Even Nicholi Rogatkin’s brand new signature trick, ‘The Twister’’, couldn’t steal top spot  

March 12, 2016, Rotorua, New Zealand — The man who wrote the book on Slopestyle penned himself a new first, Saturday, as the inaugural winner of the Kelly McGarry Memorial Trophy at Crankworx Rotorua.

Brandon SEMENUK’s effortless performance bested even Nicholi ROGATKIN’s groundbreaking 1080, dubbed “The Twister”, on an afternoon no one in the bike community will soon forget.

The competition opened with all 18 riders executing a train in honour of rider Kelly McGARRY – a back-to-back run down the course. McGarry was both the designer and builder of the Rotorua Slopestyle course, with Elevate business partner Tom Hey. His passing in early-February, was the only cloud on a stunningly perfect afternoon at Skyline Gravity Park—the weather itself a tribute to the rider known for his golden locks and sunny disposition.

“He was an amazing person and a really good friend of mine. I spent a lot of time with him, rode with him. He was the happiest soul I know,” said Semenuk, who noted the tribute and win were pretty perfect for him as well.

at Crankworx in Rotorua, New Zealand. (Photo by Clint Trahan/Crankworx)Following a moment of silence, an announcement was made that the competition will be known as the Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza moving forward, and the riders met the occasion by raising the competition to the highest level. From Semenuk to Rogatkin to the man who challenged the Triple Crown of Slopestyle in 2015, Brett RHEEDER, it appeared everyone was ready to pull out new tricks, pull oppo (opposite) approaches and generally push the envelope.

“I’m so excited to come back and get a good run on the course. The track’s been awesome. Last year, I had a big crash and didn’t get to do my second run, which was a bummer, so it’s nice to be able to come back and walk away unscathed,” said Semenuk.

Social media blew up well before the man known for owning Joyride came through to accept his win, the fans clearly declaring a preference for Rogatkin’s envelope-pushing trick. In interview after the competition, the riders indicated it was Semenuk’s consistency and grace, which secured the win over the phenomenal single hit.

“Between those two runs, one guy had absolutely perfect execution, but one had some trick difficulty—being Rogatkin—with a little inconsistency. Tough, tough fight between the judges, between first and second, but once it came down to it, trick for trick, it was Semenuk,” said Paul Rak, head judge.

For his part, Rogatkin appeared non-shuffed.

“…It feels insane to be the first to do (The Twister) in the contest and to have the support of the crowd and the guys… feels amazing,” he said.

The Slopestyle event is to be followed by entertainment from DJ Nero and PDiggs and the Deep Summer Rotorua Photo Challenge. Deep Summer challenges the industry’s best photographers to assemble a team of riders to build the most creative photography slideshow possible. The shows will be assembled by competitors Zach FAULKNER (USA), Callum WOOD (GBR), Simeon PATIENCE (NZL) and Sean LEE (AUS).

Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle in Memory of McGazza
1. Brandon SEMENUK (CAN)
2. Nicholi ROGATKIN (USA)
3. Brett RHEEDER (CAN)

Crankworx runs from March 9-13, 2016. Events include the Rotorua Pump Track Challenge presented by RockShoxCrankworx Rotorua Downhill presented by iXSCrankworx Rotorua Air DownhillCrankworx Rotorua Slopestyle, Mons Royale Dual Speed and StyleOfficial Oceania Whip-Off Championships presented by SPANK and the Giant Toa Enduro. There will also be an expo at the Skyline Gravity Park, food and entertainment.

Crankworx is broadcast live from Crankworx.comPinkbike.com and the Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle is live on Red Bull TV.

Broadcast schedule:

TICKETS & VIP INFORMATION: Tickets for all events are on sale now through Crankworx.com.

Media Contact:

Jennifer Smith
Crankworx World Tour Communications & Marketing Manager
NZ Phone: 6421990017        Email: Jennifer@Crankworx.com
Canadian cell: 604-848-8801

For those in New Zealand:

Jenha White
Crankworx Rotorua public relations liaison
C: 027 705 7005

Images for Media are free to download off Flickr. Please credit the photographer listed in the photo information.

Photos: Brandon Semenuk pulled in for the win (top) and Nicholi Rogatkin celebrates an epic trick, the difficulty would earn him second place.


Mountain biking’s defining celebration descends on Skyline Rotorua Gravity Park March 9-13, 2016. Crankworx Rotorua brings the world’s downhill, slopestyle and enduro legends together with the superfans, rising stars, industry innovators and the next generation of mountain bike riders for five days of competition, concerts, and mountain bike culture.

Anointed by dirt, powered by passion, the Crankworx World Tour travels to Rotorua, New Zealand, Les Gets, France and culminates in its Canadian home base of Whistler, B.C.

Tread among the gravity-fed. Join the bike-minded.