August 21, 2022 – Stade Olympique, Montreal
For the first time since 2019, Montreal’s famed Olympic stadium played host to the Jackalope festival – an extreme sports event, that celebrated its tenth edition this year.
Each year, the Jackalope festival pools some of the best extreme sports athletes together, from around the world, to come and participate in demonstrations and competitions, and it is always the fans of these sports that reap the benefits. This year, athletes such as Elliot Sloan, Andy Anderson, TJ Rogers, Jimmy Wilkins, Jake Ilardi, Reese Nelson, Gavin Bottger, Mitcthie Brusco, Julian Gagnon and many more, took part in various disciplines throughout the weekend.
This year’s edition of the Jackalope festival has grown exponentially from years past, not just in terms of size of the grounds, but to the level of competition too – making Jackalope a bonafide international event.
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One of the more impressive guests, was Reese Nelson, who at just nine years old, was skating the immensely high Vert ramp like a seasoned veteran – and I would not be shocked to see her participating in the Olympics for years to come. When the legend himself, Tony Hawk, calls Nelson the next big thing in skateboarding, people should pay attention. Nelson isn’t just a protege on the vert ramp, but her young enthusiasm is contagious.
On Saturday night, Eliot Sloan and friends put on a demonstration that included Nelson, as the time elapsed, Nelson seemed to grow more and more confident and by the end of the night, was landing incredible tricks to raucous applause from the crowd below, and each time a cheer broke – the smile across Nelson’s face grew too.
Take a look for yourselves!
Earlier in the day, another young phenom was busy making waves on his dirt bike, making massive jumps and at just twelve years of age. Saturday saw a double showing of BMX and FMX stunt jumping, rife with front and back flips, superman jumps and hands free tricks, that were simply dazzling. And while the Motocross and BMX riders were doing their thing, ear drums were being perforated by guys pulling off ground tricks on ridiculously loud Harley Davidson’s. One of the many highlights of the weekend.
As always, the rock climbing wall drew a large gathering of onlookers, as boulderers attempted to reach the top of a wall filled with seriously challenging obstacles, and inverted angles. In front of this, was the street skateboarding circuit where riders showed their stuff, grinding rails and pulling off ground tricks. There were also a few half-pipes set up that, when not in use by the athletes, were free to be skated by members of the crowd – which is a nice touch, and a gain way to included attendees.
In the past, the base jumping events have been atop the tower of the Olympic stadium, but as history repeats, the stadium is still under ongoing repairs and the tower was deemed off-limits for the festival. Instead, a construction crane was brought in from Ottawa, which would hoist the competitors up on a platform to a height of 315 feet for them to jump off of.
On the way down, the jumpers released their parachutes and sailed over the Vans skate park, to a designated landing zone complete with a target on which to aim for. Saturday’s weather conditions were perfect for the event, as one after another, jumpers leaped towards the concrete below.
Speaking of the Vans skate park – I wonder why the bowls on offer weren’t incorporated into the event, as it would give the festival another level for the skateboarders and even if the intensity level wouldn’t hold up for the acclaimed professionals, surely it would give the younger competitors a platform. Perhaps for future events, this is something that could be taken into consideration.
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Sunday, the final day of competitions, saw several outbursts of rain – ranging from drizzle to full-on thunder showers. So much so that events were delayed or cancelled. Jackalope has often been unlucky when it comes to weather – extreme sports demand extreme conditions, I suppose.
Next year, Tribu is taking Jackalope to the Americans, with an event set to take place in Virginia Beach from June 2nd to 4th, 2023. Bringing all the aspects that are found at the Montreal events, such as demonstrations by world-renowned skateboarders, base jumping break dancing and boulderers – yet given the location, it would be expected to see some aquatic events take place as well. Surfs up!