This was the third year of the now annual Prince and Princess of Plastic competition at MSU and I have to say it was the best one by far. Being a setter and judge I might be a bit one sided though…
In the days and weeks leading up to the event we put out a lot of advertisements including a Public Service Announcements on the campus radio KGLT and putting up posters all over town. In addition to spreading information by word of mouth to whoever came into the climbing wall and on Facebook. In the week before the competition we had 24 people preregistered (ten times what we had preregister in the last two years). We also got word through the grapevine of a couple mutants coming out the woodwork to compete from all around the state.
We had planned on taking two days to set all the competition routes. Instead in our first day one marathon 17 hour session was all we needed for our setting crew of “K-bone”, “JM”, “EC”, “JS”, “Herb”, “Z”,”E”, “Zach”, “LR”, “ty-gerino” and myself (“KM”) to put up all 74 of the new boulder problems. Having foreran most of the problems, and getting to see people climbing them, the boulder problems seemed to be of a higher quality than the last two years. This is in part because of the great new holds we received from Climb It and Detroit Rock Climbing Company and new volumes from Motivation Volumes!!!
With all the hard work done, Friday came and went, a well deserved rest day mentally before the upcoming hurricane of a weekend.
In the first heat Saturday morning Larkin Scott and Marge Volkening showed us a taste of how good the girls were climbing this year. And then in the afternoon heat returning Princess of Plastic Leigh Spokas-Manlove, Gabrielle Antonioli, and the fashionably late Sarah Ho, and Inge Perkins showed up and crushed just about all of the hard routes we has set for the boys!
Knowing a couple of the mutant crushers still had to climb the next day we put up one more V – impossible to mere-mortals boulder problem, and tweaked the finals routes one more time.
The next morning came far too quickly and all of the judges and volunteers arrived groggy eyed and sleep deprived getting ready for the third double digit work day in a week.
But just as soon as he first heat started the Young Guns Charlie Barron from Billings and Dominick Speranza from Helena had us on high alert. Within the first hour of the comp they had both done the 5 top hardest routes in the gym, as if it was just a warm up. Fortunately for the setters neither of them was able to stay until 7pm for finals.
The afternoon heat started out much more subdued as people didn’t start walking in until 5 mins before the qualifying heat was supposed to start. This time the local boys represented with MSU alum Jeff Ho, Bozeman’s own Peder Groseth and Jackson Bodtker, and MSU students Stephen Bosworth and Fletcher Chen throwing down.
Finals has always been a stressful time for Kevin Volkening and me. The two of us have run this part of the event each year with all its inherent hurdles. This year was no exception as not all of the female finalists showed up on time. Rolling with the punches, we pushed he guys into first place and quickly got them ready to climb.
The first route was a bit too hard with Fletcher and Jeff getting the highpoint, and Peder almost able to skip the entire 2nd crux section.
Then we switched it up again and had the girls come out on the not so devious slab problem that all of them ended up sending creating a three way tie for 1st going into the 2nd route.
The men’s second route went perfectly with each of he finalists reaching a move further than the one before him and then the unexpected happened.
If you weren’t there to watch what happened next, I suggest you watch this piece of history before I say anything else.
In case you missed that, Jeff Ho flashed the route, to win the competition, with style. Everyone who knows of Jeff knows that he is strong, it has become a kind of urban legend about how strong the “Ho Master” is. In my mind this only cements Jeff’s status. Having climbed with Jeff, I’ve come to expect some amazing feats before, but this was over the top. Many of the people in the audience had never seen Jeff climb before. So I’m sure that this feat will stick with people and keep the legend going… you never know when the Ho Master will make another public appearance.
I’m not sure of how anyone could climb right after witnessing that but, somehow, Larkin found the motivation and fought to the top of the 2nd women’s final on her first attempt.
The women again impressed everyone by topping out the 2nd final too, the final result came down to the number of attempts to top out the problems I try and explain better below.
Men’s Final Results:
1st Jeff Ho 1 Tops, 15 points
2nd Peder Groseth 0 Tops, 13 points
3rd Fletcher Chen 0 Tops, 12+ points
4th Stephen Bosworth 0 Tops,
5th Shawn Wright 0 Tops,
6th Jackson Bodtker 0 Tops,
1st Sarah Ho 2 Tops, 22 points, 2 attempts
2nd Inge Perkins 2 Tops, 22 points, 3 attempts
3rd Larkin Scott 2 Tops, 22 poins, 4 attempts
4th Leigh Spokas-Manlove 2 Tops, 22 points, 5 attempts
5th Gabrielle Antonioli 1 Tops,
The scores were given by one point per hold controlled and then a + for movement towards the next hold. With Tops being scored first then the number of points earned and then attempts to highpoint. I tried to keep it similar to the UBC/IFSC scoring for those people who understand that with a few minor adjustments to account for the needs of the competition.
In addition to all the great sponsors we received for this event, I have to give a shout out to Kevin Volkening. This event was his brain child and over the last three years he has put more hours into making sure that it runs than anyone else. This year is his last year organizing the event because he is graduating this semester. Thanks Kevin for the vision and leadership to put on this great event!