Red Bull is adding Easton to its Red Bull Butter Cup series next year, building on the success of February’s inaugural Drinky’s Rail Jam.
Organizers announced details of the Feb. 11 snowboarding event this afternoon, including changes in the competition, event setup and what the city hopes is an end to the parking headaches associated with this year’s competition.
Easton native and snowboarder David Smith serves as snowboard director for the competition. Judges will require competitors in next year’s event to complete a snowboarding maneuver called a buttercup, generating the need for a longer drop-in and run, he said.
This year’s drop-in measured about 8 feet and next year’s will measure about 16 feet followed by a roughly 180-foot run, which is about 50 feet longer than the first competition. Smith said organizers also plan to re-orient the run to allow for better viewing.
The ramp ran along Northampton Street from roughly Sitgreaves Street to Centre Square, and one of the biggest complaints from the Rail Jam was limited viewing, Smith said. The ramp will run from outside Valenca restaurant to near the Wells Fargo Bank building, allowing for viewing from both sides of the run and bleacher seating for 300 to 350 people.
Jack Frost Big Boulder will help erect the scaffolding and new features onto which tons of snow will be placed. Crews will start assembling the scaffolding Feb. 10, closing half the circle Friday night. The city will close Centre Square Feb. 11 for the duration of the event.
Registration begins at 10 a.m., practice begins at noon and the competition kicks off at 1 p.m. Red Bull will start the event earlier than this year’s competition to accommodate a busy weekend in the city that includes a State Theatre show. The winner receives a cash prize; others who place high in the competition receive snowboarding gear.
Drinky’s Red Bull Rail Jam
Mayor Sal Panto Jr. said this year’s “free-flowing event” attracted thousands of spectators that left the city’s Pine Street parking lot without a single space by 2 p.m.
“We took care of our parking problems by knocking down two buildings and making a parking lot,” he said.
Demolition of the former Majestic movie theater and Perkins restaurant along South Third Street should be finished and the lot prepared for parking by February, Panto said. Northampton County will also open the Gov. Wolf Building parking lot building for the day.
Drinky’s Rail Jam attracted about 40 competitors. Red Bull will cap the field for the Butter Cup at 100 snowboarders.
“And the attention the Butter Cup draws, we won’t have a problem drawing 100 riders,” Smith said.
Panto said the city plans to install additional light towers and security fencing to prevent the crowd from creeping too closely to the snowboard run. Organizers also announced that Oakley, Neff, Nike and Forum will join Drinky’s as event sponsors.