Thank you to Towels for the super fast edits for this gathering, and always being good about releasing the footage you take.
Sun City Gathering went down this weekend, and it was nothing short of amazing. This was a smaller event, but that actually enhanced the experience in every way. The event had a relaxed, no pressure kind of feeling, which allows most of us to perform better. More importantly, the intimate setting gave us all a chance to actually socialize with the majority of the people there, and party together outside of sessions. I realize these things happen, to an extent at least, at every event, but this one was just the right size to actually connect with everyone, at some point, both in and out of the sessions. That’s ultimately what this whole gathering thing we do is about.. It’s about getting together with people who share your passion, and just doing what we love. Tricking is fun; it’s a thrill to watch people of all levels trick. That first landing from the novices, the precision of the elite level trickers, and the adrenaline from going in yourself. It’s not just that though, it’s the traveling, and meeting people from other backgrounds. Through tricking, not only have I ventured to cities I wouldn’t normally venture to, but I’ve been given the opportunity to spend a lot of time with people from all over the world, and talk with them about everything, from girls, to real life, to politics and history, and beyond. Tricking gives us ample opportunity to learn about the cultures of the world. Tricking allows us to learn about who we are, not only as individuals, but in the context of the world. That, my friends, is not something that everyone experiences regularly, and it should be recognized for the gift that it is.
This event had many of my favorite trickers to watch, but also my favorite personalities to hang out with. There was an eclectic mix of tricking styles present, and the flow of the day session was really fun, and never really got boring. Someone was always trying to go hard, even if just by themselves, and that’s the best, really. I love that I could sit and drink some water, have a snack, and watch Alec Vail smash triples while everyone else is just sitting around chatting. I loved the way a few people session at gatherings, and over the course of an hour, a new set of people filter in, as the first few start to drop off. The day becomes this organically shifting blur of moving shapes on the floor, and varying degrees of excitement and general contentment. I love that Nick Fry played RC tricker with me (He let me feed him all of my stupid ideas, and he smashed many of them). I loved that Nick Vail told me, on several occasions, that he was having fun. That’s what a gathering can do.. It reminds us that what we do *is* fun, and even when we’ve been in the game that long, and trained that hard, we can still connect with the reason behind it all.
A few standouts for me:
- Jordy Malone: This dude is a tower. He’s 6’5″ (Almost 200cm). Bigger than Towels, if that helps.. This guy’s great. He showed up with the clear intent to learn and to trick, and to just connect, and he accomplished that several times over. This guy solidified in my mind my theory that this may very well be a big guy’s sport, just as much as it is a small guy’s. When a guy this size hits a double cork, you take notice. I’m relatively large, so to it’s always inspiring to see other big guys move around, especially at a higher level of athleticism, like Jordy.
- Jacob Huntington: Easily one of my favorite trickers, and personalities in the community. He’s so strong, as well as extremely technically proficient. What I love most about his tricking is how low he stays. He’s like a skipping stone that occasionally hits that extra high bounce, and something ridiculous happens, like takfull-dlegtwist. Jacob’s funny too, and it’s this sort of dry, subtle humor sometimes that sticks with me, and makes me laugh over and over.
- Tucker Lucas: Tucker is from Colorado, so I’ve watched him grow for awhile now. He’s 13 (I believe), and already has a very mature tricking style, that’s starting to climb into the upper tier tricks. His combos are creative, often difficult, and consistent, and he went hard all weekend. Keep your eyes on this kid, because he’s reaching greatness. Tucker’s family is very supportive, and they come to all of his sessions and gatherings. It’s awesome to see people take interest in what their kids love, and to help them chase their dreams the way the Lucases have, so thank you to Mary and Tim for that.
- Ashley Adams: Crashley is fun to watch trick. She has a very new skool style, and she reminds me of a wheel. What I like best though, is her style is kind of bouncy, and fun, like a 17 year old girl’s absolutely should be. I know her pretty well, since we train together at least once a week, and it’s really cool to see a quieter side of her personality come out loud as hell through her tricks. I’m excited to see where she’ll be in a few years.
- Keenan Carr: Why isn’t everyone copying this kid yet? He is destroying the game in so many ways. We all know about the mega cart game that he’s opened up, but pay attention, and you’ll see he’s one of the only people who’s variating his single twists, and still swinging out of them. That’s not a common skill, and he’s doing it beautifully. This gathering I had more opportunities to see who this kid is, and kinda what he’s about, and it’s pretty awesome. Keenan can be whatever he wants to be.
- Ben Atkins: That’s Towels (aka Myerson Amy, aka Chad Durango, aka Tao Li, aka Beth Newhardt, aka too many to list). Ben and I argue endlessly, but we remain friends. Ben’s big as hell too, only a few inches shorter than Jordy, and he can do pretty much everything at this point. He’s better than most trickers about learning about a concept, and then actually learning to do it, and more importantly, he seeks these things out. His tricks are getting more and more technical, powerful, and well rounded every single gathering. Ben will triple cork this year, probably. His attempts at Sun City were pretty solid, so look out, because that’s going to be a very big deal.
- Riku Rikkonen: Sadly he’s hurt, so he didn’t get to really throw down at the gathering. He rode back to Colorado with us though, and I got to talk to him about a lot of things, as I mentioned above. Riku knows a lot of things, about a lot of things, I think, and I enjoyed exchanging with him. I feel lucky, and grateful to my community for always being so welcoming, and for attracting so many trickers like Riku from around the world to come visit.
- Nick Fry: Alien. Nick is the person you want at your gathering. Period. He goes so hard the whole time, and he can literally do anything, I think. It’s really easy to focus in on the absurdly fast twisting he does so effortlessly, but that’s really not what I saw from him the most this weekend. I saw an OC master with strong transitional proficiency. That was pretty great to experience. I talked with him for awhile too, and was impressed with his personality. He’s smart, and outgoing, and fun, and that’s as important to a gathering, as the fireworks he performs.
- Sean McGinnis: I didn’t get to spend much time with Sean, but his role in this gathering was instrumental, and I am thankful to him for all of his hard work. I was impressed with him as an up and comer when he came out to Tribe Gathering, and I was just as impressed this time around. Sean, keep killing the tricks, because the times I saw you going in, your combos got me hyped.
- Darrell Lewis: (aka Ghandi.) This was his event, and not enough can be said about him, frankly. In short, he’s a fun guy to be at a gathering with, and his tricks are second to none. Ghandi is in his 30’s, and has salt and pepper hair, but he tricks like a young man. His kicking technique is beautiful, and he’s very good at implementing swag into his combos. He’s really pretty incredible; the climax of every combo I saw surprised me – gainer-kyros, doubles to splits, etc. What I admire most though, is Ghandi is a hard working family man; I think that’s an important quality to recognize.
More than I meant to say.. If i didn’t mention you, it’s not for lacking, I just need to edit myself!
Sun City was an excellent gathering, and one that I will return to year after year. Thank you to Sean and Darrell for all of their hard work, and I cant wait to hang out again!