and give riders multiple options to choose their own way down the hill.

Friday was the first day of practice and riders were excited to test out the brand new course. At an event like this the wind is always the biggest enemy and true to tradition it was a battle throughout the day. Thankfully riders were able to get a few laps in throughout the day and were able to ride into the evening. With a stacked field and some amazing talent both young and old(er), Sunday is bound to be an amazing time.

KJ buttoning up the course.
KJ buttoning up the course.

The new favorite tool of every builder the Cat side by side.
The new favorite tool of every builder, the Cat side by side.

Safety first.
Safety first.

Randy Spangler the man the myth the legend.
Randy Spangler, the man the myth the legend.

KJ and Spangler on the final drop judges tower.
KJ and Spangler on the final drop/judges tower.

Casey Brown on the entrance drop.
Casey Brown on the entrance drop.

The second feature is a mandatory massive drop. From here there are multiple line options.
The second feature is a mandatory massive drop. From here there are multiple line options.

Jaxon Riddle Flipping the GoPro hip.
Jaxon Riddle was the first person to hit the mega step down. Here he is flipping the GoPro hip.

Remy with a suicide off the meat cannon feature.
Remy with a suicide off the meat cannon feature.

Getting stylish off the largest feature on course.
Getting stylish off the largest feature on course.

Fresh off a Joyride win Emil is looking to but down a solid run on his big bike.
Fresh off a Joyride win, Emil is looking to put down a solid run on his big bike.

Bas Emil and Reed waiting out the wind.
Bas, Emil and Reed waiting out the wind.

DJ on the canyon gap .
DJ on the "canyon gap".

Five Ten providing entertainment when the wind gets too strong.
Five Ten providing entertainment when the wind gets too strong.

Mid course on-off feature.
Mid course on-off feature.

Go Pro hip.
Go Pro hip.

The starting gate leading directly into the first drop.
The starting gate leading directly into the first drop.

Nicholai airing the meat cannon.
Nicholi airing the meat cannon.

Look ma no hands.
Look ma, no hands.

Just one of the many line options on the course.
Just one of the many line options on the course.

Strong wind throughout the day made for some long downtime.
Strong wind throughout the day made for some long downtime.

Full extension.
Full extension.

Boggs
Boggs




Connor with an evening flip.
Connor with an evening flip.

Local boy and worldwide legend Cam McCaul testing out the course.
Local boy and worldwide legend Cam McCaul testing out the course.

Sunset hip session to end the first day.
Sunset hip session to end the first day.

Last big hit of the day.
Last big hit of the day.



49 Comments

  • 91 44
 If Casey B can ride all those features and wooden drops—then they should give her one of the invites to Rampage for sure.
  • 22 20
 Who downvoted you??

Agree totally. I’d love to see Casey out there.
  • 11 23
flag Pisgah4life (Sep 7, 2019 at 12:47) (Below Threshold)
 Haha loser did the same. Instead of downvoting actually state why you got an issue with Casey. F’ing loser!!
  • 12 3
 I agree 100% but unless she can pull out tricks on those big features like some of the guys there can she wont get an invite sadly. its all about big mountain slopestyle now
  • 6 4
 @Pisgah4life: Haters gonna hate ..... what can you do : /
  • 40 2
 I would really love seeing a Casey B in rampage this year. However, the thing is judges won't give her a rampage invitation just because she's a female. Either she has the level to stand between those names, either she doesn't. Only sending it on those features without throwing as many tricks as the other shouldn't make her invited.
  • 29 0
 Downvoting doesn't mean you dislike Casey. I imagine just about everybody there can ride all the features and drops. That alone isn't likely enough to get anybody an invitation to Rampage. Whatever happens, she's leading the charge for women at Rampage. Her fearlessness and example, combined with event organizers like Todd creating opportunities like this will hopefully lead to more women joining her in the future.
  • 23 5
 @grundletroll: The simple fact of the matter here is she shouldn’t be at proving grounds let alone rampage, she’s not good enough at best she’s as good as a good male park rider and it’s obvious to see if you see them ride live. If you watched Whistler crankworx it was evident to see from Whipoffs and Dual speed and style that Female competition in anything kind of free- ride is so so so so so far away from men’s competition is actually insulting for the other guys there to be compared to them let alone seen as better.

Know this will be unpopular but it’s the honest truth, I have nothing against a having a female rampage like competition but in any sport it’s just fact that women can’t compete with men at the top end of the competition.
  • 6 3
 @deco1: Casey is sending it out here. Huge props.

Also... killer stuff trevor
  • 9 6
 Rogatkin posted himself straight airing the cannon log on Instagram yesterday and I thought: wow-that’s a pretty huge drop.
www.instagram.com/p/B2DMwroh4JV/?igshid=hr0zdca43t64
I don’t know what your definition of “good” is.....but I think it would be a real stretch to say the average “good male park rider” at Whistler (or wherever) is going to role up and ride that course top to bottom - hitting all the features and think it was a cake walk. They probably would just pack their bike up and leave.

Yeah -when I saw Casey’s name - I thought: I would be really surprised if she can air those drops......but, again, I looked on Instagram and there she was airing the drops.

I personally think it’s OK to take a step back from Rampage being solely a rigorous tight “competition” and have some facet of the event be a loose demo/showcase for someone like Casey. Hell, they let Wil White ride in Rampage for several years....Never know- she might even be the next ESPN highlight reel seen around the world.
  • 14 1
 @SirWonky: I do get were your coming from but I completely disagree with it. What your proposing is in the realms of sport entertainment and for this higher level of competition that’s pathetic.

Imagine if your Conor McFarlane backflip nohanding 100ft jumps at loosefest then what your proposing if Casey Brown gets down the course she gets in to rampage and possibly you miss out, for me that would best so hard to stomach I would honestly give up the sport.
  • 1 0
 @deco1: I do agree with you about it not being right to have someone else miss out...........and admittedly a lot of the details start to unravel when you think of how it would happen, combined with how dangerous the Rampage site is.
  • 3 0
 @deco1: Casey has sent some seriously huge jumps. She rolls with the big boys and I’m sure the guys are stoked she’s out there. Most people wouldn’t go off the second feature. She’s got tons of talent an more courage than your average good park rider.
I’m sure your comment about giving up the sport is alittle tongue and cheek. Otherwise it’s kinda lame stance. But if that makes you give up something then you best should.
I would be beyond stoked to see Casey roll that hill, which I’m sure she is certainly capable off. It used to be about big mountain riding before it became a steep slope style course anyway.
  • 4 1
 Have you seen coverage of the Women's Slopestyle FMB series? There are some incredible riders in that group, some of the best in the world who not only hit huge stuff, but also do flips and tucks.These ones just aren't as well represented in the media.
  • 5 1
 @deco1: Have you seen coverage of the Women's Slopestyle FMB series? There are some incredible riders in that group, some of the best in the world who not only hit huge stuff, but also do flips and tucks.These ones just aren't as well represented in the media. But you're right, far behind the men, and mostly because there's no where for them to compete until now
  • 2 5
 @stephanie: holy smokes you gotta be kidding me. You think it’s cause they don’t have competitions? That’s why there’s a massive gap of skills between men and women...lol...ok
  • 1 0
 @SirWonky: Wil White got in from his position in qualifies
  • 1 0
 Or maybe I got that wrong and he was only ever in qualifiers, either way different situation to Casey
  • 1 0
 @Intense4life: You're a bit harsh but you say what needs to be said. It's great that a woman participates but giving her so much more credit just because she's female is actually very sexist. Women don't need "positive discrimination", there is a physiological difference between genders that is quite proven by the effects of hormone therapy.

The real "equal" solution would be a women's event. Hopefully there will ever be enough participants.
  • 2 0
 @makkelijk: Wait. Now I’m sexist and positive discriminating against women because I like Casey as a rider and dig her attitude. And would like to see her throw down. Come on. This pendulum only lives in the extremes.
If society has its way we will have no opinions because all opinions are wrong and offend someone. Welcome to the robotic utopia.
  • 56 21
 Idk it all just seems like a marketing circle jerk. Course looks fun but a bulldozed hillside isn’t really doing it for me. They could have gone somewhere like lillooet, williams lake or spences bridge and built up some cool natural features on some wild shit and burly lines.
  • 29 38
flag scott-townes (Sep 7, 2019 at 12:00) (Below Threshold)
 Frig that, this is just like the old school, gnarly slope courses. I say this is incredible and you're just sore they didn't hold this in Canada. It makes complete sense to have this the same weekend of Black Sage making it an insane freeride-orientated weekend with a private, blank canvas to work with. Job well done, this is going to be insane.
  • 12 15
 The era of techy jank has died because the audience wants THIS. Now shut up and eat your serving of your freeride
  • 20 1
 I'm a huge fan of there being some undeniable way for riders to earn their way into Rampage, and a supersized slope course like we used to have in the early days of slopestyle seems like a great way to do it. We'll have a highlights video out tomorrow night and I'm super excited to see how different riders approach the canvas that's there.
  • 12 3
 @brianpark: yeah I’m not tryin to diss it, it doesn’t really look like an oversized slope course, other than that drop most of the features are like bike ranch sized. I guess I’m just saying it looks like every other fest/black sage event. They had an opportunity for something unique and its just another pack of jumps with logo banners everywhere.
  • 11 0
 This is less about being a big show and more about creating opportunities for riders. Opportunity for established riders to qualify for Rampage and opportunity for the rising generation of riders that are almost at Rampage level but not quite. Here they can come and push their limits in an environment that is much safer than Rampage. The more you try to find the perfect venue or the perfect features, the easier it is to lose site of the mission. In this case, the mission is the riders. I'm sure that seems naive to some but if you know Todd it changes your perspective. He is passionate about Rampage and mountain biking. He's also pretty sick rider himself. He knows these riders, cares about them and wants to give them every opportunity to succeed. We all love riding and try to promote the sport however we can. Most of us push the sport by trying to talk others into riding, the athletes push the sport by dedicating their lives to it. Event organizers push the sport in their own way. It's not any less noble for an event organizer to find sponsors to help pay for an event than it is for the athletes to find sponsors to help them. I understand that for some it may make the event feel less 'real' but I hope we see more of these turning up all over!
  • 2 0
 Ah man, your missing it. It's just a big jam sessions in the hills with guys throwing crazy tricks and having the time of their lives. Parents and family, all that plus cold beer. It's a blast man, this is just not the thing to hate on.
  • 3 6
 At least 50% of the most popular first comments on most pinkbike article's are misguided emotional expressions that gain support from similar types who are easy to manipulate or who don't pay attention to details(A girl should qualify because she can simply do the jumps). Says alot about the utter stupidity of mountain bikers and the human race in general.
  • 7 0
 Big ups to the builders- those features are burly!
  • 6 0
 That Dog Daddy AF shirt though
  • 2 1
 Let's just think of the fact that there is not even a real handful of women in the entire world that would try to get and could get into Rampage. I think that Casey is going to get in and be the pioneer for all the freerider women out there! she won't get in because of pity, but she'll get in because she is probably the best woman freerider in the world if you ask me. Imagine if she could start a women's discipline at rampage!
  • 4 0
 well waiting for wind this is a good way to train for Rampage !
  • 3 0
 Had been waiting for some coverage of this - psyched to see some runs!
  • 4 0
 Spangler.
  • 2 1
 f*ckin Randy. And whats up with those Cat Side by Sides? Why isnt Polaris back in it? Only reason Id ride that around is if there was manure in the back for my pot farm.
  • 4 0
 Dj for the win!
  • 1 0
 High 5 to all that made this happen!! (See what I did there!?)
Best of stoke to all out there riding????
  • 2 0
 Will there be a livestream tomorrow?
  • 1 0
 I don’t see it on RedBull TV. Why would they not show this?
  • 2 0
 @Telebikes: because it's sadly not even sponsored by Red Bull, therefore, they won't be broadcasting it.
  • 1 0
 I'd get scared riding along the start ramp... maybe I'll never get to virgin!
  • 2 3
 There isn’t a woman on earth with skills or the balls to ride rampage as a competitor. If there was she’d be invited. Casey is not even close. Being able to pull off a half ass whip... hilarious. Pfffft.
  • 1 0
 On my way to Black Sage now. Proving Grounds tomorrow. Psych’d!
  • 1 0
 Good to see more big mountain flow.
  • 2 1
 massive stuff - can't wait for the videos !
  • 1 0
 Awesome pictures Trevor and I love the Proving Ground concept Todd.
  • 1 0
 Damn..those sends look impressive!
  • 1 0
 Sooo...who won?
  • 1 0
 1) Reed Boggs @) Juan Diego Salido 3) DJ Brandt

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