Even with a huge novelty check clutched in his hands as proof, Pat Ellis still had a hard time wrapping his mind around his accomplishment.
Ellis captured first place in the highly competitive Advanced BMX division at Saturday’s Grind Haven Open skateboarding and BMX competition, held at the Grand Haven Skate Park.
Ellis, who said he’s been competing for 11 years, had never won on a stage such as this.
“I’m still kind of shocked,” he admitted. “I didn’t think I was going to win.”
Ellis said the atmosphere at the event — which is part of the Meijer State Games — was welcoming and friendly despite the high level of competition.
“I had support from everyone,” the BMXer said. “Everyone is cheering for you.”
Saturday’s competition marked the fifth annual trip to Grand Haven for the AGA Nation, which runs skateboarding and BMX competitions across the state.
Despite the threat of inclement weather, a huge crowd of competitors and fans invaded the skate park for the competition.
“We were a little concerned with the weather,” admitted AGA Nation’s Managing Partner Kurt Luttlemoser admitted, noting that some competitors from outside Grand Haven decided not to make the trip. That didn’t diminish the number of competitors, which he said rivaled the highest numbers in the five years of the event.
People came from as far as Ohio and Illinois to compete.
Luttlemoser said the continued soaring popularity of events such as ESPN’s X-Games have helped boost the number of extreme athletes at the local level.
“We’re here to promote the next generation in action sports,” Luttlemoser said.
Champions were crowned in five different divisions.
In the Skateboard Intermediate, Cam Lund took first place, followed by Jalen Oliver in second and Nick Baglogh in third.
Dustin Blauvelt won the Skateboard Advanced competition, while Ryan S. took second and Mike Regan third.
Augie Hendrickson won the BMX Intermediate title, with Tyler Wiegolt second and Matt Callan third.
Ellis was crowned the champ in BMX Advanced, followed by Tyler Ellis in second and Ben Fisher in third place.
In the Girls Gear division, Christina Smith captured first place. Meg Kelly was second, and Molly Kelly placed third.
By Keith Allison, Tribune Intern