Pannonian Connecting People

An ever­beautiful story without end

Be it a result of the local spirit or just the sheer energy it transmits, Pannonian Challenge is so much more than just a festival. The symptoms which indicate the case of the PC fever are very easy to spot: the countdown and febrile knees, teeth grinding amid the competition, never­ending dancing even after the after party.

Pannonian brings people together and strengthens friendships, advances love between new people and writes beautiful stories. I’m here to tell you one of those stories.

Two years ago, in the dead of night, by accident and while holding my beer, I met a friend.

Janko Božović comes from Kragujevac and is currently studying sound mixing and editing at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts. He’s simply in love with sounds and music, but is also very fond of extreme sports. He’ll soon turn 24, and in all those years he managed to gather a lot of experience and memories, with Pannonian being among those beautiful ones.

When did this love for extreme sports appear? How? Why? What’s your favorite discipline?
Well, Serbia’s extreme sports scene of the 2000s was quite good. I was actually introduced to it in 2006 because my brother knew a couple of guys who were into MTB. That’s when I decided that I also wanted to try it out. I found it very interesting and fascinating. I started scrambling my bike and got to know a lot of new people, including Nikola (Scoobi), who was, in a way, a teacher of mine. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have the bike I own today, so I’ll use this opportunity to send him my gratitude and regards!

Your love of the extreme is obvious, but who/what introduced you to Pannonian?
When we were kids, Scooby used to talk a lot about PC. He even visited PC one year, and, out of all the stories he told, I realized that it wasn’t only a place of serious competition with riders from all of Balkan countries, but also a great way to meet new people, to hang out with them and just, you know, have fun. It has been my dream to visit Pannonian ever since. I was still a kid back then, though, and it wasn’t easy to travel abroad. The finances, parents, the trip…

When did you first attend the festival? What was the trip like? What about your stay?
It was in 2012. August. So, we have Scooby on the phone, asking me these words I’ll simply never forget: ‘You coming with me to Osijek?’ And then there’s me, replying with: ‘When, dude?’ His answer? ‘Today.’ The scene moves to my mother, now in shock, and let me go with him. She finally allows it and I’m about to burst with joy!

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We visited only the final day of the competition which was slated for BMX and MTB dirt. PC was still being held at Srednjika and, upon entering, you could just feel this positive energy exuding. I had never seen so many people sharing a common interest. So, we’re there, casually strolling, when all of a sudden, here comes DANIEL DHEERS! Now, this was the guy whose performances I enjoyed even when I watched them on clips. He was one of my idols, so I definitely wanted to meet him; I eventually did, and, thank God, I even took a photo of us two. 😀

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BMX competition followed shortly thereafter and I simply couldn’t hide my excitement. It’s not the same when you watch tricks being performed on clips and tricks being performed live. This was the case with superflip, and it literally sent shivers down my spine.

Nightfall. The entire event shifts into a massive party. All these people, riders, organizers, volunteers… All in one place, partying until not being able to stand straight.

Have your brought some of your friends along? Throughout all these years, who’d you meet?
You bet I did! After I had witnessed the energy of this festival first­hand, I promised myself I’d go every year, no matter what. Upon my return I met with the guys I usually ride with and immediately started to recount all the people I met and all the memories I acquired. Snoopi, whom we mentioned before, hails from Kragujevac, and he accompanied me here in 2013. In my humble opinion, that was one of the best PCs I’ve ever visited. My best friends Nataša, originally from Novi Sad, and Marija Ilić, hailing from Belgrade, but originally also from Kragujevac, soon came along. I don’t even want to start counting all the people I’ve met during these four years I’ve been visiting. To be frank, I miss a lot of them and the one thing that I want is to spend more time with them. Unfortunately, there’s an entire border between us, so our meetings are limited to the time when Pannonian takes place. As soon as I acquire more money and free my schedule, I’d like to visit Osijek annually, not just when Pannonian is held.

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Can you recall some of your favorite moments and memories from previous PCs?
Every PC is basically one beautiful memory, so it’s kind of impossible for me to single out one of them. There are things that happen, and you simply want them to forever be stuck in your head. Some of the examples include Snoopi sleeping on the floor in the middle of a party, flooded tents amid the camp, Dheers’ cash roll, fun at Drava river and so much more! Too many of them!

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Did you have some time to visit the rest of the town? How do you like it?
Oh, the town is beautiful! Simply beautiful. Especially the old town. People are very nice and friendly, and there’s this serenity to it – everyone’s just smiling and riding their bikes.

What are your expectations from the upcoming PCs?
It just gets better every year. This is something I was able to see with my own eyes during these years of my visit. It grows every single year – with new, better riders and great performers.

What makes Pannonian awesome is…
…this immense positive energy it exudes! It’s all about hanging out with these incredible people, be it while seriously competing or just having a blast at one of the parties.

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