Close to 400 people turned out Saturday for the only Midwest appearance of the 3rd Rail Jam festival at Raging Buffalo snowboard and ski park in Algonquin.
Billed as a fusion of snowboarding, hip-hop music and graffiti art, 3rd Rail is in its second year of existence and growing, according to its founder.
Contact information ( * required )
Around 150 boarders and skiers competed for cash and equipment prizes in several categories and music pounded from a van parked at the bottom of the slope.
"We are really pleased that the tour chose to stop at our facility," said Keith Duck, Raging Buffalo's owner. "It is a great opportunity to introduce more people to the sport that is drawing interest from people of all ages."
Contestants challenged the hill with various stunts and acrobatics, and many felt the music was just the right touch.
"It's a lot better with the tunes," snowboarder Scott Halverson of West Dundee said. "We come out most every weekend, but we are staying longer today because of the music."
3rd Rail founder Tim Grins said the tour is on solid financial ground with sponsor Under Armour and has grown from three stops to five this year.
"Next year we are looking at expanding to eight events, with two of them in Japan," Grins said. "Bringing the music and art is going to help draw the interest of the younger people and get them involved in snowboarding."
Grins said he believes the tour is positioned well in the outdoor sports arena and is "on the verge of breaking into the major leagues" of sports promotions.
Paul Buck won the Best of Breed competition, Cooper Slack was champion in the juniors division, Melissa Solberg took the girls division and Ben Band was the top skier.
The day was scheduled to wrapup with an after-party at Sideouts Bar and Eatery in Island Lake featuring 1980s rapper Slick Rick.