Danny Thepsouvanh: What is Pop Contest?
Travis Nabe: The Popularity Contest is Canada’s largest and longest running park contest. This year marks its 10th anniversary and the 2nd that it has been partnered with Vancouver’s VanAM contest. It has taken place throughout the province of British Columbia since 2003 and is the staple event for any rollerblader in Western Canada. Some past winners include heavy hitters Dustin Werbeski, Randy Juarez, Dustin Jamieson and Tommy Chung.
What sets this event apart from every other park competition out there?
To name a few… It takes place in one of the most beautiful cities in the world — Vancouver, BC. There is no other contest out there where the winner is crowned ‘Mr. Popular.’ In addition to the main event, there are numerous side events such as a high jump, hockey tournament, skate-cross and a limbo grind. And where else besides a game of Monopoly can you play with boots and win some funny colored money?
Why should people make the trek out to Vancouver for the Popularity Contest?
That’s simple. Free health care if you get hurt, Canadian beer, a chance to skate an amazing park with some friendly Canucks and an after party that you will not soon forget.
What should people expect if they go to Pop Contest?
If people make it out to Vancouver at the end of August, they can expect a weekend to remember… along with a complimentary sunburn and/or hangover. They can also expect to skate an amazing skate park with a backdrop of mountains, the Pacific Ocean and a bunch of bearded dudes.
So there is a roller hockey tournament tied to this year’s Pop Contest. Why did you decide to add this event? Are Canadian’s this crazy about hockey?
You bet we are. And there is no way that Team Calgary is going home with the title this year. I hear they’ve been plagued by poor goaltending since the dawn of time.
As for the addition of the 5-on-5 hockey tournament to the mix… I feel like we’ve all been talking about doing this for years. Most of the veteran Canadian rollerbladers grew up playing hockey in one form or another and it makes sense that we try to incorporate that into the festivities. From the sounds of it, most of the old guys are looking forward to this tournament more than the actual Pop Contest.
If anyone is interested in putting a team together, hit me up at email@example.com to register.
Last year you awarded a sponsorship by Kaltik as prize to your first place finish. Are there any plans to have a unique prize similar to this this year? Like first place gets a maple syrup sponsor?
Conor from Kaltik certainly did hook it up last year. They are a great company that makes some incredible frames… if you are not riding them yet, you should be. This year we really excited to have Kaltik supporting the event again, along with Bullet Prufe, First and Lexington, Ground Control, ONE, Provoke Rolling, Razors, Scumpire, Seba and of course, Shop-Task.
As for the Maple Syrup, we may just have to hook that up now that you ask. We’ve also got $500.00 cash and our own version of the MTV Moon Man for Mr. Popular this year, along with a slew of other prizes to give away. We really could not put on an event like this without companies consistently backing this event and the Canadian rollerblade scene.
The Pop Contest has been going strong for a number of years. What do you owe its persistence to?
Honestly, the event is still around because of the people that come out to it each and every summer. Over the last 10 years, there have been countless memories and friendships that spawned from this event and it would be a shame for that to cease to exist.
Personally, the inclusion of VanAm to the weekend is a pivotal reason for my involvement. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have had numerous contests to look forward to each year. Because of those events, it gave me something to work towards and something to look forward to, cementing my life long obsession with fruityboots. I think that organized events are crucial to growing the sport that we all continue to fixate on… whether it be a regional park contest or a large scale pro event. If holding this event can hook a kid on rollerblading like it did me, then I think we’ve succeeded.
Where can people find out more information about The Popularity Contest and VanAM?
The event takes place on August 24, 2013 at Railside Skatepark in Port Coquitlam, BC. For more information, please check out www.popcontest.ca. See you all in a few weeks.
Photos by Will Pursell, Lloyd Donald, Chris Wedman, Carly McInerney, and Brandon Smith