By Mike Reid, Tournament Director
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For me, the tournament started with Laerbs arriving just in time to ski 18"+ at Targhee on Wednesday. That was the beginning of jammer play time. By Friday night, there were blizzard conditions, forcing half of the participants to change their plans to get into the Hole at a reasonable time. Saturday morning, we set plans to moonlight hot spring in some natural springs in Yellowstone. It was an incredibly clear day after a pounding blizzard, so while some jammers skied Jackson Hole resort, I took a crew out to Teton National park. No matter where you were, the views were out and awe inspiring. You can find the play-by-play under results, so I won't bore you with the awesome Saturday afternoon jams that happened--suffice it to say we were out of the gym by 9pm and on our way to dinner. One thing about Jackson is, the clearer it is, the colder it gets. At dinner, the hot springers opted for indoor fun instead of outdoor freeze(-13 F), so the party broke up, with half going to the Hostel at the base of the ski area, and the other half coming back to my house for swill trek (old star trek only!!). Vulcan Pinch, drink six. Kirk runs, drink four. Captain's log, drink 1. The episode: Miri. Bonk bonk on the head..bonk bonk!! Which appropriately brings us to Sunday morning headaches.
Breakfast at Nora's, snowshoeing, skiing, and plans for moonlight tobogganing highlighted a chilly Sunday morning. Moose, elk, fox and deer were sighted by roving jammers as everybody had their own brand of fun before the finals. Although the relaxed vibe continued, you could tell that today was the finals. People came to shred, and win.
The mixed division was solid, but a little light with only two teams. Dave and Anne played mostly spon-hein, reaping both the shredbenefits and the incrumbsistency characteristic of that style. Randy and Lisa had a nice routine, wowing the crowd with their seamless play.
In open, the Airhead reunion came out and set the shred or die vibe, and every team answered their call with sick play! Jim Terhorst had jammed 3 times in ten years, skied hard for four days, sunburned, overworked, and his partner had torn his medial collateral ligament less than a week earlier. Do you think any of that affected him? The guy was Mr. Smoothenseal. And of course, as usual Larry overcame recent knee surgery and injury (both knees hurt) and looked like the all star he is.
Rick Castiglia and Dani Myers followed with toe jams, motion and roll co-ops, and lots of big individual moves. Rick hit some obscure and fun combos, and Toe Jam Man brought out some equally crusty gnast (the gnasty) to amaze the snowbound masses.
Rob Fried and Jamie went the full gauntlet. In the beginning, Rob took about 23 counter throws in a row before receiving the come out of your crumb clock z throw. If I had a heli throw like Jamie's, I'd probably want to throw it every time, too. Unfortunately, this was the finals, and the Airheads had already proved it would take a full routine shred to beat them. With some pressure off, these guys calmed down and put on a great show of New York freestyle, both guys pulling serious and crusty combos. We had to shovel the crust off the floor after the routine it was so thick.
Tommy Leitner and John Andre put on the Dead and jammed. Trying to match their Saturday performance, everything started out great. John whipped out moves I didn't even know he had (for the second day in a row) and Tom...Tommy! How many skids and double spinning seals do you know? These guys consistency kept them out of contention, but the combos they completed were magical.
Which brought out the final routine of the day. Dave "Chillz" Schiller and Randy "Randoman" Silvey had the show. The double disc work was clean and interesting, and the co-ops were difficult and intricate. The overall quality of their show was enough to overcome some execution difficulties as they edged the Airhead reunion by 0.1.
The biggest surprise for me were the execution scores. In every routine that had fewer than 34 exchanges (all but 2), a drop counted much more than 0.3. The highest X score was 7.5 (finals-Airheads). The lowest score was 4.6, ironically scored by Tommy/John Andre who had the highest execution the previous day and were the only team to have more than 34 exchanges in each round. Execution was more important in that a drop was worth up to 0.7 for some teams, but less important as well because the scores were more in balance with the other categories. Here are the raw scores from the semis for your analysis:
Larry/Jim 11/16 - 0.2=6.675 Mikey, 8.5 FPA, C-H Jonathan
Tommy/John 28/36 - 0.6=7.177 7.0, H-O
Rick/Dani 18/28 - 0.3=6.12, 6.7, C-B-H
Jaimie/Rob 17/23 - 0.1=7.29, 8.1, G-C
Randy/Dave 22/30 - 0.4=6.93, 7.2, F-H
Dave/Anne 19/29 - 0.5=6.05, 6.5, E
Randy/Lisa 16/24 - 0.1=6.56 7.5, I
Jonathan's experimental letter scoring: S=Spaunch, O=Obscure, H=Hein, B=Boosh, G=gnarly, F=fresh, C=crusty, U=unheard of, E=exciting, I=Incredible
I personally judged risk, which had a range of 5.0-7.6 in the semis, and 6.1-7.6 in the finals. Interestingly, Dave/Randy scored exactly 7.6 on both days, the highest risk scores of the tournament. This score reflects both risk and consistency. Consistency is taken into account by awarding 0 for throwaways and 1 or 2's for early self-crumbs (drops). It takes very few low scores to drag a very good score down. Overall, the scores seemed slightly higher than usual and it was my experience that it was easier to give 5's than 10's. The 0-5 scale is simple and easy to use. There is less to think about, so you can spend more time concentrating on the routine. It seems natural to award a score based on a phrase, at the time of spin termination, at a natural break.
Z judged Vibe. I can't think of a more qualified judge for this category. Scores were high, teams got separated, and generally this seemed to work out well. I give Z all the credit for a great job.
And finally:paid judging. Can anyone say that this isn't the best system if it was widely available? Who wouldn't like to just compete and jam, rather than have those added responsibilities of judging?
The tournament ran smoother and faster and with less hassle than previously imaginable. As a judge, I got to jam plenty over the weekend with no performance stress. Players had only one thing to focus on - the performance.
The bottom line is, would it be worth an extra $10 in entry fee to you, the player, to not have to judge? Not only that, to have a paid, qualified, experienced judge at the table instead of a competitor?
Here are the final results:
X V R Total
Dave/Anne 4.9 7 5.5 17.4
Randy/Lisa 7.3 8 6.1 21.4
Laerbs/Jim 7.5 8.5 7.2 23.2
Rick/Dani 6.9 8.0 6.9 21.8
Rob/Jaimie 6.5 7.0 6.1 19.6
Tommy/John 4.6 7.0 6.7 18.3
Randy/Dave 6.7 9.0 7.6 23.3
Overall, this event lived up to what I had hoped it would be: a fun, play oriented shredfest. Looking back, I still wonder if one could call the event a tournament, but the results and photos are enduring proof of the competition. Thanks again to every jammer who was here, and we'll see everybody next year indoors at the outdoor fun capital of the Rockies, Jackson Hole.