21st Hueco Rock Rodeo Round Up
2014 Hueco Rock Rodeo Recap
The 21st Hueco Rock Rodeo, HRR, once again has lived up to its iconic status and has proven that the Rodeo has grown into a fantastic three day climbing festival in the desert southwest! Hueco Tanks State Historic Site allowed 10 extra spots in the backcountry and 5 on North Mountain making it the biggest Rock Rodeo with 175 competitors and registration was full the week before comp!
The fun began on Friday night with Fat Tire beer, pre-registration, the El Paso Food Truck Circus and slideshows! Local Sam Davis mesmerized the crowd with his amazing photography showing them a local’s perspective of desert life and Hueco and sharing images from his travels! Mina Leslie Wujastyk also spoke, shared a video and her insight on self efficacy of climbing—some great advice before a comp and important insight to take home with you. Dave Graham sped down from Colorado just to show us the first cut of footage from The Island 2 wowing the crowd once again!
A heat wave blew into El Paso prior to the Hueco Rock Rodeo and the conditions went from good to bad quickly as the weather went from a pleasant 50 degrees to high 70’s and February 15, 2014 for the 21st Hueco Rock Rodeo it was up to 80! The athletes and the guides braved it out on the rocks on this incredibly hot day and gave it their all! The top six climbs is what we were looking for to win and it was Daniel Woods. He took first place in the men’s open category climbing 50 Shades of Red V12 for 1290 points, House of Doom V14 for 1450 points, Crown Royal V13 for 1330 points, Sugar Ray (a project listed on the problem list but done earlier in the day by Jimmy Webb who got the first ascent) V13 for 1600 points (points were so high because it was undone), The Ugh V11 for 1150 points, Indisposed Heroes V12 for 1295 and finishing the day on the Scream V11 for 1150 points. Only the top six boulders were counted giving Daniel a total of 8115 but overall 86 V points. Jimmy Webb came in second climbing 50 Shades of Red, getting the first ascent of the Coeur de Leon project (climbing Coeur de Leon into Troglodyte) now named Sugar Ray by Jimmy, The Ugh, The Scream, High Scream V10 for 1050 points, Windy Ass V9 for 980 points, Windy Ass low match start V10 for 1095. Jimmy’s top six add up to 7580 putting him in second with a first ascent but he actually climbed more V points than Daniel with 88! Sean McColl came in third with 7420 points for his top six problems and for the day he climbed and impressive 83 V points. Sean’s problems were, Better Build your Woodies V11 for1140 points, Crown Royal, Flamignon (in one go) V13 fro 1340, Flame V11 for 1120, Thrilla in Manilla (the James Litz right exit of Rumble in the Jungle) V 12 for 1280 points, Chupacabra Right V11 for 1130 and the Full Monty V 12 for 1200 points. Paul Robinson came in fourth–his top six got him 7210 points just 210 points behind Sean with 50 Shades of Red, Nagual, Better Build Your Woodies, High Scream, Scream, The Flame and Full Monty climbing 80 V points for the day!
In the Open category the ladies ripped it up as well! Jule Wurm from Germany took first place with her top six problems adding up to 6100 points climbing and a very impressive 83 V points for the day! Jule climbed Better Eat Your Wheaties V8 for 820 points, Glas Roof V9 for 905 points, Flower Power V10 for 1010 points, she flashed The Hand V10 for 1050, another flash of Ministry of Truth V9 for 940, The Egg V8 for 820 points, Funk Moe’s Extension V9 for 990, she flashed Doggie Jump for 990 points and finished up on The Flame sending the V11 in just two goes! Mina Leslie-Wujastyk kept up with Jule until the end. The ladies climbed with each other all day sharing beta and encouragement, they climbed all of the same problems until the end of the day where Mina did the Flame from one move in and then was too knackered (as she would say) to send. Mina took second with 5715 points climbing 64 V points. Mina climbed all of her climbs first go except Ministry of Truth which went on the second go. Nina Willliams also had a great day climbing day coming in third with her top six totaling 4430 climbing 43 V points. Nina climbed with Jule and Mina for most of the day sending The Hand, Wheaties, The Egg, Ministry of Truth and Mr. Serious V8 for 800 points. Jill Waters and her family drove to Hueco from Bishop for some more warm weather climbing. Jill came in fourth with 3460 and 33 V points for the day by climbing Mr. Serious, Uncut Funk, Funk Moe’s Extension and The Egg. Jill’s husband Nick and their daughter guided that day while Mom crushed! Super impressive climbing from the men and women!
The Recreational category was on North Mountain this year and we gave them a different challenge—the Wanker 101—all V0, V1 and some classic V2s—we were looking for quantity this year and Carlos Flores won for the men with 39 problems and Amanda Anderson for the women with 47 problems—impressive for such a hot day!
The weary climbers trickled back to the American Alpine Club’s Hueco Rock Ranch a little earlier than usual tuckered out from the heat. To greet them the El Paso Food Truck Circus came back with four trucks and a cupcake truck and there was plenty of Fat Tire beer flowing to take the edge off the day. The HRR was on the local NBC and ABC channels Friday night helping to make it one of the largest Rodeo parties drawing a lot of locals curious about what going on in the desert by Hueco Tanks.
As the fiery orange full moon rose over Hueco Tanks’ West Mountain people milled about the vendor village. We had a lot of great sponsors and vendors that came out to the event including 5.10, Adidas, Organic, La Sportiva, Patagonia, Evolv, Mammut, Burl Eyewear, Send Climbing, Kinetik Climbing, Mad Rock, the Access Fund, local El Paso dealers joined in the fun as well Reliance Outdoor Supplies, Fisher Brother’s Climbing, Hueco Tanks Country Store and Sessions climbing gym were all there. We were proud to make a donation to Hueco Tanks State Historic Park, The Climbers of Hueco Tanks Coalition and to the Ciudad Nueva – the local youth outreach program whose kids came out to the kids comp on Sunday.
The party continued with awards, the dyno contest where local Oscar Gaytan won the men’s in a sudden death battle against Conner Love and Victoria Gezel won for the ladies. Cletus Wilcox came from Chattanooga to DJ the Rodeo and took us into the wee early hours of Sunday as the bonfire raged.
Sunday’s breakfast began at 9:00 am with Brittney Griffith and Justin Wood cooking Nutella Crepes at the Patagonia booth. People gathered for the clinics with Daniel Woods, Sean McColl, Paul Robinson and Nick Duttle and the kids were getting in high gear for the youth comp. The youth comp featured some serious climbers and also beginners out to have fun and learn about climbing. Victoria Gezel took first in the advanced youth category with 1290 points winning a climbing training camp with team ABC in Boulder, CO! Marissa Mur was not too far behind with 1240 and won a kids climbing training camp with the Spot in Boulder, CO! Through the Rodeo Raffle we are able to raise money to waive the entrance fee, make a donation of cash and product to the kids of the local El Paso youth outreach program Ciudad Nueva. Thirteen of these awesome kids came out and had a great day demoing La Sportiva shoes and climbing for the day. Thanks to La Sportiva and Asana for helping the 3rd annual youth comp continue to grow!
For the past three years I have either help run the Hueco Rock Rodeo or ran the event myself with the AAC hosting at the Hueco Rock Ranch and with each year I have had the privilege of saying it was the best Hueco Rock Rodeo yet and once again it was the largest and most excellent HRR to date. I am proud to have helped this event grow into a three day festival and to help give back to the community. Without all of the predecessors, sponsors and volunteers it would be impossible—thanks everyone for helping! Thanks again to 5.10 for presenting the event and for rushing us the trucker hats and for all of the shoes that went to winners and raffle winners! Thanks to Adidas for their support and the shirts! Thanks to the American Alpine Club for hosting the event at the Hueco Rock Ranch! Thanks to Organic for supporting us and the tons of pads, La Sportiva for the support and the youth comp, prAna for all of the goodies and support, Asana for supporting the youth comp and the Rodeo, Fat Tire Beer for all of the libations and helping with the Rodeo Round Up BBQ, Patagonia for the origami bowls cutting down waste and the crepe breakfast, Climb Tech, Prana, Metolius, Osprey, Reliance Outdoor Supply, Smith Optics, Fisher Brothers Climbing, Evolv, Joshua Tree, Mammut, Petzl, Bosavi, Burl Eyewear, Send climbing, Sessions, Team ABC, The Spot, Acteryx, , NMSU, Revolution, Sanuk, Kinetik, Vcrux, Alpine Cowboy (Jason you were missed), Bear Cam for the highlight videos, Beau Kahler photography, Merrick Ales photography, Sam Davis photography, Mina Leslie-Wujastyk, Dave Graham. Thanks to Andy Klier and Allen Peters for the web development and graphic design. Thanks to Dan Yagmin for the artwork. All of the guides that had a long day in the heat. Thanks to our on call medic David Johnson. Thanks to Adam Strong, Ben Conner, Mike Wickwire, Andy Klier and Jackie Huftele for the problem list. Thanks to Hueco Tanks State Historic Site for allowing this event to take place. And thanks to all of those who created the Hueco Rock Rodeo back in 1993 and those who have kept it alive and growing!
~ Melissa Strong, prAna Ambassador & Hueco Rock Rodeo Event Organizer