It’s more than just bragging rights

Grinding — Riders in Friday night’s Rail Jam busted out their best tricks to try to win thousands in total prizes. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

This year’s Rail Jam provided a new twist as two brothers battle for the top spot

The Rail Jam has come a long way from a “bragging rights” event held in front of a small crowd on the front steps of DeMoss.

Fast-forward to now, where a large crowd sits eagerly on a brisk, February Friday night at the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Center watching a field of pro and out-of-state riders compete for not only “bragging rights,” but also a $750 cash prize.

According to Casey Reed, the shop manager at Snowflex and one of the judges for the competition, Rail Jam has grown quite a bit since its beginning, mostly due to the growth and notoriety of the Snowflex Center.

“The unique surface of Snowflex, being able to ride all the time and weather this year has a lot of guys coming here to stay on top of their game,” Reed said. “(Events at Snowflex) definitely shows that we are here to be a part of the game. A lot of people, when we first opened, were saying it’s not really snowboarding, but it is. You use the same skills.”

The event consisted of two separate legs — a skiing competition and a snowboarding competition. Riders were given 10 separate “runs” down their choice of three different styles of rails. Each rider had his or her choice of which rail to use at anytime and were judged on style and technicality. The riders were given a score by each of the three judges after each run, and the winner was the rider with the highest cumulative score.

In the skiing group, it was a close race for first place between two brothers, but in the end Tanner Senclair outlasted his brother Cameron Senclair to take home the title (and second place respectively), and Jon Steltzer took home third place.

The snowboard session lasted almost into the next morning, keeping the crowd on edge until about 11:45 p.m. In the end, the clear-cut winner was Ryan Leeds. Ben Sullo finished in second behind Leeds and Luke Fosse finished third.

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