A common theme of Red Bull Joyride in recent years has been seeing how a rider with the chance of claiming the Triple Crown of Slopestyle fares.
As Brett Rheeder and Nicholi Rogatkin have found out, it's no simple feat staying upright and landing the best run of the day at three separate Crankworx events.
But Massachusetts native Rogatkin, the lone rider with the chance at the crown for the second consecutive year, overcame the pressure and landed two impeccable runs to become the first competitor to ever claim the Triple Crown—and the $25,000 bonus that comes with it.
After landing his incredible second run, Rogatkin had a good feeling.
"I knew that it was possible, but the vibes out here on this course, it's just so difficult," he said. "I was the last guy to drop. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so there was really no choice in my mind besides making it happen."
The American was the lone competitor to crack 90 the first time around, scoring 92.75 on his first attempt. However, 2016 champion Rheeder recovered from a first-round crash to score a 94.50 on his second attempt to put the pressure on Rogatkin. But cool and collected, Rogatkin managed to further refine his run and post an eye-popping 96.50 and claim both the event victory and the Triple Crown.
"The judges rewarded Brett's run over my first run because his had more technicality," Rogatkin said. "I just had to add a few more technical things, so I added a couple no-handers in there onto the last whale tail and that's what put the judges over the top, so I'm stoked on that."
Despite Rogatkin winning three of the four events, Rheeder accumulated more points than his rival over the course of the season after winning in Rotorua and taking the runner-up position in the three ensuing events to take the overall world tour crown.
While Rheeder was glad to take the tour title, he couldn't help but feel it was a missed opportunity to take his second Joyride win.
"I screwed up a couple things on my run," Rheeder said. "He was able to go up and improve on some things from his first run and bump me down."
German Erik Fedko took third in both the event and the overall tour standings.