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Rose Garden ready for Dew Action Sports Tour

07:40 PM PDT on Wednesday, August 17, 2005

By kgw.com and AP Staff

AP photo

Beau Bamburg flys between a pair of ramps approximately 80 feet apart in the parking lot near Lloyd Center to demonstrate his abilities for the upcoming dew Action Sports tour in Portland.

Tim "Fuzzy" Hall works the floor of Portland's Rose Garden arena today with a shovel. This weekend, he'll work it with a bike.

Hall is competing in the Dew Action Sports Tour's Portland stop, the Vans Invitational. He's also one of the guys helping to build the course.

Hall helped push dirt into huge mounds — some several stories tall — on the floor of the Rose Garden on Tuesday afternoon. Normally the home the NBA's Trail Blazers, the arena was being transformed into an indoor BMX course.

It is the first season for the action sports tour, which features some 150 athletes participating in three sports: skateboarding, BMX and freestyle motocross. Portland is the third of five stops on the tour and some of the local weekend events will be televised on KGW Northwest NewsChannel 8.

Unlike once-a-year action sports events like ESPN's X-Games, the Dew Action Sports tour is based more on a NASCAR-like model, where athletes participates in a series of events, and collect points based on performance for a championship and a cash prize at year's end.

The four-day event will be capped Sunday by the freestyle motocross final. Kenny "Cowboy" Bartram enters as the points leader in the event, which also includes Beau Bamburg of Gresham.

“It adds something being in your hometown," Bamburg said, "whereas somewhere out of state you are just doing a contest for yourself. This way you have all your friends and family who have followed your career and everything that’s happened throughout the whole year, so there’s definitely a little added pressure to show them what you can do.”

There are two skateboard events, park and vert (those big, U-shaped bowls). Ryan Sheckler, a 15-year-old from San Clemente, Calif., leads the standings in park, while Bucky Lasek of Baltimore, Md., is on top in vert.

“This event is definitely one of the best action sports events," said Lasek, "especially because kids can find out what the athletes are up to and how we’re doing and new stuff we’ve learned and it allows them to follow along, so it’s really good. “

AP photo

Beau Bamburg flys between a pair of ramps approximately 80 feet apart in the parking lot near Lloyd Center to demonstrate his abilities for the upcoming dew Action Sports tour in Portland.

In the three BMX events, Australian Cameron White leads the standings in dirt, fellow countryman Ryan Guettler leads in park, and Kevin Robinson of Rhode Island leads in vert.

“I’m not just going to try to make it into the finals this weekend," Guettler said. "I am going to go out there and try to clean it all up.”

The vert ramps were built in the Memorial Coliseum, while the park events will be staged outdoors between the venues. The competition opens with the BMX vert final Thursday night.

Hall, nearly 35, was into BMX dirt "before it was even a sport."

Looking over a steep ramp that will pour riders from the spectator seats in the upper reaches of the Rose Garden and on to the dirt course, Hall said it is the first time the tour has staged the event indoors.

It has advantages.

"You don't have the weather to deal with here — the heat, or rain," he said. "I'm not sure how the lights are going to be, though."

The tour, launched by NBC Universal and Clear Channel Entertainment, moves to San Jose, Calif., next month before the series concludes in Orlando, Fla., in October.

Dew Action Sports

Map outlining setup at Portland's Rose Garden arena for the Vans Invitational.