I’m probably going to sound like a total wuss when I say this, but it was cold this year at Wake the Lake. Usually, the arrival of Fall is pretty much a non-issue and it stays hot for another month or two before we really start to feel any big effects. Not the case in 2008; it got downright chilly in the days leading up to Wake the Lake and we were starting to wonder if it would affect the turnout.
Well, it didn’t.
Ever since it’s inception, Wake the Lake has grown to be one of the largest and most anticipated events in the region. The crew at Vinnie’s Raw Bar are more than gracious hosts and Lake Norman, NC is as good a spot as any to officially welcome Fall in the Mid-Atlantic. Add that to a group of people ready to take advantage of a break in lousy weather and a $2000 check to the winner of the pro division, and Wake the Lake 2008 was set to go off.
This is the time of year when people are really starting to make that final push toward the overall series title in their respective divisions. Emylee Wright threw down one of the best runs we’ve ever seen from her, taking the win in the Ladies division and inching a bit closer to the overall series championship. Gordon Harrison had another good showing and took the top spot in the standings following his victory in the Intermediate division. And wakeskater Ben Pierce came out firing once again to take his second straight CWS win in 2008.
But there were some upsets as well. Michael Sutherland put a stop to Jimmy McClure’s unprecedented dominance in the Novice division with a victory of his own. Brendan Guthrie shook up the Beginners as well, coming up with a win. And Cameron Richardson threw down an impressive run, upsetting Lake Norman hometown hero Steven Pierce in the Open division.
And then there were the Pros.
I am so glad that I was on the mic and not in the boat as a judge. It seems like we say it every contest, but this was without a doubt the best and the most difficult-to-judge Pro division we have ever seen on the CWS. Austin Hair had simply the best run we have ever seen from him. Josh Palma threw down two stand-up passes that would have easily taken first on pretty much any other day. But Adam Fields showed up and gave the most diverse, technical performance we’ve seen on the CWS thus far and was awarded first place and the $2000 prize, essentially clinching his 2008 series title.
It was a great weekend with an amazing crowd and unbelievable riding and once again the bar has been raised. Riverfest is less than a week away, though, so I wouldn’t expect the bar to stay at its current level for too long. Come out to Wilmington October 4th-5th and see the final stop on the 2008 series and the crowning of the overall series champions. Be sure to check out www.carolinawakeseries.com for more photos and complete standings.