Team Summit soars at Devo Championships |

Team Summit soars at Devo Championships

Summit Daily/Reid Williams

ARAPAHOE BASIN – The music at the Rocky Mountain Junior Development Championship freestyle aerial competition was very “I love the Eighties.”

That’s ironic, because none of the competitors at the event were born before 1990.

“The kids all want to hear that hip-hop,” said Bruce Perry Sr. of Dillon, one of the event organizers. “We had Lil’ Romeo on a bit earlier.”

The kids might not have caught the musical irony, but they sure caught some big air.

In fact, “going huge” is 9-year-old John Leonard’s favorite part of events like these. The Vail youngster’s other motivation?

“To go bigger than my older brother!”

Finishing strong, Team Summit once again faired well at the competition, as they have throughout the Devo season.

“Team Summit’s showed a lot of great results this season,” Perry said. “Chris Carson (Team Summit coach) has done a great job with these guys. It shows in the results. Team Summit’s dominated.”

Paige Williams took second in the J4 category, Taylor Poyfair took third in the J5s, Cody Cirillo landed in fourth among J5s, and Bruce Perry Jr., Cole Poyfair and Tristan McDonald went 1-2-4 among J6s.

Each of the competitors got two runs.

They were judged on form, height and degree of difficulty of their jumps.

The kids could choose from three “Whoopee” ramps, ranging from 2 to 6 feet tall. The 6-foot ramp launched the riders 20 feet down the hill and onto a steep landing slope.

Most of the competitors did tricks like a spread eagle or a twist, but there were a few rotating jumps.

Team Summit rider Bobby Brown wowed the crowd with a 720, while several other riders pulled 360s.

Steamboat Springs rider Shaq Torrella hucked a 360 tail grab to take the lead in his age group.

“He’s been working on that this year,” said George Torrella, Shaq’s father. “He’s trying to go off-axis, because that’s what they’re doing in the World Cup.”

Many of the competitors in Friday’s event – Shaq included – have aspirations of Olympic glory.

Competitions such as the Rocky Mountains series groom young riders to take the lead in the sport in the years to come.

“We’re going to have very large depth in the future years for the U.S. Olympic team,” Torrella said.

Perry Jr. is another young rider with visions of Olympic rings.

“His dream is to make the U.S. team and make the Olympic team someday,” said Perry Sr. “He’s quite the little bumper. He rips down there. I think if he keeps focused and stays healthy and has a good positive attitude (he could make the Olympics). That’s the whole key.”

When the kids learn to jump and compete at such a young age, it greatly enhances their future possibilities.

“This is where it all starts,” said James Bryant, coach of the Vail Ski and Snowboard Club. “I just don’t think they have the fear at this age yet.”

The young athletes first learn their tricks on dry land, practicing the twists, turns and spreads on trampolines. From there, they move to ramps that launch them into swimming pools.

“That hurts less,” said Perry Sr., smiling.

The Devo Championships will continue today and Sunday with the moguls competition on the Ramrod run at A-Basin.

Dan Kelley can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at

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