It was 68-degrees with rain in the forecast at Ohio's [R223R, Mad River Mountain] on December 27 when they hosted the fourth annual Louie Vito Rail Jam. The question in the mind of everybody was, "will contestants show up for a rail jam on a day better suited for flip-flops?" Yes they did to show support for Louie, and support a worthy cause.

Over 200 competitors, coming from as far away as California, eclipsed the 2007 record number by over 20-percent. It was a rocking good time reports MRM with tropical temperatures, plenty of manmade snow, plenty of food and drink, and a huge crowd of spectators that came out to see a hometown hero and one of the top pro snowboarders in the world. There were over 300 Louie Vito fanatics that stuck around for the awards ceremony at the end of the day.

There is no entry fee for this great event, just the donation of a nonperishable food item or paper product that goes to St. Vincent DePaul's Food Pantry for the needy. The awards ceremony rose over $2,000 when Louie decided to raffle off a Kicker digital stereo system and one of his signature snowboards. He gave lots of time to young aspiring riders; posing for pictures, signing their latest Snowboarder Magazine and giving riding tips to those that asked.

"This event will continue to grow, thanks to Louie and his generous sponsors," said Mad River's new GM Josh Faber. "This was an example of a 20-year-old young man, wise for his years, showing us all how to give back and remembering where he came from."

I would agree. Louie Vito ranks high on my list of Midwest hometown heroes.