Red Bull skate contest makes Phoenix stop

09/08/09 Skateboards
Crowds gather on Roosevelt Street Friday night for the Red Bull Manny Mania skateboard competition, which featured amateur skaters doing their best manuals.(Damien Maloney | The State Press)
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009
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More than 30 Arizonan amateur skaters competed Friday in Red Bull’s Manny Mania skateboarding event in Phoenix.

Thousands of spectators from the First Fridays art walk near the ASU Downtown campus came out to watch the Red Bull contest as it made its first-ever Phoenix appearance since it premiered in 2007. The Phoenix event was the fifteenth and final stop of its nationwide tour.

The contest judged skaters on how they utilized the “manual” or “manny,” which is a balancing maneuver while rolling on two wheels.

Phoenix resident Ryan Lay placed first, earning skateboarding gear. The video footage of his performance will be placed into an online contest.
The winner of an online vote on the individual contest winners’ footage will receive a prize pack worth $7,000.

“I got to come and skate with all my friends,” Lay said. “What can be better than that?”

Lay said his foot had been hurting for the past few weeks and he originally wasn’t going to come out for the event. Though he had fun, Lay said his competition was more deserving of the win.

“I think Jon Rob really should’ve won, but I just had a lot of energy. I think everyone got a little tired,” Lay said.

Cowtown Skateboards, a local skateboard shop with stores in Phoenix, Glendale and Tempe, hosted the event along with the Pravus Gallery in Phoenix.

Trent Martin, who works at Cowtown Skateboards, helped organize the event on North Fifth Street and East Roosevelt Road to promote skateboarding in the Phoenix area.

“There’s a younger crowd than is normally out here,” Martin said.

“Hopefully this turns them onto skateboarding. That’s my hope.”
Scott Houston, a Red Bull representative, said in an e-mail that the goal of the event was to hit big cities with flourishing skate scenes.

“The Phoenix stop was unique as it was a night-time event, and its connection to First Friday also gave it its own unique feel from the other stops,” Houston said.

He said a large part of the event’s success had to do with its partnership with First Fridays.

Danny Gorman, an event judge, said that the event was the best he’d seen put together.

“Everybody had a good time, it was entertaining for everybody and the weather was beautiful,” he said.

Gorman said he enjoyed judging the event as because he got to catch a glimpse of the future of skateboarding.

“These guys that you saw tonight — top 10 dudes, top 20 dudes — within the next couple of years will have their name on the bottom of a board,” Gorman said.

Houston said while it’s too early to know for sure which cities Red Bull Manny Mania will hit in 2010, he expects it will be back in Phoenix again.

Sophomore broadcast journalism student Eric Gembarowski attended the event Friday.

“I liked it because it was different,” Gembarowski said. “I hope the event does come back, it was a lot of fun.”

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Click here for video of the Red Bull Manny Mania event