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Red Bull Rampage: Boise State students saw the rampage

Red Bull Rampage is an annual event where professional mountain bikers take the plunge down some of the roughest mountain terrains in the country.

PHOTO COURTESY JESSE MURPHY FOR RED BULL Mountain bike competitor Michal Marosi races out of the starting gate during the Mountainbike Freeride/Slopestyle competition at the Red Bull Rampage October 3 in Utah.

Red Bull Rampage is an annual event where professional mountain bikers take the plunge down some of the roughest mountain terrains in the country.

It took place this year in Virgin, Utah, where Boise State students went along as part of Boise State Red Bull Brand, a local branch of Red Bull marketing and advertising, to volunteer for the event. Professional mountain bikers were judged based on their decision of what routes to take down the 1,500-foot mountainous terrain. Red Bull Rampage started in 2001, but was canceled after 2004 because of mountain bikers’ risky behavior. It re-opened in 2008 and has been taking place just outside Zion National Park ever since. Bikers who want to participate are allowed by invitation only.

Four Boise State students were able to get into this event thanks to Boise State Brand Manager Elyse Ballweber. She is a senior communication major.

“We began the journey piled into my teennie-tiny egg shaped Ford, and trekked to Provo, Utah where we met with the student brand managers from (Brigham Young University) and (Montana State University) and their crews,” Ballweber said. “We then headed to Virgin, Utah in an RV provided by Red Bull.”

Ballweber and her crew of BSU volunteers were amazed at the site of such a big event.

“The event site was jaw dropping,” Ballweber said. “The site was so huge and spectacular when you stepped out of the Safari Jeeps that took you into the site, you knew you had entered a creative, daring atmosphere unlike any other.”

The first day of competition, riders hoped to qualify for the main event that took place on the third day of the event. Of the 35 riders, 21 made it to the final battle. The third day was the beginning of the main event where pre-qualifiers and winners from the first day participated in the main competition. Cameron Zink, 24, from Carson City, Nev., made first place this year.

“We met the youngest rider and hung out with his parents who had Harley Davison attributes and were really cool,” Ballweber said. “You get to mingle with all the different people all the people are very fun and interesting.”

“Going into it, I was pretty unaware of what we would actually be doing,” BSU volunteer David Liddell, a junior majoring in communication, said. “ I knew that I was volunteering to carry bikes, but I’m pretty sure that is about as extreme as bike carrying could get. We hauled about 60 pounds up steep mountainous areas and hike them up vertical drop offs.”

Even with the hard work, Liddell enjoyed the experience.

“It truly was like nothing else I have seen or experienced,” Liddell said. “You get a crazy rush just from watching the riders so you can only imagine how they feel. It was something that I would definitely want to be a part of again even if next time I am just a spectator and not helping with the event.”

“Being so close to some of the world’s best freestyle mountain bikers and watching them create lines on the most rugged terrain and brutal landscape was impressive,” Ballweber said. “My favorite part was watching Cam Zink throw a 360 onto a sketchy landing spot and hitting it perfectly for the win.”