2009 FBM Brawlin' At The Belmar

This past weekend, FBM Bikes held their third and final Brawlin' at the Belmar contest in Binghamton, NY. For 2009, the contest was pushed back to September, and as far as the weather was concerned, the third time was the charm in avoiding torrential rain that has plagued past events. You couldn't have hoped for a nicer weekend, and trail riders from all over the East Coast made their pilgrimage to the Belmar to witness the end of the clay and booze-fueled series.

The amateur portion of the comp is always brutal, yet hilarious to watch. Mainly because at least half of the entrants have no chance of clearing the 20ft+ gap. This year was particularly harsh, as there were 20 riders entered, and by the last jump of the day, only 14 riders remained. Injuries included broken feet, broken collarbones, concussions, and likely some compressed spines due to ass-sliding down the 8ft landing. Binghamton local Kyle Hibbard was the first rider of the day to clear the massive double, and was one of the only amateurs tricking every run. When the dust settled, Hibbard left the Belmar with a trip to Woodward and a huge bag of prizes, thanks to the multitude of sponsors solicited by the FBM staff.

The pro competition was filled with a lot of familiar names from past contests, most notably former winners Brian Foster and Chris Doyle. Last year's am champion, Ryan Wert, rode most of the comp in nothing but boxer briefs while smoking a cigarette. He definitely aired higher than everyone else, and also jumped a death gap after the double, landing in a small brush-laden area between two fences. FBM rider Kie Ashworth came over from Australia to 3-whip his way into the top 5, joining 17-year old Adam Guilliams and United's Geoff Slattery. It was a battle of past champions for the top slot. However, Doyle beat out BF with combinations like tuck no-handers to turndown and cliiiiicked 360 inverts.

As entertaining as the contest was, the crowd itself is one of the main draws of the Brawlin' at the Belmar series, and this year's constituents were no exception. Strewn throughout the masses were a couple wearing matching Metallica shirts, "Blue" from Old School fame, a trio of very attractive Red Bull girls, and my personal favorite, "Super Bad Brad." Brad is a street performer from New York City who has migrated north to the Appalachian wonderland of Binghamton, and he wandered over to the Belmar comp to serenade the crowd with songs such as "Kung Fu Fighting", "Anarchy in the UK" and an assortment of AM radio hits from the '70s. I suppose sights like these were ample enough incentive for the crew of Accelerate to film exterior shots throughout the day. Accelerate is BMX-rider turned director Eric Bugbee's attempt to create Rad for a new generation. Terrible One's own Joel Moody is the star, and he hates it when you call him Zac Efron.

With that, the Belmar contests are no more. Special thanks to Dennis and all the Belmar staff, who've dealt with crazy BMX riders invading their town for the past decade, all with beers in hand and a smile on their faces.