The Jeep World Outside Festival visits the rain-soaked grounds of Winter Park
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July 20, 2002 They came by car, they came by train, and some even rode their mountain bikes, but despite the freezing rain they kept coming. The sold-out crowd that mobbed the grassy slopes of the Winter Park Resort outside of Denver last Saturday came to party were not disappointed.
Tucked amidst alpine slopes, the most ideal setting for the Jeep World Outside Festival thus far, concertgoers at the resort got quite a show. Although drought conditions in the area forced the cancellation of the kayak and scuba diving pools for the day, attendees took advantage of all the festival had to offer.
At the trials riding course, fans packed in six deep to watch the two-wheeled antics of riders Jeff Lenosky and Ryan Leech. The The pair thrilled onlookers with three extended exhibitions. Each performance closed with a standing ovation.
Sean Williams, a Denver native who caught all three of the bike exhibitions, said he was impressed by the rider’s ability and skill level.
“I really liked the way they played off of each other,” he said. “They did everything I wanted to see them do especially the 180’s and 360’s. The action was non stop.”
Leech and Lenosky, both world-class riders, perform on a custom set crafted from aluminum scaffolding and wooden decks complete with a rhythm section, 10-foot platforms, and two one-quarter ramps. But spectacular bunny hops, wondrous wheelies, and precision maneuvers were only one part of the trials exhibition.
After each show the pair delighted their audience with an autograph session, taking the time to shake hands and answer questions.
“It was a sweet show,” Williams said. “I think the kids really liked it.”
The 24-foot climbing wall was also a popular stop as both veterans and beginners took the opportunity to show off and test their skills.
Despite the foul weather, main stage performers Train and O.A.R. fired up the crowd and second stage acts Tonic and Pseudopod kept the soggy concert goers moving and on their feet.
Sheryl Crow closed the evening in a chilly downpour but no one seemed to mind. “Are you wet enough to be my man?” she asked the audience during the chorus of her song “Strong Enough” and was met with an ecstatic reply. As the rain-starved ski slopes soaked up the water, the mud people emerged and brought the festival to a euphoric end.
By far the most enthusiastic crowd of the festival, the musicians, crew, and athletes alike are hoping to find a similar reception as the Jeep World Outside Festival begins its West Coast leg this week in San Diego with shows to follow in Phoenix, L.A., and the Bay area.