STOWE REPORTER, RYAN THIBAULT
September 1, 2011

To all who attended the showdown, Vermont's first-ever mountain-bike photo competition, we totaled over 150 people. What a stellar outpouring of support for a first-year event. Thank you, my friends.

I am so proud of the photographers. Aaron, Bear, Berne, Justin, and Matty went far beyond what I imagined possible. Congratulations to Bear Cieri for his first-place finish and to Berne Broudy for her close second. You truly captured the essence of bike culture in the Green Mountains. In addition, thanks to Justin Schroth, Ben Haulenbeek and Henry Miles for their awe-inspiring video contributions.

I would also like to thank Sam von Trapp and Trapp Family Lodge for their hospitality. The wedding tent was the perfect location for the union of photography and biking. We could not have found a more beautiful and inviting trailside location. You guys made us feel like family.

None of this would have been possible without the Stowe Mountain Bike Club. With Rick Sokoloff at the helm, the club played a huge role in the event's orchestration. And thanks for staying late to break down. You guys rock!

A huge debt of gratitude goes out to Patrick Kell. He was one of the first to endorse the idea of an event like this. I thank you for your tireless efforts on behalf of the entire riding community. In a short time, we have been able to enjoy many of the tasty fruits of your labor (in single track form). Thanks for leading the peloton and letting the rest of us draft off your momentum.

Last but not least, I would like to extend a momentous thank-you to all of our sponsors — Peter and Heather of PocketWizard, Karl at Thule, Dana at Giant Bicycles, Tom at Darn Tough, Alicia and Kyle at Nativeyewear, Sky and Tristan at Vermont Sports, Biddle at the Stowe Reporter, Cabot, FOTW, Killington, Sugarbush, Burke, Kingdom Trails, the Highland crew, Matt and Julie at Great Big Graphics (the trophies were amazing), DJ Rekkon, Neil, Yoga West, Stowe Kitchen Bath and Linens, Vermont Peanut Butter, The Skiershop, AJ's, and the ever-energizing Skye and Meg of Mocean Mate. Oh, and Citi Bank Mastercard. And my dearest Amber. Thank you all for your support. You guys are the pillar on which the showdown stood.

At this point, I think I hear the music rolling and the hook being propped to pull me off stage. Again, you guys are amazing. Next year, prepare for the evolution — more eye candy, more friends, more miles of trail, and cheaper beers, I promise!

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