Saturday May 30, 2015

Last update07:13:55 AM PST

The past years have never been great for me at the Open.  Words like "rain", "ice", "wind", "disappointment" and "pressure" have all played a part in my not so favorable finishes. I say this because after this year all those past bad memories have been replaced.

This years USO was sunny and soft pretty much the whole week! That and I was riding well enough to score my first major podium finish. I went into finals hoping that if I rode my best I might be able to finish in the top 5, I guess you could say I exceeded my expectations. Here's how it all went down.

I woke up Saturday morning. Having not gotten that much sleep the night before, I was a little tired but the excitement and the amazing weather soon had me ready to ride. The girls went first and set the tone for an amazing day! I was so stoked for my friend and condo mate Arielle Gold, who at only 15 years old rode incredibly well and grabbed 4th place as well as the Rookie of the Year award! The top three spots went to Elena, Kelly and Ellery so that was super cool too.

After the girls were finished we started our practice session. The flat bottom of the pipe was quite soft but otherwise the pipe was on point. Practice didn't go all that well for me, I was struggling with my second hit and it was throwing off the rest of my run. First run came around and I was feeling a little unprepared because of my falls in practice. But I was able to put that all behind  me and drop in with confidence, I went Front 10 Tail, Cab 10 switch Stale, Front 12 Tail, Back 9 Mute.  I came around a little late on the Back 9 and clipped the deck, sliding down the wall on my butt. It turned out to be a throwaway run but it boosted my confidence for sure!

My second run didn't go as well either. I dropped in for the same run but went big and popped a little to much on the Cab 10 and landed low. I was unable to handle the compression and skidded out. By the time my third run came around I was pretty anxious to land a run. One of my coaches, Spencer Tamblyn, suggested that I might dial the amplitude back and just try to nail my run. I decided though that since it was the US Open I was just gonna go all out! I dropped in for my final run and went pretty big with a Front 10 - Cab 10 - Front 12 - Back 9 and rode out of the pipe very happy!

I didn't know what kinda scores I would get but I was just excited to have set my run down the way I wanted! My scores came in big and put me right behind Shaun in second place! I now had to play the waiting game and hope the remaining nine riders didn't  bump me off the podium.  Hitsch (Christian Haller) put down a solid run but it only got him to third place. I was still sitting in second place with three riders left to drop, Louie put down his final run and moved into second bumping me down to third. Taku Hiraoka was the only rider left who could change up the podium, he went down on a frontside double 10 attempt and then I knew I had third place!  The next two hours were filled with award presentations, interviews and pictures. I was so stoked to have landed on the podium at the US Open in my home state in with my family and friends present.

I celebrated later that night with some of my best friends and went to a super sick concert featuring MethodMan and RedMan from Wu-Tang clan! I got about two hours of marginal sleep, packed up my stuff and drove down to Boston early the next morning for my flight to France and European X Games.

Here are some pictures from US Open!

Go BenjiTwo friends, Two Fans, Hannah Burwell, Brooke Shaw and the awesome sign they made me!

US Open PodiumStanding on the podium with two riders I have always looked up to! Shaun and Louie.

methodmanMethodMan and RedMan raising the roof in Stratton.


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