Well, there it goes. Another Notro, come and gone. Time to begin the countdown / alcohol-tolerance-training for next year. Looks like everyone had an amazing time getting fucked up all weekend. Prashant shot some photos of notable dudes in attendance for EMBASSY that you can check out, Tenpack has some coverage as well, and I’m sure some more party-coverage will be surfacing over the next couple days.
One of the best parts (for me) about the annual Toronto bike show is the backpack merchants. Every year more and more local DIY ‘companies’ (so to speak) show up with awesome videos, shirts, and stickers. When I was a kid just barely getting interested in BMX my Mom heard about the Metro BMX Jams that Jay Miron was putting on at the time. I remember sitting in the stands and being insanely excited to see Dave Osato ride (I had just moved from Winnipeg and was pumped to know that dudes like that grew up in the same neighbourhood – let alone city – that I did) and it was one of the first times I really saw how cool BMX was. I bought a copy of Faction Video Magazine from a dude with a giant beard, and the ICC video I mention in every post from Leland Nightingale at the Hogtown booth. I asked my Mom for $20 to go find a shirt to buy and ended up getting a Shitluck (I’m So Happy I Could Shit) tee from a dude in a chicken suit and wore it until it disintegrated. Awesome.
Anyway, as you can see above – BMXFU will be selling a ton of new tees (including this one that’s not pictured above) at the jam and SOUR FEVER will also have all their new stuff available as well. The basic strategy to find this shit is to spot someone wearing a tee that you want and ask them who they got it from. Don’t be shy. You’ll have to track down the right dude with the right backpack. You can pay in weed, beer (none of that light shit), and cash, I assume.
This will be the first bike show I’ve missed since the first one I went to all those years ago. I expect you all to be on your absolute worst fucking behaviour. I am jealous. Get drunk in the stands for me, and see you next year.
This March marks the first Toronto Bike Show contest I’ll miss since my first one in… shit, which year was the dude from Shitluck there selling copies of Faction in a chicken suit? I think I was fourteen, my Mom took me after reading about the contest in the newspaper. I went online and did as much research as I could, and after seeing that Miron would be there with Osato and other legendary dudes (really though, who expects me to remember who else was there besides those guys?) I was stoked as fuck. I saved as much money as I could, because I read in some forums that there would be good deals on parts. BMX was so sick when you were fourteen. I was pumped.
The contest was nuts, and it become sort of a yearly tradition between my friends and I. The next year was the first time I ever got drunk and we went to the Macneil premiere. Gin, and Vex. Nice. Year after year the contest got more and more awesome until Jay Miron finally called it quits. I’m a firm believer that every contest has generations. It felt like Street Justice ended at the right time, and Toronto Metro Jam ended just before it got out of hand enough to burn the building down (but not early enough to prevent us fucking some stuff up. Sorry, Jay.) Metro lived on to do a short stint in Signapore, and an event in Kingston as well (which I judged. Again, thanks Jay). Toronto was done though, and so a new contest came in to fill its place.
The first Toronto BMX Jam was a shit show. You couldn’t see the course from 80% of the stands. We did an interview with Ryan Senechal that year (he was Mike Heaton’s assistant that year) and he basically revealed that it was a fucking gong-show and he spent most of the day running around while the event’s official organizer ran off to do who-knows-what. BMX history buffs will be interested to find that interview if they email me, but it’s currently ‘hidden’ with all the old archives.
Every year the expectations are still there, and it seems like every year the contest does nothing but fall short. It wouldn’t be fair to expect a contest of Metro’s caliber (fuck with The Beast? Impossible.), but it would be nice if the course matched the 3D renders, or if it was sponsored by actual BMX companies. Or if I could get a fucking press-pass (modest aside, this is the Canadian BMX website, and I sneak in every year anyway. Just would appreciate a $0.25 wristband to make my life easier). Every year the focus shifts away from the contest and more towards the party. The highlights from last year, for me, include getting fucked up in the stands, watching Drew Bezanson (okay, I focused on the contest for five minutes the entire weekend, I’m guilty), getting into a giant FU-fight at the bar, and hearing about all the girls my homies slept with over the course of the event. Sure, the contest had its moments. I just remember dudes being glued to the stands.
With rumours of Catfish not announcing this year as well, things are looking grim. Although a perfect opportunity for Paul Hoerdt to start his announcing career, an event without Yankush is just never the same. There are also rumours (confirmed!) that Mike Heaton bought the old Metro ramps. A step in the right direction from the water-logged piles of timber they usually use, except I heard they’re saving the new ramps for next year. Oh well, who knows. Combine all of this with the registration being opened in almost complete secrecy and we have another disappointment, but perfect excuse to get fucked up with everyone in Ontario).
Trust me, I’m not harping on about the good ol’ days. I’m young as fuck, I was never around for what the old salty bastards are complaining about. I didn’t mean for this to turn into a rant against Toronto BMX Jam, I just want all the young dudes I know comin’ up right now to have their own Metro / Street Justice / awesome contest to get stoked on. The fuck kind of contest course has no handrail? How are kids supposed to get stoked about that?
The purists will shame me for not holding my own contest, for sitting here ‘complaining’, for even caring about a contest anyway, and for being a fucking idiot. Whatever though, the point is that the resources are in place for this contest to be awesome. Everyone goes every year, good ramps are available, the venue is there. Let’s blow the fucking roof off of the exhibition hall like we did when Silva did a dubs to crook down the big kinker.
EDIT: A QUICK FOLLOW-UP.
I didn’t mean for this to turn into / be taken as me goin’ in on Mike Heaton or the current event. I started writing this to recount how awesome the contest always is (because it is!) but it turned into realizing that although it is still getting better every year, there are annoyances holding it back. Notably, the estimated (by Mike Heaton) $11,000 cost to have the Metro ramps assembled by CNE Union Workers. That is just an excuse. Have CNE Union workers ever assembled the Metro ramps, or Mike’s ramps, or any ramps? Nope. 100% BMX volunteers.
Instead of paying Mike Spinner an appearance fee (only a rumour), why not use the ramps from a once-amazing contest that drew pros from all over the world to ride without offering them a cheque just to be there? Although I typed a whole bunch of bullshit about everything I thought was missing, it really only comes down to a course worth riding.
I don’t know why the hell they open up registration so discretely every year but I’ve heard word that it’s open. Get in there while you can. Every year it seems like all the out-of-towners can’t get spots and the waiting list is 30+ kids deep. So don’t sleep. Hit up Toronto BMX for more information.
I’ve heard that they bought the old Metro ramps, so hopefully the wood disaster they usually have is taken care of. The ramps at Wallace were looking really beat the last time I was there. Hopefully local media can get passes this year as well so that rad photos like the one above don’t have to be shot from the stands.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Everything has been OD about the Toronto BMX Jam lately. Justen Soule does rad work though, so this is definitely a best-for-last situation. REPSET will return to it’s usual daily BMXFU posts immediately.
Probably the best video I’ve seen of the jam so far, and definitely the best view of Shawn Swain’s insane handplant 360. Obviously the Drew Bezanson show is in full effect as well. Definitely squirmed a little when they showed all the brutal crashes at the end, though.
Fat Tony was busy as fuck all weekend. Check out Pro and Amateur Qualifying above, and finals from both after the jump.
Charlie Crumlish threw together some clips from Toronto BMX Jam, as well. Handrail stuff made me laugh out loud. Enjoy.
I saw Chris Silva wandering around with a video camera this weekend making sure to clock some footage of his SOUR FEVER dudes shredding. Toronto locals killin’ it.