Snowmobiler thrills crowd with flip

Chase Burbridge of Grand Junction flies over one of the ramps at the Mesa County Fairgrounds

The landing wasn’t quite right, but Sam Rogers figured he’d give it a shot anyway.

The 20-year-old snowmobile freestyler decided the crowd wanted a backflip, so he gave them a backflip Saturday night during the Warrior Freestyle Sleds vs. Bikes event at the Mesa County Fairgrounds.

“I wasn’t thinking about it at first,” Rogers said. “It felt good. The sled opened up and I got the rpms I was looking for.”

Rogers nailed two backflips just before intermission, sending the nearly packed house into a frenzy.

“(The promoters) wanted one of us to do it,” fellow snowmobile freestyler Justin Hoyer said.

“ We were struggling with the setup a bit. It was still not right when it was time to start. We looked at each other, ‘Do you want to do it?’ It came down to rock, paper, scissors. I’m glad he did it.”

Hoyer and Rogers competed in the Winter X Games last weekend in Aspen. Hoyer won his first X Games medal, taking home a silver in the snowmobile freestyle. Rogers placed sixth in the same event.

They snowmobile riders competed against three local motorcycle freestylists, Chase Burbridge, Hal Strauss and Toby Whittington, in Saturday’s rare event put on by Warrior Promotions, which is based in Grand Junction.

“It’s tough for (the snowmobilers) on dirt than snow,” Josh McCollum of Warrior Promotions said. “It’s a lot rougher on dirt.”

The snowmobilers jumped off a 70-foot ramp and the motorcyclists jumped off ramps of 50, 70 and 95 feet, McCollum said.

“It was definitely a challenge,” Strauss said of his first ‘Sleds vs. Bikes’ event. “ I don’t think they can do as big of tricks as us, but this is definitely historical.

“I hope the crowd had a great time and talk about it for weeks.”

The freestylers did tricks such as the cordova, stripper, superman seat grab, 9 o’clock nac nac, 9 o’clock Indian air, tsunamis and the kiss of death.

The riders bring their feet up underneath the bars, press their knees to chest and contort their back to look upside down to execute a cordova. The stripper is a one-footed cordova, with one foot extending over the handle bars.

For the superman seat grab, the rider puts one hand on the handle bars and the other on the seat, extending legs horizontally.

The 9 o’clock nac nac is when the rider moves his body to the 9 o’clock position, extending outwards from the bike or snowmobile. In the 9 o’clock Indian air, the rider executes the 9 o’clock nac nac, then does a scissor kick with the legs.

The tsunami is when the rider moves the bike/snowmobile vertically, then curves their legs over, resembling a tsunami. The kiss of death (KOD) is when the rider moves his head toward the front fender as if to kiss it while bringing their legs upwards from the bike.


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