Michael Robinson didn’t know it at the time, but as the first day of the GOODE Bracket Challenge Finals ended in Ogden, Utah, his odds of winning the $5,000 perfect bracket grand prize had just improved dramatically.
Jeremy Newby-Ricci had just topped Chad Scott, while Dave Miller had taken out Jay Leach to advance to a finals match up with Jeremy; just as Michael, a Men’s 5 skier from South Carolina, had predicted when he filled out his bracket in May.
As day two of the Finals began, all Michael needed to pocket five thousand large ones was his pick to win it all – Jeremy – beating Dave in the head-to-head.
“I really wanted to win the tournament because the competition was so tough and the format was a lot of fun,” said Jeremy, who’d done the math on his own and knew that the perfect bracket rested on his shoulders. “But I have to say that knowing I’d either make or break a fan’s bracket put a little bit of extra pressure on me. I didn’t want to be the reason that someone missed out on that kind of money.”
In the end, Michael’s intuition in May held true in September as Jeremy posted a huge score of 3 buoys at 41 off to edge Dave’s 1.5 buoys at the same line length (for more details on the on-the-water competition, view the video here).
“No way, are you serious?” asked a stunned Michael when GOODE Skis president and founder Dave Goode called him from the lake to tell him he’d won $5,000.
At first thinking he had no chance of scoring the perfect bracket, Michael’s interest and optimism understandably increased with each round.
“I watched kinda casually through the Sweet 16,” said Michael, whose fan contest name was Summer skiOFF, “but I really started to pay attention with the Elite Eight. Even then I thought it was a long shot so I didn’t really talk about it too much, except with my wife Terri.”
So how did he pick Jeremy to win it all, and eschew the most popular fan pick, 2013 Bracket Challenge Champion Regina Jaquess?
“I saw Jeremy ski at the 2013 Big Dawg finals and was obviously impressed,” said Michael, himself the 2012 Men’s 4 U.S. national champion. “I knew he was a very accomplished skier and when you watch him ski he just gets it done. I actually saw him at Nationals this year and told him I picked him to win it all and wished him luck.”
Asked what he was going to do with the $5,000, Michael said that since learning about his newfound largess he and his wife have been able to pull the trigger on a trip to the Bahamas this December to celebrate their 28th wedding anniversary.
While money was at stake in the online fan contest, pride was the prize in the actual, on-the-water Bracket Challenge.
In the Final Four, No. 1 seed Jeremy faced off against No. 5 Chad, while the other side of the frame featured No. 2 Jay vs. No. 3 Dave.
Both Chad and Jay, southern fellas that they are, struggled a bit early on in the cooler water temperature, something that Jeremy and Dave, who hail from England and Canada respectively, weren’t fazed by. Chad and Jay recovered though in the 3rd/4th place match-up, both running into 41 off with Jay edging Chad for third place by a buoy with 1 at 41 off.
In the final round, Jeremy stayed true to his No. 1 seed and beat Dave, 3 buoys to 1.5 at 41 off.