A Deeper Look at the ScootFest Bowl and Park Competitions
By Jake Hershey
You can still watch the full broadcasts of all three ScootFest events!
With Day 1 of ScootFest a massive success, the riders, the crew, and the spectators were feeling the energy going into Day 2. The viewership and reaction to the Facebook livestream of King of Street was intense, so we knew the viewers at home would be motivated for King of Bowl and King of Park.
I walked into Adrenaline Alley at about 9 am, and Lucky Scooters rider Cody Flom was already in the bowl practicing front flairs. I'd seen he posted a video of him performing one on Instagram, saying it was his new favorite trick. So I asked him when he learned it, and he told me last week. He was already throwing them for breakfast after just having learned the trick a week ago.
Doors opened early on Day 2, 10 am. There was already a line around the corner of the building. Riders and fans of all shapes and sizes were set to witness the madness. A quick sound check started the day for myself and co-commentator Cody LaCroix. The spectators, house announcer (Todd Grady), and the music bumpin’ from the DJ made it difficult for us to hear ourselves speak. Our booth was super close to the action for King of Bowl, and we were feeling the energy from the crowd.
The stage was set, the riders were ready, and Todd started to hype the crowd up. King of Bowl consisted of four 10-minute heats of about 10 riders each (some had only nine). The riders took their first runs in order, but after that it was a free-for-all. If a rider had a chance to drop in, they took it. This raised the stakes and made for some high-paced, close-call action. Luckily, there was only one collision and the riders were fine. After each heat finished, the riders were scored on a zero to 100 point scale. The overall 10 best scores would move on to the final round, which would be a 20-minute jam session.
Last year’s King of Bowl and King of Kings, Richard Zelinka, did an interview after qualifiers with one of our hosts, Laurette Nicoll. Laurette asked Richard if it was tough riding in the qualifying heat with so many riders going at once and only 10 minutes to throw down. "You are supposed to ride a bowl with lines and stuff, but people were riding with four people together, so it was really hard not to hit each other," he said. "Most people are riding it like a halfpipe, but I am riding it with lines. So when I drop in, I am using the whole bowl. I think in the finals, the riders will respect the discipline.”
I could not agree more. This is a King of Bowl competition, so the judges are looking for long lines, fast grinds, and overall use of the features in the bowl. A lot of the preliminary qualifying heats made it difficult for the serious bowl riders to link their lines together without fear of collision.
Even with the chaos, Richard managed to qualify in first place for the finals. Some heavy hitters followed close behind. Lewis Williams, Dylan Morrison, Roomet Saalik, and Ryan Williams were sure to make this final round one of the fastest-paced contests in scooter history.
They put 20 minutes on the clock, and the final began. Dante Hutchinson kicked things off with a huge backflip drop-in on the over-vert section! It's tough enough to do that trick on a normal quarterpipe, let alone an over-vert. Angus Hughes followed him with some serious technical tricks. Leo Spencer and Ryan Williams started the final by hitting the Nitro World Games wallride. Dylan Morrison and Cody Flom both took to the skies with huge flairs, almost touching the ceiling. Cody even said at one point that the roof is the limit.
The top three qualifiers, Roomet Saalik, Lewis Williams, and Richard Zelinka, really knew how to handle this bowl. Roomet started the finals with a 30-second-long line, touching as much of the bowl as possible. Richard came onto the course with a backside lipslide on the 7-foot-tall Nitro World Games wallride.
There was so much energy in the King of Bowl competition. The crowd blew the roof off of Adrenaline Alley and really amped the riders up so they could seriously throw down. R-Willy had some diabolical maneuvers, including a feeble nose manual smith on that high wallride. Also, Willy almost tapped his head on the ceiling on some of his massive airs.
The top qualifier and last year's King, Richard truly stood out in the final, grinding off the extensions and transferring to the lower sections, sliding the pockets, but also hitting some massive air tricks. This guy has it all. He came into the contest with so much confidence, and it certainly showed. In the end, Richard took the last 40 seconds to himself and showed the spectators that The Bathtub has his name on it! Watch all the highlights right here:
Richard Zelinka, the Czech rider for Team District, did it again. King of Bowl belongs to him year after year, and nobody can take the crown. And, with his second-place finish in the King of Street competition, he immediately became the favorite to repeat as King of Kings.
There was only about an hour between the end of King of Bowl and the beginning of King of Park, so the riders rushed to the next course to get in some practice and keep the blood flowing. This contest consisted of some seriously big names in park riding. We had undefeated ScootFest park competitor Dakota Schuetz, better known as Kota, defending his title. Coming in, he had won every single King of Park and every single ScootFest competition before King of Park existed.
The format for King of Park was a bit different than the other competitions. The qualifying heats consisted of three to four riders running in a seven-minute soul jam format. A soul jam is where riders take runs one at a time, up to 45 seconds for a run, but if they fall they must exit the course and let the next rider drop. At the end of the seven minutes, the judges tally their scores. Only the top five riders move on to the final round, which is a 10-minute soul jam, followed by a final banger attempt for extra points.
Kota had some really strong qualifying runs, extremely consistent to say the least. He has a big bag of tricks and never seems to miss them. Unfortunately, it was not enough to land him a spot in the finals. He came so close, but at the end of his heat he was sitting in sixth. Right behind him were King of Bowl Richard Zelinka and Bobby Rivas. For those who don’t know Bobby, let me tell you a story.
He came to ScootFest two years ago and knew he had a huge chance to win King of Park. At the end of his run, he put it all on the line. Bobby sent a double backflip over the box jump, but under-rotated and slammed his face on the ground so hard. He ended up getting knocked out and being sent to the hospital. I was also his team manager at the time, so I had the pleasure of riding in the ambulance and sitting in the ER for six hours with him.
Fast-forward to this past weekend. Bobby started his qualifying runs with some style tuck no-handers and doing his signature Indian air supermans over the box jump. He knew he wouldn’t get a chance for a final banger in the qualifying. At the end of his heat, Bobby stood on top of the Nitro World Games extension, looked at the box jump in front of him, took a deep breath, and dropped in. One … two ... DOUBLE BACKFLIP! Bobby rode away from the double backflip that sent him to the hospital two years prior. So inspirational!
View this post on Instagram
Roomet Saalik squeaked his way into the finals in fifth place and bumped the style king Lewis Williams into sixth. So along with Roomet, the finals consisted of Jordan Clark, Cody Flom, Leo Spencer, and Dylan Morrison. Jordan is known for his double flair combos, and he threw down a gigantic double flair double tailwhip in the finals. Cody Flom brought out some of his frontflip tailwhip rewind tricks. Leo Spencer is an all around solid rider with the ability to throw all sorts of scooter flip tricks back-to-back, and some seriously technical tricks over the box jump.
Roomet is known as the first and only person to ever land a 1440 on a scooter. He's also notorious for being able to throw tricks within a 1080 spin. Unfortunately, the box jump wasn’t big enough for either of those tricks, but he did throw a 720 barspin to no-hander, as well as a straight 1080. Roomet also tried a 360 backflip drop-in (never been done), but unfortunately connected his cheek to the ground. His runs were still good enough for a second-place finish.
But the King of Park title went to Dylan Morrison. Dylan proved to ride the fastest, air the highest, and had the crowd under his spell. The judges clearly loved his style and grace while boosting 10-foot-high flairs, his lines, and the tricks thrown between the bangers. Just before the competition started, Dylan was so close to pulling out due to severe cramping in his legs. But he ate a banana, I gave him some water, and he crushed the competition. He ended the finals by attempting a massive 540 flair barspin. Nobody connected on their final banger attempts, so the miss didn’t affect the results. Watch the full highlights package right here:
With Dylan taking the win in King of Park, it put his team, AO Scooters, in the lead for the Scooter World Cup, an award for the best overall team performance. Roomet finishing in second place meant that Richard Zelinka, for the second year in a row, took home the title King of Kings.