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A full on barnburner went down in Portland at the Vans Invitational. The course was a no-nonsense, 4 ramp set-up and the contest turned into a big air exhibition with all the crazy tricks packed into each riders' 60 second run. Finals came right on the heels of a heated Prelims, as the contests were run back to back with a short breather in between. Adam Jones sailed into Finals on a high note and a first place finish in Prelims.
At X, Adam Jones bested Nate Adams, but Nate's broken finger was a legit excuse if he ever wanted to claim one. Here at the Vans Invitational everyone was playing with a full deck. Mike Mason was well on his way to setting the gold standard for a podium spot when he dislocated his knee on a cliffhanger. Mason quickly exited the course and got busy with the ice packs- this contest wasn't over yet.
Through the run order, guys like Dustin Miller and Wiley Fullmer set the standard and then hometown hero, Beau Bamburg, raised the bar. Beau came out like a Portland Trail Blazer wearing flaming orange gear as he stomped the leader board with tricks like the Cordova flip and huge backflips combos. It would withstand a runs from Twitch and Lusk run but Nate Adams would eventually best Bamburg's score with super clean tricks like the flip nac-nac to heel clicker, a backflip cliffhanger and a lazy-boy backflip.
But for once Nate wasn't the top qualifier and Adam Jones was ready and waiting to repeat his stellar prelims run. Busting out his signature Stripper flip, Shaolin flip and a surprise cliffhanger flip- a trick only one other rider does on the 75-footer. Adam Jones pushed his way to the top but everyone got a second chance and Mike Mason was still a wildcard set to show is card in the second round.
Mason came back on his second run and put up a 3rd place score that included the cliffhanger that popped his knee out of place 20 minutes prior along with his usual repertoire of technical tricks and a backflip heel clicker. Bamburg had another shot at the podium with the crowd backing his every move but a mistaken no footed backflip was the mix up that left him empty handed. That didn't stop him from rushing towards the grand stands for some high fives with the fans.
So for once it was Nate Adams sitting in the pressure cooker. The heat was on and he'd busted out all his big tricks and was still sitting in second place. Trying to up the difficulty level he repeated his first run but tried to integrate two no-hander landers into his run but they ended up being less effective on the short jumps and another 360 nac-nac attempt didn't get as inverted as his usual outdoor 360s.
Adam Jones was locked and ready to defend a high score from Nate but when the points were totaled Jones was uncontested as having the best run and staked a personal best with his first Dew Tour win.
Deciding that he was running short on whatever luck he had, Jones did a couple fist pump victory laps and circled into the pits to climb to the top of the podium. Judging by his run, it won't be the last time Adam Jones is seen with a first place trophy in his hand.