8th Annual Dirksen Derby

Many “people” have tried to make a unicorn simply by taping a spiraled horn onto the head of a white horse. In the end these “people” always end up with the same result; a stupid looking horse, not even a good imposter. They don’t understand that a unicorn can’t be made it has to be found. A unicorn is purely mythical and represents innocence and imagination. The same analogy goes for snowboard contests. They aren’t all created equal. Some are merely just a horse with a horn taped on its head. They lack heart and soul and imagination and represent all the things that snowboarding doesn’t need right now. These contests stand for nothing more than corporate America and its insatiable urge to wrap up a plain old horse and sell it as a unicorn. They weren’t dreamt up by riders on the hill but rather born in a boardroom by people in suits. These contests are around merely as a marketing channel to the masses. They are so X-treme! Every once in a blue moon a “unicorn” emerges out of the pack showing it has true body and soul and stands for something. These contests, however, are few and far between.

Last weekend I ventured to Eastern Oregon in search of one of these unicorn contests known as the Dirksen Derby. I have heard about the Dirksen Derby for years and always wanted to make the trek to Mt. Bachelor to check it out. I have also, however, always seemed to be lacking in the motivation department. It has always been a lot easier to just stick around Washington and ride early season pow in my backyard than to drive 400mi to go ride in a contest. This winter (or lack thereof) in Washington has been a little different than most and was just what I needed to find the motivation I to head south to Bachelor to check it out.

The Dirksen Derby was started by Josh Dirksen 8 years ago for all the right reasons. He set it up the Dirksen Derby as a fundraiser to help generate money to help out his pal Tyler Ecklund while at the same time creating awareness about spinal cord injuries in sports. With each passing year its following has grown allowing Josh to be able to help out Tyler a little more. In its 8 years of existence it has raised over $100,000. It really does stand for something. The contest itself isn’t about who is the best gymnast. Its all about the heart and soul of snowboarding; having fun and going fast. Fun and fast it was. From the time I rolled into town at 2AM on Friday morning till the time I left Sunday afternoon I never once didn’t have a smile on my face. The same went for all the people competing and in attendance. We all literally spent 3 days perma-grinned, shredding Mt. Bachelor and enjoying great times with friends both old and new. It was one of the most positive and fun environments I have ever experienced.  I advise you should probably attend in 2015, I know I will. Here are a few photos from the contest and some results here. For full results click here


Men’s Elite:
First – Harry Kearney – 54.21
Second – Austin Smith – 56.90
Third – Alex Deibold – 57.00

Women’s Elite:
First – Desiree Melancon – 63.07
Second – Colleen Quigley – 63.93
Third – Stephanie Haines – 63.97

First – Kris Melton – 61.27
Second – Greg Goulet – 61.40
Ami Voutilainen – 61.48

Older & Wiser:
First – Matt Gadow – 73.44
Second – Gerry Lopez – 77.30
Third – Michael Schubert – 81.14

Men’s (Ages 14-34):
First – Spencer Cordovano – 59.06
Second – JD Dennis – 59.63
Third – Shane Chappell – 59.82

First – Brynn Hayes – 67.65
Second – Caley Vanular – 68.59
Third – Devyn Schnake – 70.34

First – Wyatt Foley – 58.18
Second – Parker Giblin – 67.70
Max Jones – 69.36

First – Ravi Drugan – 77.95
Second – Hiromi Tatumi – 80.34
Third – Gabe Rousseau – 90.82

Women’s Splitboard:
First – Maria Debari – 17:35
Second – Allison Lightcap – 19:36
Third – Khai Bhagwandin – 20:40

Men’s Splitboard:
First – Reid Persing – 14:00
Second – Ryland Bell – 14:01
Third – Adam Haynes – 14:22

Jake Price Jake Price

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