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3 Nov 2021

IN PHOTOS: The Chase Hawk Invitational 2021

A breath of fresh air in the contest arena!

Photos & words by: Wes McGrath

What is it that makes a contest something to look forward to?.. As a rider, an attendee, a camera guy or even someone viewing it online, there is a special something that we all look forward to and seek-out through these high risk events. Therefore, I believe it's all in the energy; the energy transmuted from witnessing another human try to perform at their peak and strive for excellence. So to assume responsibility for your own contest is quite challenging. To ensure the proper curation of such high caliber bike riding is a big task to take on but there aren't too many other riders more qualified to manage a brand new event, other than Chase Hawk!

In just under 8 weeks, Chase organized and executed a full scale BMX contest, which had riders come from all over the Americas, even as far as Chile, Mexico and Colombia! Riders took the call and made there way to the Houston, Texas RockStar Energy Bike Park to be included in this new blossoming event! Over 50 riders registered and competed for the top spot but of course only one Man and one Woman came out with the win. The first annual Chase Hawk Invitational was one for the books and we can't wait to see what else comes in the future but for now enjoy this extended photo insight to the whole weekend!

Chase Hawk - The Man with the plan

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Chase Hawk and Tommy Dugan have a long history together, on and off the bike their friendship shines through their joined antics and sometimes ruthless banter! Riding for years together on different companies as well as living in the same city, Austin Texas... they definitely bring an awesome energy to the RockStar Energy Bike park throughout the entire weekend and really gave the kids something to look up to!

The AM scramble...

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John Wadlund hails from La Quinta, California and definitely stole the show with his clicked and very smooth invert out of the deep end! And it goes without saying there were a lot of table tops throughout the entire event!

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James Harlan raises a hand after a corkscrew over the hip didn't play out... This guy was all smiles, high seed and high energy all day long!

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Devon Smillie, May Ray and Kole Volker take a little breather as they warm up before qualifiers... Matt and Kole make little joke as Devon gets into a little yoga.

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Waylon Burrough, son of the more famously known, Father Waylon Burrough, out of hills Santa Cruz, California... Making his first contest debut, Waylon takes a break from the streets and gets rad and keeps up with his fellow bowl riding associates.

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Kole Volker is also the Son to a rad Dad... Dave Volker is a legendary man in the BMX industry and his Son, Kole is really making a name for himself. Especially with a proper table like this one just before the storm clouds come raining down!

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Landon Gideon never slowed down and this huge bowl transfer took all the pedal power he could muster! Massive toboggan at height as he starts his run with a full sprint to this transfer and quickly raises awareness to how fast you have to go to make this gap!

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The judges for the weekend were none other than Sean Ricany, Tommy Dugan and Nick Bruce, which are all represented by Rockstar Energy Drink. They weren't on the microphone but it was probably a good thing as their jokes were flying the whole event. As you can see here the boys are enjoying themselves quite thoroughly during qualifiers.

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Kole Volker taking a break in the middle of the park, as the first rain of the weekend teases us and dries slowly in the Texas humidity! This guy really went full throttle and gave the podium boys a run for their money!

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Chase Hawk gives some mid qualifying advice, to those who will listen... Along with a light smack on the helmet, to motivate Preston Okert and Landon Gideon.

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River Biasi was on his way to Swampfest and decided he couldn't pass up this inaugural event! Making himself well-known all weekend with style like this!

...personally I want to see riders that might not have ever competed before. Anyone could show up and push through all the gnarly things that a contest can throw at you and persevere!..

-Chase Hawk

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Victor Peraza

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Preston Okert

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Victor Peraza is one of the many Peraza brothers within the BMX community and has one of the most supportive BMX families around... Yet, Viktor carves his own pathway with such a unique style I had to see it for myself to really appreciate his original skills!

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Preston Okert is one smooth cat, riding for Cult he keeps up the pace of the high seed street/transition rider and he proves his versatility in every run.

The Rain Intermission...

You can always make a plan but still, it's never fool proof. And in the name of Murphy's Law of Attraction, "If it can happen, it just might..." So in the midst of Saturday's qualifiers, the Texas sky opened up and poured down rain and halted the event in just minutes. Everyone ran for cover and watched the park get drenched as we all felt the humidity levels rise, adding significant heat to an already muggy Texas day.

It only took 30 minutes or so for the rain to stop entirely and as soon as the last drop fell, there was about two dozen park employees and riders taking charge to the puddles and began drying the park immediately. Blow torches, mops, brooms and squeegees were coming out of seemingly everywhere and before anyone could believe it, the park was dry and we went straight back into qualifiers!

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Tom Dugan doing his part helping mo u the bowl... And it goes without saying, Tom made a show of it, lol.

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Chase was one of the first people in the bowl with tools in hand ready to get this contest back online asap!

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I'm not too sure what side jobs these two have back home but they are quite crafty in the class custodial arts.

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Nina Buitrago is an ATX local, so her bike is well accustomed to some spotty rainy days!

The Finals

As Saturday afternoon grew into the evening, there was an impeding stress in the air, as the storm clouds continued to brew blackness in the near background, quickly turning the finals into a round of rapid fire bowl ripping! Even though the time crunch was on, everyone was turned up by the energy of it all...

After drying the park twice on Saturday, there was a serious thought that the event may not even reach natural conclusion?! Luckily, we had the man power to battle the puddles and of course, Daryl Nau, on the microphone helped us to get the much needed attention to hurry the event along to on beat the rain! The clock was ticking and the rain was on it's way!

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Matt Ray, a brand new Father but that doesn't stop him from being on top of his game! This huge 270 bar spin transfer into the vert-wall looked like childs' play for Matt and he kept his bag of tricks open well into finals! Coming out from Boston, repping his brands Shadow and Subrosa, Matt is always one of my favorites to watch!

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If you have to blink during any part of Nyquist's runs, then you might just miss at least a bar spin or two... In this case, Ryan hits us with a classic no-catch double barsin, well over head height! Nyquist was one of the six pre-qualified pros for the finals...

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Ryan Nyquist is no stranger to the contest scene to say the LEAST! His influence has spanned over decades of bike riders young and old... From video games to the X-Games, Nyquist is the style! Huge stretched suicide no-hander across the massive quarter wall...

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Gary Young is one experienced bowl rider, usually seen ripping apart Vans Pro Cup circuits and the X-Games, Gary is always a crowd favorite. Gary's unique use of the course is like no other, you can always count on him to find a line or maneuver, in which, no one else can see.

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Kole Volker really let it rip during finals, nearly having a flawless final lap around the park and blasting this hi full seed into a nice and lofty one handed table!

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Jayden Mucha is Kink's newest high flyer and he was most definitely the one to watch all weekend! His agility to go much faster and higher than most was a great example of how to ride bowls effortlessly. At only 19 years old, he is roving to have a bright future ahead!

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Marcus Christopher with a huge TRIPLE downside whip to close out his final run in finals!

The versatility in style at this contest was top-notch to witness and it felt even better to ride amongst such a talented group of riders in such a relaxed contest setting!

-Marcus Christopher

MARCUS CHRISTOPHER is one HELL of an impressive young gun, which I have to say I haven't seen this type of raw talent with a gyro in a long time! During his final run it seemed like Marcus couldn't be stopped, he was all over the park, nailing everything! On his last hit around the big bowl, he executed this MASSIVE TRIPLE downside whip with serious finesse. Making it quite clear who the winner would be and sure enough, Marcus cruised right into 1st place!

The Winners Circle

1st place Women's - Jesse Gregory

Jesse Gregory takes first place in the women's contest, among her fellow riders, Nina Buitrago, Maca Perez, and Bee Cam! This was Jesse's first time winning a contest and she definitely deserved it! Jesse has come a long way in the past few years, showing so much progression! Always with a smile on her face, either rain or shine, Jesse walks away this time with the win at the first annual Chase Hawk Invitational!

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Chase Hawk, Maca Perez and Nina lead the cheer as Jesse receives her 1st lace plaque! It's so rad to see the friendships between the women's' BMX community, helping and motivating one another to keep raising the bar in BMX!

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The 1st place award goes to Jesse Gregory, for this years first annual Chase Hawk Invitational... Down in Houston, Texas, at the Rockstar Energy Bike park!

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Jesse Gregory taking a second to calm down before finals began Saturday morning...

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Maca Perez, Nina Buitrago and Jesse Gregory all gathered around as they anxiously awaited the to three line up to be announced by the judges!

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Maca Perez giving us a clicked table top out of the deep!

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Nina Buitrago's puppy was right along side her the whole two days of the event... Little Brisket certainly made anyone is his path melt with cuteness!

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Maca Perez, Jesse Gregory, Nina Buitrago and Bee Cam, all gather around to celebrate their friends win with a nice polaroid! Smiles and laughter all around the girls bask in their friends brand new accomplishment!

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Robbie Morales donated $500 dollars to his favorite rider on the day of finals and Jayden Mucha stole the show with his high power and suer high wall rides on the pillar! I'm sure that skatepark has never seen such high tire marks!

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Marcus Christopher takes the 1st place win with an impressive performance all day Friday and Saturday! Jayden Mucha takes home the 2nd place cake and coming in 3rd place is Devon Smillie! These three guys displayed skatepark destruction in drastically different styles and approaches to the course.

After it was all said and done, Chase really pulled this one off! Starting off with a short time frame, the organization of the event came together and was welcoming to all who want to sign up... Even through episodes of dodging rain and figuring out how to manage over 50 riders on the fly, once the weather had it's way with the day's schedule! Chase Hawk and the whole Rockstar Bike park crew brought us all together for a great time and to give young riders a chance to dance with some of today's finest transition riders!

Chase has performed in contests all over the world for years, and now he is shedding a new light on the contest scene. Breathing a new energy and insight on how to approach and organize a contest, for riders to enjoy and look forward to, year after year!

Related Video

CHASE HAWK INVITATIONAL 2021 - IN THE CUT

Young Shredders & Invited Pros - More Info

Results:

Women

1. Jesse Gregory 2. Maca Perez Grazzet 3. Nina Buitrago

Men

1. Marcus Christopher 2. Jayden Mucha 3. Devon Smille 4. Matt Ray 5. Eli Kravetz 6. Ryan Nyquist 7. Gary Young 8. Alex Leibrock 9. Dan Foley 10. Preston Okert

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In conjunction with @rockstarenergy @rockstarenergybikepark