posted by dpm on 05/16/2011
The Dominion Riverrock Sports Festival braved on through a grim weather forecast of rain. The event was held in the heart of Richmond, VA on Brown’s Island in the James River. It featured musical entertainment and extreme sporting events such as BMX freestyle, a 3K mud run, Ultimate Air Dog, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, mountain biking and now, thanks to Brent Quesenberry of Peak Experiences, a spectacular bouldering event.
Alex David Johnson on Qualifier 1. All photos: DPM/Matt Stark
The wall presented at Dominion Riverrock, by Blue Ridge Mountain Sports, was arguably the most unique bouldering wall ever constructed. It consisted of metal framework and oversized volumes overhanging 30 feet. Atop the structure was a VIP viewing area and lounge giving a 360 degree perspective of the festival’s events.
Friday’s preliminary round featured two routes that navigated the overhanging monstrosity in front of a huge crowd. The festival drew an estimated 20,000 people for the two day event and a large number of those spectators stood gawking at the geometric structure in awe, as climbers dangled from its parts. Incredibly, the hot dogging BMX riders adjacent the bouldering wall could not turn the crowd’s attention from the bouldering event.
Angie Payne in Semi-Finals
On the music stage were Josati and Big Gigantic, providing a fevered pitch of music to pump up the climbers as they ascended the wall. Ryan Banister, aka “Chuck Bronco,” worked the crowd with an early high point on problem two taking the time to face the crowd, rock his head with an, “Oh Yeah!!” before falling two moves later. His attitude and fist pumping energy was refreshing and the crowd loved it. Ryan was among ten men invited to compete in the event. Paul Robinson, Daniel Woods, Alex David Johnson, Matt Bosley, Zach Lerner, Ryan Scurfield, Griffin Whiteside and Matt Londrey rounded out the rest of the field. Eight women were in attendance led by Sasha DiGiulian and Angie Payne in the first heat. Charlotte Bosley, Leanna Lockhart, Kati Peters, Courtney Sanders, Taylor Nystrom and Melani Meinhart also battled to beat the pump while dangling through the odd structure.
Courtney Sanders in Semi-Finals
Only eight of the men and women invited to compete in the preliminary round would go on to climb in Saturday’s semi-final round. That field was then cut to six in the final round on the same day. Unfortunately, after semi-finals, the finals were abruptly cancelled as a lightning storm entered the area, bringing heavy wind and rain with it. Some of the competitors opted to change their plane flights home in order to have another chance to climb on this amazing structure Sunday morning. Although Sunday’s forecast was bleak, the rains held long enough for the show to continue, albeit without the huge crowd that had assembled Saturday evening. Those that did attend bore witness to the endurance and fitness of Sasha Digiulian, who gave impressive flashes on all four of her routes/boulder problems. Fellow Mad Rock athlete Zach Lerner took top honors in men’s.
Daniel Woods and Zach Lerner during qualifiers.
Ryan Banister hamming it up on qualifier 2.
Sasha Digiulian on qualifier 2.