By Leigh Ramsdell, sports marketing manager
The Mongoose Jam has been around since 2013, and over the years we’ve changed the format to keep it fresh and entertaining. Traditionally it’s been more of a park event, even though our pros rode dirt at a few stops alongside the park contest. This year we switched it up again to an all-dirt Jam where both BMX and MTB bikes could ride! Enter the Riveter – located in beautiful Mills River, North Carolina. This top-notch facility not only has an amazing dirt park, but it also features a climbing center and yoga studios.
The day before the event, all the Mongoose pros took advantage of the climbing center and tested their climbing skills to see how high they could get. Speaking of pros… We had Kevin Peraza, Nikita Ducarroz, Ben Wallace, Pat Casey, Mykel Larrin and Josh Hult on hand to throw-down at the Jam. But wait, that’s not all! We also had a few of our BMX racers on hand, Mason Hayes and Payton Ridenour, to show that they are much more than gate starts and hole shots!
Kevin Peraza said, “Turning it into a 'DIRT JAM' is the perfect definition of what BMX is, going back to our roots from where BMX originated in the first place. Riveter was the perfect spot for this years’ Dirtvana Jam.”
The Jam started with great weather, but we knew rain was on the horizon. Luckily, we were having the event under the Riveter canopy section! There were some great vendors out at the event like RADshare, Drop In Coffee, Apex Brain Centers, USA BMX Freestyle, and of course Mongoose (that’s us!). RADshare’s very own Steve Crandall was also on hand to emcee the event and get the crowd stoked. And the stoke he brought!
We had about 70 kids entered and over 500 people around to watch the event! With riders from 8 to 48 years old across various skill levels, they all got treated to something that rarely happens in these events – they actually got to ride with our Mongoose pros! They would drop into the course right behind their favorite rider doing what everyone had in common – the love of riding bikes!
“I loved that all kids, or adults could enjoy it just as the pro team did,” adds Kevin. “It had something for all levels of riding, yet we could all share the same space together. The riding and vibes were great all day long. It definitely made it an event to remember.”
After each class there was one ‘Standout Rider’ award given, which was picked by the pro team. RADshare also gave a helmet and other goodies to a runner-up. USA BMX Freestyle was on hand to give out two ‘Best Trick’ awards, which went to Tommy Crail for a big backflip tailwhip over the first jump and to Big Mike Allen for his 360 drop-in.
It wasn’t only the Mongoose crew and competitors that were enjoying the festivities. We also had a few BMX superstars in the house including Ryan Nyquist, Cory Coffey, and Matty and Scotty Cranmer! It was really cool to watch them interact with everyone! And let’s not forget about the Our BMX winner Andres Shapol, who rode non-stop showing everyone exactly why he won that contest.
"Best event of the year so far! Dirtvana highlighted exactly what the BMX community is supposed to be about and that’s embracing anyone and everyone that wants to be a part of it no matter what stage in life or level of ability," said Mongoose pro Ben Wallace. "Getting to ride with some little rippers who are most certainly on their way to being the next generation of podium riders, along with those who probably owned a Supergoose on its initial release date! Just a lot of shredding, fun and smiles had by all and I’m proud to be a part of the Mongoose family."
As the event wound down, people stayed to watch a local band play and enjoy the dirt park. Other people went inside to watch the climbing competition going on the same day! I have to say that this event was one that was so much more about the smiles you get riding bikes with friend than getting any kind of award.
Elizabeth Jackson, the Founder and General Manager of the Riveter had this to say; “I had the best time working with the Mongoose team! Their riders were so talented and welcoming to all riders, of any skill level, age, race, or gender --- the whole team embodies the culture that the Riveter aims to foster. Thanks for such an incredible day.”
And Mr. Peraza feels pretty much that same way, “The Mongoose Jam is always a special event to be part of, from the simple reason that it brings not only the whole team together for a great weekend of riding, but riders both men and women from all ages joining the session as well.”
And with that we’d like to thank each one of you for coming out to the Jam! Now go get a shovel, build some jumps and get stoked!