Vertical-sports carnival is part trade show, part contest.

With the new Disneyland annex under construction just across the street, the Anaheim Convention Center hosted another sort of festival in November when companies, kids, and competitors filled Hall D with booths, a street course, and a vert ramp. Invert ’99 was billed as a carnival combining the elements of a trade show and contests under one roof, and for three days it welcomed the public in for street and vert contests, concerts, events, and giveaways.

The focus of the show was definitely the skateboarding. With the street course sitting just inside the entrance, it was hard to miss. It was also hard not to notice some of skateboarding’s most famous names: Eric Koston, Bob Burnquist, Willy Santos, Chris Senn, Arto Saari, Ed Templeton, Chet Thomas, Jesse Paez, Andy Macdonald, and too many more to list. The street course’s slick concrete floor was coated with Coke for traction, and the ramps were less than ideal for a contest. But the crew on hand managed to put on a memorable show in both street and vert, with Jesse Paez winning the street contest, and Bob Burnquist taking vert.

10,000 people reportedly attended Invert ’99 over three days, but with the crowds scattered throughout the hall, it appeared that the place could accommodate many times more. For a twenty-dollar three-day pass, the “Vertical Sports Carnival” was quite a deal for the action-sports enthusiast. In addition to the skateboard contests, several bike events were held on dirt and obstacle courses.

About twenty skateboard companies were scattered among 130 snowboard, bike, and other exhibitors. Tum Yeto sponsored raffles at its booth all weekend, Sole Technology brought a basketball hoop and dunk tank, and World Industries sponsored the mechanical bull, which featured demos by the She Devils. The bull also figured into the skateboard contests, as two wildcard spots in the finals were awarded to the skaters with the longest bull rides.

The skateboard companies exhibiting at Invert ’99 report that the turnout was less than they expected, but thought the concept and execution of the show was good. Most believe the show will grow, and plan to return next year.

Despite the fact that Disneyland’s new roller-coaster park will be open just across the street, Invert ’00 returns to the Anaheim Convention Center November 17¿19. For more information, call the Huffman Group at: (714) 847-5003.