By Nick Lipton – What a prelim! Hometown heroes Adam Dyet and Christian Sereika entered the contest with a crazy fan club, as the 21 other prelim Park skaters battled for nine spots left in the finals. Blood, bandages, and even puke filled the EngergySolutions stadium in an all-out slaughter fest' that ended with style-king Greg Lutzka sitting comfortably in first. Point leaders Chaz Ortiz, Chris Cole, and Ryan Decenzo probably had a hard time watching as this prelim brought out the devil in some of these skaters.
The first two heats were wild. Dave Bachinsky, the shining star of heat one, pulled nollie tricks, transfers, and a slew of blunt and tail slides out of his deep pockets. Unfortunately no one from that round will be skating on Saturday. The second heat gave birth to a finalist though. Nick Dompierre, the 9th place finisher, showed his tech skills with flip-in flip-out magic and a huge frontside flip. One of two hometown heroes, Christian Sereika, skated well, but couldn't put up big enough numbers to get into the finals.
The abdomen of this prelim, heats three and four, were more successful, and extremely entertaining. The Brazilian metalhead, Rodolfo Ramos, put up big numbers by skating like the world was on fire. Constant speed and huge air kept Rodolfo gunning around the park avoiding the tech and focusing more on huge slides and flip tricks at speeds that shatter bones. Once Rodolfo finished his onslaught, heat four began, and man did it entertain.
Greg Lutzka, Kurtis Colamonico, and local media sensation Adam Dyet all rode in this heat, and all placed in the finals. Lutzka did what Lutzka does: With his trademark full brimmed hat and relaxed style Lutzka 270'd onto the biggest downbars, flipped into and out of this and that, and landed a massive frontside flip over the stair set. Kurtis Colamonico, the tattooed terror from Long Beach, put down a few solid tricks, the most impressive being a gap backtail to fakie. In all honesty though, Dyet stole the show. The kid has been in the local papers all week idolized as Salt Lake's gift to skateboarding. All that attention made it even funnier when Dyet spent two full minutes of his heat vomiting over the fence of the Park course. That's Dyet though, and once he had emptied his stomach, he dropped back in and landed back to back to back tricks. Backside 360's, 270's onto rails, a kickflip frontboard, and a seriously huge kickflip indy were just a few of the bangers Dyet dropped for his friends and family.
After the 4th heat, the last leg of the prelim began. Heat five was not dominated, but owned by Carlos De Andrade. Being the compact individual Carlos is, he threw bangers for the entire heat, even when the other three skaters, all of which were around ten years younger than him, began to show their fatigue. Austen Seaholm was also in this heat, but the poor kid got the boot to the tenth spot and will have to watch Saturday's final.
Fans roared during the heat six count down, and of course they did, Paul Rodriguez was about to drop. P-Rod proved himself, throwing more switch tricks than regular and landing in the most hectic situations. Second place finisher Tyler Hendley agreed, "Everything he does switch I can't even do regular!" But Tyler has nothing to complain about, he placed second. In the last few minutes of his heat the seas parted, and Tyler landed trick after trick with more air and style than he has all summer. A huge 360 flip down the set, a bigger backside flip, and a few other hammers poured out of Tyler in a flurry of talent and luck. After being surprised by his 2nd place finish tyler was a hot sweaty mess, "I'm gunna' go take a nap, hopefully do this again Saturday." But when it sank in that he actually placed second Tyler got giddy, "My mom is going to cry! She can't change the locks now!"
The final heat was pretty impressive, not only did P-Rod and Tyler place, but Milton Martinez also snuck into the finals. These nine riders will now have a day to hangout and relax before being thrown to the wolves in one of the most competitive finals of the summer. Good luck boys.