King of Ground Final 2004
     King of Ground

KOG has to be one of the biggest contests in the world, if not THE biggest. I dont know any other competition that there can be 84 riders in just one class. There was so many riders there it was hard not to be overwhelmed by everything going on.

I woke up at 5 am on saturday to get ready for the contest. I had the Dig-it Jam the night before, and got home at 3am, so I only had 2 hours of sleep. I had a friend that was coming with me to see what I had been so excited about all month, so I went and got her and made our way to asakusa at about 6:30am. I live about 2 hours from Asakusa, so I had to make sure to be there with enough time to register and get everything done that needs to be done.

When we arrived at the Rox 3 Multi-court, everything was already busy. There were tons of riders, everyone was practicing, and people were already pulling crazy tricks at 8:30 in the morning. I went and registered, and then practiced a little until the contest started. Im in the Novice class, and there were 84 riders that had signed up for the class, meaning that because of a time limit, there would be no Novice final.

Now, I know this is a bit of me being proud of the scene in japan, but I honestly think that some of the best riders come out of this country. Even in the Novice class, there are people that are ripping it up just as bad as some some of the masters in europe and high ams in the US and Canada. It was amazing seeing the other people in my class pulling switch footed tomahawks and turbined steams effortlessly. One rider is a 15 year old named Holy-ken, and he is well on his way to becoming a really great rider. When it came to be my turn to ride, I choked hard, and only pulled one link. I guess my lack of sleep caught up with me. Trav is still the “crash master,” haha.

When the Experts had their turn, the crowd was getting pumped. I want to say that the number of riders that had entered expert is in the 50’s, and every one of them could be either a VERY high level AM or Pro elsewhere in the world. All of them are pulling difficult and original combos, and have style to spare. Expert class is just as great to watch as the Pro runs. One rider that stood out to me is a rider by the name of Hosshia. He was doing links like boomerang straight to pedal hang 5, flipped to switch steam turbine to hang 5 out. He was perhaps my favorite expert of the evening.

Just then, as the expert finals where going on, an Earthquake hit. It happened right in the middle of one riders run, and it was as if he didn’t even notice it, all his tricks were still going, and he landed everything, during an EARTHQUAKE! Everyone was going crazy.

After the end ceremonies, I had to get home and finally get some sleep, it was a long day and I was exhausted. Too bad, Martti was showing off his solo video project, “moments.”

I got a good nights rest, and headed back out to Asakusa, but I missed out on the jam session that everyone usually participates in before the pro runs begin. Unfortunately, I was informed that some shady things went down.

Final results
1st :Martti Kuoppa
2nd :Jesse Puente
3rd : Kotaro Tanaka

Year end results
1st : Yanmar
2nd : Shinde
3rd : Shinichiro Hara

Alexis Desolneux, Chad Johnston, Steph Royer, and Aaron Frost, were told they were not invited to participate in the show/best trick contest because their tricks were not flashy enough. This resulted in Steph and Chad pulling out of the entire event. Aaron, Travis Collier, Alexis, Martti, and Kimmo wanted to do the same, but they had obligations to their sponsors. It really made me sad to find this out because well, I think that every rider has their own style, and judging them based on a flashy trick, rather than an insanely difficult original one, is just horrible.

After that bit of awful news, the comp went on, the usual pros were on, and everyone was going for their best tricks. It was my first time seeing Jesse Puente ride, and he is crazy. Definitely a treat.

28th of October 2004 - Travis Davis