Thursday, May 23, 2013


I had the chance to cover the 2013 Red Bull Crashed Ice Championships in St. Paul Minnesota. Let me start from the beginning: I was told that the 2013 Red Bull downhill championships were coming to St. Paul Minnesota at the end of January.

As a relatively new media member I wanted to go about looking on how to get passes for the event. So I looked online and I came about the Red Bull website. I was able to find the media page on the Red Bull Internet site. I sent Red Bull a message saying who I was with -- Steven's Sports Report, of course -- and I asked how I could come over and cover the event. Then I waited (and waited and waited) some more to hear back from Red Bull to see if and how I can come over and cover the event. So about two weeks before the event was supposed to start I got an email saying I was approved to come and cover the event.

On Sunday of the week that the Red Bull Crashed Ice started I started receiving emails from Red Bull giving me the details of what each day was going to be like. On Wednesday I went over to the St. Paul Hotel where Red Bull was hosting the media. I checked in on Wednesday and picked up my press pass for the weekend. I was excited and I was set.

I felt that I was ready to cover the big event.

On Friday I came over in the late afternoon. They were running a team challenge. The team challenge was where teams of skaters sake down the track and get timed. The breakdown on the competition was the top 100 USA athletes went up against each other and then the top 100 international athletes went up against each other and then the top 64 advanced to the Saturday finals.  

On Friday night there was a media gathering for the media that covered the event. During the event I was able to get to spots where the general public was not able to get to. The crowd swelled and music was provided by DJ Mad Mardigan a local DJ who works with the Minnesota Timberwolves. 
The finals on Saturday according to Sandra Klages of Marketing & Communications Smaragd Medien GmbH (Steven, that name can’t be spelled right. Is it?), “American Cameron Naasz was just a few meters away from giving the United States its first-ever victory in the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship before Canadian brothers Kyle and Scott Croxall bolted past the exhausted Minnesotan at the finish line.

Canada’s Kyle Croxall came from behind to beat his brother Scott and Naasz in a breathtaking photo-finish in the final of the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship race on Saturday in front of 115,000 frenzied spectators. Naasz had jumped into the early lead on the twisting, obstacle-filled 400-meter track just after the start on Saint Paul’s Cathedral hill but ran out of energy just a stride or two before the finish line as the two Croxalls sprinted past the fatigued local hero near the banks of the frozen Mississippi River.

It was the closest final in the 13-year history of Red Bull Crashed Ice and it took several moments for judges to analyze the photo finish to determine the finishing order. “I just wish I could have got a few more strides in going up that last hill,” said Naasz, who injured his back in a heavy crash in the quarter-finals. “I just didn’t have anything left in the tanks and was just trying to hang on. I just have to try to figure out how to stay in front of this guy.”

Kyle Croxall, the 2012 champion and Saint Paul winner last year who now has a total of six career victories, said he had a difficult start from an outside gate but stayed on Naasz’s heels all the way down. “You just look for your opportunity when you get it,” said the Canadian firefighter, the hottest racer on the circuit at the moment with four wins in the last six races going back to the start of the 2012 season.

The improbable success of the 23-year-old Naasz, a college student who joined the sport as a rookie just a year ago at the Saint Paul race, kept the American crowd fired up all evening long despite the arctic temperatures that plunged far below freezing and ice-cold winds on what is traditionally the coldest weekend of the year in Minnesota. Naasz, who finished second in the season opener in December in Niagara Falls, is second overall in the world championship standings with 1400 points behind only defending champion Kyle Croxall (2000 points) with three races left in the five-race 2012-’13 season. The next stop is in Landgraaf, Netherlands on Feb. 9

In Friday’s Team Challenge, Scott Croxall and teammates Adam Horst and Travis Nagata powered their way to a victory over another Canadian squad, “Team Ottawa”, in a nail-biting final. More than 200 of the world’s best Downhill Cross athletes took part in the three days of racing in Saint Paul, which has fast become the hotspot for the sport in the United States.

Results: 1. Kyle Croxall (CAN), 2. Scott Croxall (CAN) 3. Cameron Naasz (USA), 4. Kim Muller (SUI), 5. John Fisher (CAN), 6. Jim De Paoli (SUI), 7. Derek Wedge (SUI), 8 Paavo Klintrup (FIN), 9. Miikka Jouhkinmainen (FIN), 10. Marco Dallago (AUT). ,                 

According to Leigha Kristoff Communications Specialist-MWBU, “One hundred and fifteen thousand people descended upon the Cathedral of Saint Paul as Canadian brothers Kyle and Scott Croxall took the top two spots in an intense, action-packed final day at the Red Bull Crashed Ice - Ice Cross Downhill World Championship. Yet in many ways, the night belonged to hometown hero Cameron Naasz, who continued to cement his position as one of the elite Ice Cross Downhill athletes in the world with a third place finish.

The crowd chanted “USA!”USA! USA!” as the Lakeview resident dominated the first three rounds, finishing first in each heat as the excitement around his performance grew. Naasz qualified for the finals in dramatic fashion, as he slid blades first across the finish line to edge out Canadian competitor John Fisher by a skate. The final run came down to the wire, with Naasz jumping out to the front of the pack and narrowly holding his lead through the first half of the course. But the Croxall brothers managed to surpass Naasz on the final quarter of the track, leaving him and the United States just short of a first-ever victory in the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship.

“Tonight was unbelievable – I wish I had taken a few more strides on the final run,” said Naasz. “But feeling the energy of the crowd was amazing, and now I’m more focused than ever on doing whatever I can to take the next step and win a race.”

Two other Americans made deep runs into the quarterfinals. Veteran Tigh Isaac was one of them, putting in a strong performance and keeping himself in contention for the top spot all night. A collision during the quarterfinals squashed his hopes to reach the podium, but he’s established himself as a force to be reckoned with on the circuit.

The comeback story of the night was Adam Green, who took Saint Paul by storm as he powered his way through the first two rounds and into the quarterfinals. The Ohio native was the fastest qualifier in Saint Paul last time around, but has been in and out of competition the past few years. With a dominant run on Saturday, he reminded fans of Ice Cross Downhill of his potential to be one of the top athletes in the sport.

“I was really proud of our guys overall,” said Charlie Wasley, coach of Team USA. “Cam was even better than most people know – he was pretty banged up by the last race and still had a real shot to take it all. It was great to see him on the podium, but he has the potential to win races, if not the series. This night is going to elevate the confidence of our athletes, and I really feel we’re closer than ever to a win.”

Fans can relive all the edge-of-your-seat action on February 16 when the Saint Paul race airs as part of the Red Bull Signature Series on NBC. The Red Bull Signature Series is the most progressive and innovative action sports property in the world, featuring events such as snowboarding, mountain biking, freestyle motocross, ice cross downhill, skiing, and BMX. For more information, visit“

I had a fun time covering this event. I was able to networking with other media members not only from the USA but from others from around the world.

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