Fans lined the shores of Freeman Lake Park today to catch the final rounds of action at the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour stop in Elizabethtown, Ky. Riders in the Pro Men and Jr. Pro Men’s division spent the day battling it out on the water behind the MasterCraft X-Star in hopes of winning the third stop of the 2010 season.
The pros kicked off the day with their quarterfinals, where 20 riders hit the water in five heats of four to battle for a spot in the semifinal round. Only the top two pros from each heat advanced, cutting the field of competition in half and creating some massive upsets in the process. Top-seeded riders Rusty Malinoski (#2), Austin Hair (#4) and Danny Harf (#5) all failed to advance past the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, all eyes were on Bryan Hutton to see if the Kentucky native would advance to the Pro Men finals on his hometown waters, but fell short, placing fourth in his heat. Only the top three riders from each of the two heats advanced onto the six-man final.
The last round of action pinned Keith Lyman, Kyle Rattray, Jimmy LaRiche, Harley Clifford, Bob and Phillip Soven against each other for one of the most unique finals in history. Not only did today’s finals pin two brother against each, but half the finalists were making their first-ever appearance in a Pro Tour final.
“This has to be one of the most interesting finals I’ve ever seen,” said veteran pro rider Andrew Adkison. “I’ve probably competed in 15 pro contests a year, for nearly the past 10 years, and this is the most intense final I’ve watched in a long time.”
All eyes were on Phillip Soven, the top-seeded rider of the contest and 2009 Elizabethtown Tour stop winner, but 16-year-old Aussie phenom Harley Clifford stole the show and won the event. Clifford’s impressive Nose Grab Back Mobe 540 and massive Heelside 900 elevated the defending Pro Tour titlist to the top of the contest podium. Phillip and Bob Soven rounded out the podium, respectively.
“I didn’t do so well at the last Tour stop, so I knew I needed to step up at this contest,” said Clifford. “It was an intense final for sure, but I laid down my run and took the win. I’m stoked!”
Clifford now sits in second place overall in the standings at 260 points, while Phillip Soven remains in the lead with 270 points.
Following the Pro Men’s finals today, the Pro Tour went right into the Indmar Double Up contest, where the Trevor Hansen was declared the winner after sticking his Double Back Role off the double up.
Next, the Pro Tour hosted its Rockstar Energy Drink Big-Air Challenge, where Aussie Dean Smith took top honors with his massive Hoochie Glide to Backside 360.
Hansen and Smith each took home $1,000 for winning their respective events.
In the Jr. Pro Men’s division, 10 top amateur rippers hit the water in two heats of five for their semifinal round of action. With only the top two riders from each heat advancing, the field of riders was quickly narrowed down to Steel Lafferty, Daniel Powers, Raphael Derome and current Tour leader Nick Galotifore for the four-man final.
All four rippers laid down some serious runs, but Derome’s Heel 9 off the double up helped the Quebec native rise above the competition to win his first Jr. Pro Tour stop. Lafferty and Galotifore rounded out the Jr. Pro Men’s podium, respectively.
“It’s awesome!” said Derome. “You work hard, plan out your run and to see it all pay off just feels great.”
Derome’s win now places him fourth overall in the standings with 213 points. Nick Galotifore remains the Tour leader with 280 points.
With Elizabethtown all wrapped up, the MasterCraft Pro Wakeboard Tour now heads to Colorado Springs, Colo., on July 23 & 24, for the fourth stop of 2010 season. Additional venues for the Pro Tour include Knoxville, Tenn., Acworth, Ga. and Fort Worth, Tex.
To catch all the high-flying, rail-sliding, water-sports action of the Elizabethtown Pro Tour stop on television, tune in to FUEL TV on Aug. 17 at 8 p.m. EST.
1. Harley Clifford 90.00
2. Phillip Soven 85.83
3. Bob Soven 82.67
4. Kyle Rattray 78.33
5. Jimmy LaRiche 70.00
6. Keith Lyman 56.67
Jr. Pro Men
1. Raphael Derome 91.50
2. Steel Lafferty 90.75
3. Nick Galotifore 80.00
4. Daniel Powers 77.75