Lord of the Ropes—Interview with Founder Pete Harvieux

  |   Patrick Bridges

While not exactly Middle-earth, the Midwest certainly has its share of giants when it comes to jibbing. If there actually were any of J.R.R. Tolkien’s mythical creatures roaming around, Trollhaugen would probably be where you’d find ‘em. Regardless, on Friday, February 19, the 4th Annual Lord Of The Ropes is taking place at Trollhaugen, Wisconsin and students of the steel will be watching some of the best rail riders in the world advance through the brackets to take home the coveted crown.

Lord Of The Ropes is the creation of sales rep extraordinaire, Pete Harvieux, the man behind the Interior Plain Project and one of the most steadfast supporters of the Midwest snowboarding scene. Slush connected with Pete to get a bit granular about the who, what, where and why of the Lord Of The Ropes.

Slush: Tell us what led you to start Lord Of The Ropes in 2018.
Pete Harvieux: I had thought of doing something for a long time. Mainly, I wanted to create an event that highlighted the deep and rich snowboarding history in the Midwest and help bring different levels of riders, from pros to ams to local heroes, together on one hill. And I wanted to put up some sort of cash purse that was substantial enough to make it worthwhile for everyone to show up. I was also thinking about a bracket system because of how exciting certain events are in skateboarding. I was also thinking about personalities and how events don’t really celebrate who people are. Rather than do a trick centric event with letters like S.K.A.T.E., I landed on the idea of it being a line. Head-to-head, the best line moves on. I also wanted the competitors themselves to judge it. I don’t remember exactly how it all came together. Lord Of The Ropes is a funny pun; we obviously have a ton of tow ropes in the Midwest. It’s not a secret anymore how consistent the riders from the Midwest are. That comes from the sheer volume of runs people are getting on the ropes. We had 32 riders in year one and bumped it up to 64 the next year. Last year we added the “Chalice of Souls” where we put uninvited wildcards in to be chosen at random for the final 4 spots because we wanted to give more riders a chance to take part. So it is one run, one drop, and if the person who goes first falls and the second person stays on, even with pretty basic tricks, he or she advances.  

How many features are there in the line?
We do two features. The riders Roshambo up top to see who gets to choose when they’ll drop. Do you go first or second? We change up the zone and features from one round of elimination to the next. We make the first line more versatile so everyone can kind of show off their best tricks. It’s a unique event in that how you decide what you are going to try is dependent on so many variables. It creates a unique, intense energy, but (it’s) fun and exciting at the same time. But at the end of the day, the features that are set up aren’t anything that is going to break someone off. We invite as many talented riders as possible. Some are men, some are women. It’s kind of everybody versus everybody. 

Can you recap some highlights of the past events for us?
We’ve had everyone from Joe Sexton to Tommy Gesme to Craig Cameron, Jesse Paul, Ryan Paul, Shane Ruprecht, Colin Wilson, Mike Liddle, Matt Boudreaux, Zac Marben, and Jonas Michilot. In year one, Kyle Kennedy beat Mike Casanova in a pretty heavy final. In year two, Kyle won. He beat Sam Anderson from Madison, Wisconsin in what was also kind of a heavy final. Last year Kyle got taken out in round one. It ended up being an American dirt rider, Danny Sokol from Milwaukee, Wisconsin who took out Calvin Green, an Impaler kid from here.  

Where can Slush viewers watch everything go down?
Lord Of The Ropes will be live streamed on Friday the 19th at 6 p.m. Central TIme on the Trollhaugen YouTube channel, and also live on the IPP Instagram account.

Anything else? Any Thank yous?
We couldn’t do any of this without Trollhaugen, as well as Indeed Brewing. Great partners that allow us to bring everyone together for the win