Matty Cranmer Competes in Annual Winter Welcome Jam at the Wheel Mill

By Leigh Ramsdell, Sports Marketing Manager

There are so many BMX and MTB events out there that it’s hard to make it to all of them. One I highly recommend you get to next year is the Winter Welcome Jam at the Wheel Mill in Pittsburgh, PA!  The Wheel Mills is an 80,000 square foot indoor BMX and mountain bike park featuring amazing rideable terrain from both MTB flow and technical sections, a mini ramp room, a park room, a pump track area, and their famous jump room built by trail riders – which is the closest thing to riding dirt trails.

With all of these riding options, it’s no wonder that you would have a world-class jam here – In the winter no less!  This was the 10th year they have hosted the Welcome Jam, and it certainly didn’t show any signs of slowing down.  Mongoose sponsored the train contest in the jump room, so it made sense to send our pro Matty Cranmer to be a guest judge for the event.  He also won it a few years ago, so he knows what it takes to win.

Matty Cranmer at the Winter Welcome Jam 2024

The day started off with a Kids Jam in the jump room for anyone under the age of 15. It’s always refreshing to see young riders having a blast and doing their thing. The amount of progression at this age is insane. We saw a lot of riders with great bike handling skills and good tricks too, like 360’s and backflips.

After the Kids Jam everyone made their way to the park room for the Street Jam.  The set up was good for both street riders, who took to the rails and ledges, and park riders, who were more apt to ride transitions.  Matty rode this event and spent the entire time trying to get a 360-handplant to fakie on one of the quarters.  He came so close, but ran out of time.  Although Mason Ritter did a wild front flip to a tiny, banked landing, but it was Jamie Thayer who took with win with a mind-blowing cannonball off the jump take-off transferring to a smith grind on the ledge.  It was the best of both worlds with park and street!

Matty Cranmer at the Winter Welcome Jam 2024

Matty also entered the High-air Contest. Clint Reynolds was there to judge using an air pole up with a cowbell attached to the end that riders had to hit and ring with their back tire. They started off at 7-feet giving each rider two attempts to make the mark. Rider after rider cranked at the quarter pipe blasting into the air to give us more cowbell!  Matty made it up to the 11-foot mark before tapping out.  Nathan Halahan won with an impressive 13-foot air.

Making the way to the jump room, they also had the Bunny Hop contest where each rider had to bunny hop a mid-school bike weighing around 35 pounds. Then the Rail-of-Doom went down, which went 30 minutes over time, and someone did entire rail which was super long and had a bunch of dips in it.

Once we made it to the jump room, Matty Cranmer’s favorite BMX event started…. The Circuit BMX Foot-down World Championships!  This was probably the biggest game of foot-down I’ve ever seen!  They did two rounds of qualifying, which Matty made it through, before breaking into a 12-rider final.  Matty was out to win and made it down to the final four, but everyone was circling like sharks and Matty was taken down by Action Jackson.  The winner ended up being Louis Kaminski.

Matty Cranmer at the Winter Welcome Jam 2024

Next up was the Mongoose Train Contest. For this event you had to pick a team of three riders and figure out how to use the jump room in an original way, whether it was doing side-by-side jumps, transferring from one place to the next, or by doing an over and under.  Matty was the judge and originality was the name of the game!  We got to see a lot of creativity for this one with riders high-fiving midair, one rider jumped over another, we had a few back flips over people sitting on the decks of the ramps, and even some insane flyouts onto the spectator deck.  But it was Team Mark Potoczny that took with win.  Mark along with his teammates Mike Serbin and Marcello Gerasole were criss-crossing all over the jump room with ease, while somehow not hitting each other!  The win was well deserved.

Leigh Ramsdell at the Winter Welcome Jam 2024

Following the Train Contest was the Best Tabletop and Hard Trick event. During Best Tabletop, Nick Bruce did one of the best table backflips anyone has done!  That was in the running for best table, and you would almost expect someone like Chris Doyle to come out there can clean house because he is known for his tables… And he did.  Not only did he tweak it the best, he also held on so long that you couldn’t deny him the win.  Don’t feel bad for Nick not winning because he tied for First in Best Trick with Nate Halahan.  Nate did a massive transfer that had been looked at, but never done.  And Nick did a flip and during the halfway point smithed the water pipe on the ceiling!  It was bonkers.

The final event of the Winter Welcome Jam was the Fast and Loose Lap Challenge. The rules for this are simple:  Everyone starts riding the main section of the jump line until only one person is left!  You have to clear every jump, and if you don’t you’re out.  You’re also allowed to bump other riders in the turns to get them to touch.  If they did that, they were out. Matty really wanted to win this one, and after 98 laps and 32 minutes of nonstop riding Matty came out on top!  A little sore, but he accomplished what he came to do.

Matty Cranmer at the Winter Welcome Jam 2024

I have to say I really love this event and how it includes any type of rider no matter the skill level.  Thanks to Mike and Mark Potoczny for keeping the stoke alive with the Winter Welcome Jam!  We can’t wait until next year(Matty might not be sore by then)!

Matty Cranmer at the Winter Welcome Jam 2024

Photo credit Murphy Moschetta