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Event Report: Portland Boulder Rally

Event Report: Portland Boulder Rally

Event Report: Portland Boulder Rally

--Event Details--
Event name: Portland Boulder Rally
Event Location: The Circuit Bouldering Gym - Tigard
Event Type: Bouldering Competition
Event Date: October 4, 2014

The 4th annual Portland Boulder Rally went down this past weekend at the Circuit Bouldering Gym’s newest location in Tigard. The Circuit transformed an old lumber yard into a giant bouldering facility that is covered with a variety of problems, a weight room, yoga studios, slacklining, and even a kids climbing area.  If you are into climbing at all, take the short trip South and check it out. The new location played a perfect host to the Rally with a bigger spectator area thanks to the 19,000+ square feet and outdoor viewing area.  

The Circuit Bouldering Gym Tigard
Panoramic shot of the giant Tigard location. Courtesy of Circuit Bouldering Gym/Rich Crowder

The Boulder Rally is a unique event in the sense that anyone can compete. There are different classes for different experience levels, and it is quite a sight to see some of the best climbers mixed in with those who may be competing for their first time. Everyone was having a blast from competitors, to spectators, and even all the volunteers. The sponsors were all set up outside and provided a cool setting with tons of samples, sneak peeks at upcoming products, and even the ability to test drive a new Subaru! The event would not have been possible without these great sponsors.

Portland Boulder Rally Sponsors
Sponsor row. Many thanks to all the great sponsors this year.

Also, big shout out to Hopworks Urban Brewery for providing the delectable beer! Next Adventure Owner Bryan was manning the beer stand and casually spreading vibes all day as old NA staffer and good friend Doug quenched the crowd’s thirst by pouring beer after beer.  The hot day and good times made the beer stand a popular spot to hang out.  Who woulda thought?

Portland Boulder Rally Hopworks Urban Brewery
Everyone had a great time hanging around the watering hole. Thanks HUB!

In between the initial climbing sessions and the finals was the giant gear raffle where many folks won some awesome gear from brands such as Mountain Hardwear, Adidas, Prana, Evolv, Mad Rock, Marmot, and much more. There was so much gear raffled that I was wishing and praying they would just throw it all into the crowd and get it over with (maybe because I didn’t buy any raffle tickets…)!

As finals approached, there was a great amount of anxiety within the enormous crowd since everyone tried to barrel their way through the door and rush in to snag a good viewing spot. Luckily I was let in before the entire crowd and witnessed the amusingly dangerous flood into the gym from the comfortable top row of the bleachers. Thank god for the giant fans they installed because everyone was packed in like sardines gently trying to push their way to the front. Once everyone was inside, the stoke was palpable. It had been a long day of climbing and this crowd was ready to see the finalists tear it up. The pre-finals entertainment was a hula-hoop dancer who was actually pretty rad. Her days of festivals and Burning Man hula-ing has trained her well as she killed it in front of a giant crowd begging for climbing.

Portland Boulder Rally Hula-Hooper
Warming up for the climbing finals with some hula action.

After the hula hooping was completed, the electronic music picked back up as the finalists were being announced. If I were controlling the music, I would have blared some cheesy stadium music like Eye of the Tiger or maybe whip out the old hair rock a la Bret Michaels. POISON! Anyways, back to the event. The men’s finalists (from 1st to 6th) were: Carlo Traversi, Peter Dixon, Jimmy Webb, Elan Jonas-McRae, Sean Bailey, and Matt Fultz. The female finalists were Alex Puccio, Ashima Shiraishi (13 years old), Megan Mascarena, Shannon Russel, Angie Payne, and Meagan Martin.

The finals format is really cool; there is only 1 male and 1 female climbing at a time and there is no preview of the problem. The climber is brought out and shown the problem for the first time then forced to complete it within the allocated time (more time for tougher problems). At times it was hard to choose, “do I watch the guy on the left or the girl on the right?” The crowd’s cheering mostly directed which one to watch, but for the most part, each competitor’s climbs were highly entertaining. Jimmy Webb and Alex Puccia were absolutely astonishing to watch. Both competitors made the problems look easy as they completed all four; a feat no other climber could complete. Every climber gave it their all in the finals, but Webb and Puccia were just on the top of their game and both took home first place within their class.  Check out the sequence of action shots from the PBR finals below.

Portland Boulder Rally Alex Puccio
Alex Puccio hanging on by her fingertips on the first problem.

Portland Boulder Rally Carlo Traversi
Carlo Traversi minding the gap.

Portland Boulder Rally Peter Dixon and Ashima Shiraishi
Peter Dixon and Ashima Shiraishi close to completing their second problem.

Portland Boulder Rally Jimmy Webb Megan Mascarena
Megan Mascarena and Jimmy Webb.  Jimmy topped out this final problem to seal the win.

After the finals everyone was ecstatic and poured out to the outdoor area for the after party.  The crowd was in a jovial mood after watching what I would call the best climbing I've ever seen.  Hands down.  The after party was full of beer, burritos, fire dancers, and good times between climbers and non-climbers alike. The event was a blast and an overwhelming success, and I look forward to covering it again next year!

If you missed the event or live stream, the entire replay is available here for your viewing pleasure:


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