What's left to say about Snowboarder Magazine's ANTPM 2011 that hasn't been said by Pat Bridges? (He's featured in that video up there. You should watch it. Really.)
Probably not a lot. So here's the quick and dirty on who won what at the third annual America's Next Top Pro Model. Forest Bailey ollied highest. Bode Merrill and Kevin Jones tied in the "Spin to Win" portion of the contest. Takaharu Nakai blasted the biggest in the pipe. Bryan Fox was the first to grease the mega-box. (Ed note: He was also the first dude to try it. First try, first go. That's pro.) And finally Bode Merrill was the fastest Chinese Downhiller. Oh, and his board also pulled in the highest bid at the finale charity board auction.
So although it's yet to be officially announced on Snowboarder Magazine's web site, the safe money says Bode Merrill will be laying claim to America's Next Top Pro Model. And while a contest win typically means Merrill would be leaving with the oversized check, that's not case with ANTPM. You see, it's a charity event.
"Part of it is a board auction," says Bridges, "where campers can bid on all the different pro models -- meaning, the actual pro's boards or set ups. Then all that money is pooled and whoever takes the overall win gets to decide where money goes. All the money goes to the charity of their choice."
Half-way through the auction Forest Bailey's set up, which was literally his entire board bag: soggy boots, long johns, socks and all, had fetched the highest price of the night at $415. But Bode Merrill quickly bettered Bailey's high-bid mark. He was selling his whole set-up: a couple boards, boots, bindings, pants, jacket, gloves, goggles, you name it. Some kid came up for $450.
So yeah, the Bode-man took it. I overheard Bailey turn to him at the end of the auction and say, "This morning I was thinking it'd be cool to donate the money to the Robinson family, or ask them where they'd like it donated. In honor of Aaron."
Merrill's face lit up. He smiled.
"Yeah, that's a really good idea," he said. "I think I'm gonna have to steal that one from you."