Fifteen-year-old Gavin Bottger, the youngest in the Men’s Skateboard Park field at Dew Tour Des Moines 2022, got the biggest win of his career on Saturday night in the final contest of the weekend. The win follows his 3rd place Dew Tour finish in 2021, when he watched Zion Wright and Oskar Rozenberg bump him down the podium. This time around, he led from Run 1 and never let go.
“I can’t believe it, honestly,” he said after the podium ceremony on the deck of the bowl at Lauridsen Skatepark. “It feels like a dream.”
Bottger exploded out of the gates in Run 1, rolling in from the banked extension ramp and propelling straight into a huge frontside air through the deep end corner, followed by a frontside 5-0 grind, kickflip backside 360 over the box jump, backside 540 in the deep end, kickflip Indy over the hip, 5-0 grind, kickflip footplant on the Mountain Dew can, frontside slob plant on the plexiglass Toyota vert extension, one-foot backside 360, Cab heelflip 360 Indy, and alley-oop body varial 360.
It was the fastest and most technical run of the night, but left him in the position of watching all of his competitors try to challenge it.
Luiz Francisco’s Run 1 pass had an incredible line featuring a frontside lipslide, frontside 5-0, frontside boneless on the bank extenstion, varial flip Indy, hardflip Indy over the hip, double kickflip melon over the box jump, lipslide through the corner, Indy air dive bomb, frontside 50-50, and kickflip 50-50 on the Mountain Dew can. It put Francisco in 1st place until Bottger’s first run, but he wasn’t able to improve on it in subsequent runs.
Bottger missed his own chances to improve in Runs 2 and 3. That left Keegan Palmer, the last to drop in for Run 3, with an opportunity to take the walk-off win.
Palmer’s run –– frontside air over the Toyota hip extension, alley-oop Indy air, noseblunt pull-in on the Toyota extension, backside lipslide on the Mountain Dew can, Madonna, stalefish backside 5400, alley-oop kickflip Indy to fakie, 5-0 grind, backside 180 Indy over the box jump, ad a fakie to fakie Indy 540 at the buzzer –– must have sparked some serious discussion amongst the judges, because it took longer than usual for the final score to come in.
When it did, Palmer dropped in to cross the course to celebrate with Bottger and Francisco. All three were so exuberant that it wasn’t immediately clear to the crowd who had won.
“I’m homies with everyone here, so you want your homies to do good but you also want to do good yourself,” Bottger said of sharing the moment with his good friends and closest competitors. “It’s a weird mix of feelings but it means we all get to celebrate together no matter which way it goes. Tonight went to me, and I couldn’t be happier.”