The Toyota Athlete of the Year (TAOTY) award returns to the Dew Tour in an effort to highlight riders from the various events who are clearly out here to do more than ride, but to progress their sport! Wondering how we will make the selection? Well, we only play a small part in it the big decision is up to you, the fans. Here is a quick breakdown of how we chose the initial athletes, but after that the rest it on you to pick the athlete that is most deserving.
Every sport has athletes who perform staple tricks at each contest, but there are also athletes who go to each event to push their riding – and their sport – as far as possible. The Toyota Athlete of the Year program will focus on the athletes who are elevating their sport by pushing their riding with progressive runs and tricks, and providing amazing and inspiring moments for their fellow athletes and fans.
After each event final, Dew Tour Judges will nominate the most progressive rider in each discipline. The athlete nomine runs/tricks are then edited into a piece for online voting. The athletes who receives the most online votes after each event is awarded a $2,500 prize on behalf of Toyota, and is then eligible to win Toyota Athlete of the Year. After the third and final event in Breckenridge, the three athletes, and video of their progressive riding from the Dew Tour, will be subject to a panel of industry judges who will determine which is the official Toyota Athlete of the Year.
The Winning athlete will be awarded $25,000 on behalf of Toyota.
So, with that mouthful out of the way, you are probably wondering which athletes the judges picked from the Dew Tour Beach Championships in Ocean City, Maryland. More than simply who they picked, you are probably interested to know exactly why. Well, wonder no more and read below… Then, cast your vote!
Jamie Bestwick is the best when it comes to BMX Vert, sorry he just is! At the wine-ripe age of 40, Bestwick is still out there winning Vert events everywhere nearly uncontested and still pushing for progression. After he was already named the victor this year on the ramp, he went out for a victory lap and hucked an insane frontflip flair… simply because he could! If that doesn't deserve a vote, what does?
Garrett Hill is a street skater through and though. He has always been one to skate with grace, but not afraid to get gritty to get the job done. In years past Hill has been on the best trick scene with a 360 flip that he often looks to lock into a grind. Well, with Hills great style and his 360 flip 5-0 that earned him the Best Trick award from the street session, Hill has been nominated to take all – but only if your votes agree!
Drew Bezanson is unlike the rest riding BMX. He always has the most unique take to any park he enters. Did you see his recent edit from Joyride 150? Better yet, did you see him all over the BMX Park event at Dew Tour where he manuled the top of the wallride? This guy is no run of the mill man on wheels. Maybe it is because he has a background in motocross and he is simply not afraid to go faster than the rest to make the unimaginable look simple. Bezanson is definitely a favorite to take all, but only if your votes take him there.
Jimmy Wilkins is without a doubt an upcoming star of Skate Vert. If you didn't see the Vert event as it unfolded you will want to take a few minutes and give it a watch, and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the HUGE, yet fresh new style that Wilkins brought to the ramp. Where most of the other guys were doing the same thing they always do, Wilkins went bigger with beauty and wasn't afraid to break out of the norm. If you agree be sure to express it with a vote!
Dan Lacey is one of a kind. More technical than anyone in his game that hits handrails. Lacey came to the BMX Street Session at the Dew Tour Beach Championships and threw down video part bangers in a best trick scenario, and he did it with ease. When there is a guy throwing nose pick to over tooth down a semi short 9-stair handrail, and then backs it up with a backward grind to over tooth… It's hard to be surprised that he won both Overall and Best Trick. Lacey is surely changing the game in BMX when it comes to the streets. Is that enough, though, to win your vote for the 2013 TOATY?
Mr. Mike McGill is no stranger to getting technical on the transitions. He invented one of the most progressive and inspiring tricks in skateboarding that has crossed over to other sports due to the sheer style that comes with the craziness – fortunately for him he named it after himself and has forever left his mark on the world of action sports. That's right, the McTwist is named after McGill and everyone was quite surprised when he whipped it out for the masses in the Skate Bowl Legends event. We already know his Bones Brigade crew will be voting for him to win. Will you?