Aaron Rathy and Bret Little tamed the rail, Tino Santori tamed the Mechanical Bull in Texas Showdown
Several top pro and local riders gathered at the boat show at Dallas Market Hall on Saturday afternoon for a meet and greet with local water sports fans. They also went head-to-head with some of the local crowd playing Shaun Murray's Wakeboarding Unleashed video game. The top scoring fan took home an Omega Wakeboard and bindings - courtesy of Liquid Force.
At 6:00pm, the riders all headed a few minutes down the road to Gilley's to participate in the rail jam, followed by a round of bull-riding on Gilley's legendary mechanical bull. The rail jam kicked-off at around 7:30pm and although there was a chill in the air, it was at least 20 degrees warmer then last years winter freeze that left ice on the rail. The pool and rail set-up, provided by Dallas based Ridin Rails, was much larger for 2007 and included a new thirty-five foot monster rail that towered five feet above the slider platform and a good eight feet off the ground. The set-up also included a thirty-five foot kinked rail.
Thirteen riders prepared to brave the cold temperatures, ten wakeboarders and four wakeskaters (Rathy competed in both wakeboard and wakeskate), for a shot at the custom Lucky Devil "Best Trick" trophies and a share of the $1500 in prize money provided by local Malibu dealer, Waterski America. It was a party atmosphere as the crowd gathered under the heaters on two huge balconies overlooking the pools/rails. The Red Bull DJ kept the tunes pumping, the beverages were flowing and pro tour announcer Dano-the-Mano joined TWT regular Justin Keifer as they prepared to call the action.
First up were the wakeboarders who were split into two heats of five riders each with the top two advancing to the final round. Heat #1 featured Malibu Pro Team rider Chad Sharpe and Liquid Force Pro and 2006 "King of Wake" Champion - Tino Santori. They were joined by local riders Dustin Shows, Danny Sherrill and Joe Lemberg. Sharpe attacked...and slayed...the big rail on his first pull to make it through to the finals. Santori also advanced with a smooth Board Slide Back Lip to 270 out.
Heat #2 featured Orlando based Pro Aaron Rathy, Tom Fooshee and Kyle Reed out of Austin Texas, plus 2006 Texas Wakeboard Tour Champion Andrew Dyrhood from Springdale Arkansas and 2006 WWA World Champion Andrew Adkison...both representing for CWB Wakeboards. Like Sharpe, Rathy went straight for the tall rail and got one clean hit that advanced him to the finals. The Andrews, Dyrhood and Adkison, both did FS Board Slides to 270 out, but the judges nod went to Adkison.
Before the wakeboard finals, it was time for the wakeskaters to show their skills. There were four riders competing and they were led off the starting platform by three time Texas Wakeboard Tour Wakeskate Champ, Richie McKee. McKee was joined by Liquid Force Pro Team rider Danny Hampson, South Texas ripper Bret Little and trading in his wakeboard for a skate...dual sport competitor Aaron Rathy. It was a straight shoot-out format with each riders getting three attempts to land the best trick and collect $500 and the Lucky Devil "Best Trick" trophy. Only two of them landed and rode away clean and it was Bret Little's Back BS to Front BS over the entire 35 foot rail that took the win.
The wakeboard finals started just after 9:00pm and it was an all-star round featuring Chad Sharpe, Tino Santori, Aaron Rathy and Andrew Adkison. Each rider had two attempts to lay down the best trick. The crazy canucks, Sharpe and Rathy, continued to attack the tall rail, muscling through some slower then ideal winch pulls. Tino and Andrew both preferred to get technical on the lower kinked rail. Everything's bigger in Texas and in the end, it was the hits on big rail that impressed the judges the most. Chad and Aaron both did Front Board Back Lip to FS 180 out landing clean...but the judges felt that Rathy was a little cleaner and awarded him the win. Rathy received the Boardshorts, Bulls and Bikini's custom trophy from Lucky Devil Designs and a check for $750 courtesy of Waterski America.
Local rider, Joe Lemberg picked up the "Best Trick off the Kicker" award for his 540 spin landed in Heat #1. He received a complete car audio system courtesy of Kicker Audio.
After the rail jamming...the crowd all headed inside Gilley's to watch some of the riders compete on the mechanical bull. Six competed, including last years bull-riding winner Chad Sharpe, but it was Tino Santori's cat like reflexes that had him staying on for 39 seconds, edging out Sharpe for the custom "Top Bull-Rider" trophy and a check for $250 courtesy of Waterski America.
Missing from last years event due to lack of participants, was the "Bikini" part of Boardshorts, Bulls and Bikini's...but this year the How's About a Beer.com Bikini Bull-Riding Team saved the evening. Six lovely ladies tamed the beast and fired up the cheering crowd, a great recap to another great wakeboard party...Texas Style!
Presented by Malibu Boats, the 2nd annual Boardshorts, Bulls and Bikini's was also backed by Liquid Force Wakeboards, Spy Optic, TBKS, Straight Line, CWB Wakeboards, Kicker Audio, H20 Clothing and local Malibu Dealer - Water Ski America. Media partners include Alliance Wakeboard Magazine, Wakeboarding Magazine, The Dallas Observer, 105.3 Free FM and Fuel TV.