The Quebec Open is always talked about in fond tones. From the spectacular night show to the inclusive feel, it’s an event that has a different flavor than many other events. Claire Concozza, David Bossinotte, and Samuel Gagnon hosted the 2019 Quebec Open, on April 26th and 27th held at PEPS, Laval University in Quebec City, a place with a unique combination of history and modern flair living side by side. This blend of tradition and innovation defines the Quebec Open.

Friday night started with the WACO eliminations. There were some solid fights that later went to stage on Saturday night, but it also slowed the rest of the tournament just a little bit. Though some divisions ran quickly and smoothly, there were several, team division in particular that were delayed several hours throughout the course of the evening. Some of this was due to the good fortune of having some truly awesome youth divsions for traditional challenge and CMX, but it did cause a slowdown throughout the evening.   However, the issues were handled with aplomb and clear communication and Friday night ended a little later than everyone expected, but with good spirits.

Saturday started smoothly and continued with none of the slowdowns seen the previous night. Eliminations showcased some truly talented competitors, and throughout the whole event was a sense of goodwill and comradery that isn’t always present at large events. Part of it could be the set up of the Quebec Open, the rings are quite close together and competitors tend to stay pretty localized within their areas, or part of it could be the Canadian positivity, whatever the reason, the Quebec Open showcased some of the best talent in the world, and did it with a sense of inclusivity and acceptance that was wonderful to be a part of.

The Quebec Open is known for it’s Night Show. It’s the metric to which all other night shows are held. Open to the public, the Quebec Open’s show has more of a dramatic and entertainment flair than many others. It’s showcasing top athletes at their best, but it’s also creating an experience for people to enjoy. It’s a fine line, but one that David Bossinotte, Claire Concozza, and Samuel Gagnon have perfected. After the opening demo, the promoters introduced their event and thanked everyone for coming. In three languages. David in French, Claire in English, and Samuel in Spanish, though he was a little more concise than the other two. It was a beautiful effort that really highlighted the inclusive thrust of the Quebec Open, from the Handicapped divisions to the polylingual introductions, everyone was making an effort to make sure EVERYONE was able to participate and be a part of something.

The night started off with Madison Magnotta wowing the crowd with her win in 13 and Under Girls Weapons and Gabriel Bastian was up next, having beat out all the other competitors in his division for 13 and Under Boys Weapons, he was the only one on stage, but instead of taking the easy route with a safe form, he pushed the limit and started a trend that continued throughout many of the performances of the evening, he dropped.

Isabella Niccoli took the stage next and claimed the 13 and Under girls overall with her phenomenal performance while Gabriel Bastien won both 13 and Under Traditional and Creative Weapons Grands.

Gabriel Butterfield was up next for the grands for 14-17 traditional forms while Esteban Tremblay electrified the crowd with his performance, securing his win for 14-17 Boys Overall Weapons.

Mason Stowell dominated the stage, winning the 14-17 Boys overall while Noell Jellison secured another win in the 14-17 Girls overall.  Ariel Torres took the Grands for Mens Traditional with his customary dynanicism while Melissa Belillargeon took Women’s Overall with her superbly clean traditional kata. Allen Davies brought the fire with his performance, wowing the crowd and acrobatically securing his win for 18+ Mens CMX forms

14-17 Boys WAKO was a local rivalry, Patrick Gourde of Quebec versus David Martin of Ontario. There was plenty of cheering for both sides, and Patrick Gourde was able to take the title amidst massive cheering and support.

There was an intermission for a trick battle between Mason Stowell and Allen Davies. Both competitors are at the top of their game, and you could tell they were having a lot of fun. David Bossinote MC’d the event, and in the final round things were getting a little heated and both competitors removed their shirts to David’s tongue in cheek comment “No one wants to see that.” Allen Davies was able to win the battle by apparently defying gravity, while Mason Stowell gave it his best effort, but wasn’t quite able to match. It was an incredible demonstration by both, and the crowd loved it.

This was followed by a weapons trick battle between Esteban Tremblay and PJ Clark. It was a game of add on, seeing how many spins each competitor could complete between releasing the bo and catching it again. Five was the magic number that Esteban almost snagged, and PJ was able to catch.

Up next was Boys Team Synchro with Team Infinity versus Team AKA. Both teams put on a killer performance, but Team AKA was able to edge out the win over Team Infinity.

Infinity was back on stage for Synchro Weapons with Team Competitive Edge. Both teams dropped but Team Infinity took the win as their routine was more creative and showed some truly innovative transitions and tricks that Competitive Edge, while very good, just didn’t have for that performance.

Boys Team Synchro was a grudge match between Team Infinity and Team AKA. Both teams put on a killer performance, but Team AKA was able to edge out the win over Team Infinity and claim the title. Team Infinity Stayed on Stage for Team Demo. Doing a victory lap of the division by showcasing their winning Demo from Friday night. They wowed the crowd with their customary style and panache with Mike Welch leading the group through a technically challenging, and hugely entertaining demonstration.

Phillipe Sneddon and Florent Fortier both took the stage for the Alternatively Abled Division and received some of the biggest support the crowd had given all night. Despite two great performances, Phillipe Sneddon took the win with a new form!

For sparring, Ki’Tana Everett led the fight for Women’s Point Grands at the end of round one with a 6-3 lead. She further secured it in round two, ending the match with a definitive win of 11-5. In Men’s Lightweight Sparring, Robbie Lavoie tied the match 5-5 at the end of round one, then edged a comfortable lead over his opponent in round two, claiming the title and proving that he’s one of the best around. 18+ Heavy Weight Men’s was won by Brandon Ballou with an electrifying round against Carlos Najam that traded points for two rounds, finally finishing at 15-13 Ballou.

For the final events of the evening, Sammy Smith took to the stage with a focus that won her the 18+ Overall for Women’s Weapons while Shahin Jahanvash took 18+ Men’s Traditional Weapons. Jackson Rudolph wowed the audience with his customary power and energy, securing his 4th straight CMX Weapons grands this year and cementing a strong start to his 2019 NASKA season.

This years’ Quebec Open was a statement of acceptance. All competitors, regardless of age, ability level, or experience, were treated to a first-rate event that showcased some of the best talent in the world in one of the best night shows on the circuit. But, more than that, the Quebec Open brought a sense of familiarity and welcome to everyone who stepped through the door. From extra divisions to the tri-lingual message of thanks to everyone for coming, the Quebec Open once again validated its reputation as a quality event and proved that it is definitely worth all the hype.


Corwin Holzman