Nearly 900 people made it out to the iconic Boulder Theater this past Thursday, December 5th for the first-ever ROAM Awards. It was the “Oscars” of adventure, the largest visual differentiation being the lack of gowns and tuxes, and instead, colorful down jackets, flannels, and beanies. The night was a celebration of the 15 winners and 45 finalists who entered a photo, video, or essay across the five categories: Awe, Thrill, Discovery, Lessons, and Purpose.
Guests from all over the world lined up outside the theater, among the snow flurries, waiting until doors opened promptly at 6:30 pm. Once opened, guests got a turn at their 15 seconds of fame, walking the red carpet to get their picture taken before heading to the sponsor tables.
Newday amassed a crowd at their table for an Ikon pass giveaway. Goodr gave away a sweet customized pair of polarized sunglasses to those who spent over fifty bucks at the ROAM merch table. On top of the awesome swag from generous sponsors, attendees got the chance to meet ROAM Founding Member, Chris Burkard, and purchase an autographed copy of his new book before the show.
When the announcer introduced the host of the night, snowboarder Travis Rice, the crowd roared with applause (many of whom came for the World Premiere of Travis’ new film, “Dark Matter,” which played at the end of the ceremony).
Travis Rice ran in from the back of the house, full of energy. He gave audience members high fives. Sitting closer to the stage were his buddies and fellow Founding Members, Andy Best, Chris Burkard, and Cory Richards. Travis stopped to say hello to each of them before going on stage.
“Not every ROAM Founding Member was able to make it to Boulder,” Travis explained. Right then and there Jimmy Chin and Jeremy Jones flashed on-screen atop surfboards to wish Travis some luck and give their apologies for not being there. Travis playfully returned saying, “they don’t look too sorry, do they?” to which the crowd laughed.
Founder and CEO of ROAM, Christopher Jerard, was introduced, giving a heartfelt speech on ROAM’s mission of adventure with purpose. The ROAM Awards itself was created “to identify, amplify and celebrate these emerging storytellers.” Christopher asked, “who will be the next Jimmy Chin and where will she come from?” Whistles and cheers sprung from the crowd. “What new visions will she expose us to, and how will they help transform old ways of thinking?” he further questioned.
The close to 3,000 submissions were narrowed down to 15 winners by the work of the judges, Sasha DiGiulian, Chase Jarvis, and Rhonda Rubinstein, to name a few. Each winner got the chance to speak on stage after being presented with their physical ROAM award by one of the judges. The responses were varied, but all, immensely grateful. Co-winners of the Thrill category for video, Gilad Hila Avnat and Stav Nahoum from Israel, sang and beatboxed a crowd-pleasing “thank-you” song. Cliff Kapono, winner of Purpose category for video, gave a memorable ode to his home, the Hawaiian Islands, urging everyone to protect vulnerable places and communities. Roie Galitz, also from Israel, won the Lessons category for his stunning photo of a polar bear standing behind a camera lens. His passion and call to action is to protect these (and all) beautiful, yet threatened creatures. Noah Kaplan, writer of the winning Lessons essay and Denver high school teacher, encouraged all of us to find classrooms wherever we may roam.
The five categories attracted nearly 3,000 submissions, representing 50 different countries. It was a powerful demonstration that the awe we feel, thrill we seek, discovery we encounter, lessons we learn, and purpose we find are themes that speak to all who participate in adventure, no matter where we hail from. With a combined reach of over 20 million followers, it was the first time ROAM has given this digital community a physical space to gather and connect with others. Audience members left the theater feeling inspired and motivated. To quote Founder and CEO, Christopher Jerard, “And we are just getting started. Much more to come.”