The fun and my path to a caffeine overdose (thank you Monster for sponsoring this event and providing complimentary drinks for the press to keep us going) continued on Saturday at the US bank Stadium for the X Games. Having spent majority of my Friday in the comfort of the press box, I decided that my goal on Saturday would be to take advantage of the great viewing areas given to the press and maybe even talk to some people.
While many were probably still slowly getting ready, the Moto X riders started their Step Up event. Not familiar with Step Up? Think of a track and field high jump…….just add a few hundred pounds of dirt bike……jump 40 or so feet……from top of a vertical ramp……oh, and there is no cushion to land on, just some nice Minnesota dirt. Speaking of which, our dirt is apparently superior to dirt in LA, the riders seemed to like it. Australia’s Jarryd McNeil continued his dominance winning for the 3rd straight year. Bryce Hudson did not win a medal but walked away with probably the biggest price of the games. His girlfriend Courtney accepted his proposal during an interview on the big screen.
LifeProof Moto X Step Up
Words don’t even begin to the scribe the feeling you get when you can literally feel the breeze from the athletes as they zoom by you. There’s a sense of electricity that flows through your body as you give these superstars high fives as they ride past you after a successful or unsuccessful ride. Although I didn’t know much about the players as they rolled by ,e, it was easy to tell the crowd favorites just from being in the thick of it. That being said, the amount of supportive had for everyone is truly impressive. It didn’t matter who you were there to cheer for or who’s posse you were a part of. As soon as someone finished a run, you were clapping and reaching your arm out for a coveted high five.
Toyota Men’s Skateboard Park Final
Although most people walked away with scores in their heads, I think the biggest thing I walked away with was the whole “never give up and chase your dreams” thing. Between races and rounds, videos about some of the athletes would roll on the jumbo-trons. Watching and listening to them really helped make them human, not superhuman like they appear when they are flying through the air. Hearing about countless injuries that these athletes have pushed through is nothing short of motivational.
SoFi Women’s Skateboard Street Final
The X-Games are definitely a global event. I met people from Australia, Brazil, Japan and everywhere in between. That being said, there was no shortage of locals in this weekends competitions. New Richmond, WI native Colton Walker killed it on the BMX dirt finals. Although he didn’t win gold (losing to Brandon Loupos from Australia) there was a hometown pride fever that raced through the crowd as he placed fourth in the competition. That same pride was felt whenever one of the many Midwest athletes took to a course. Although they may not directly be from the Twin Cities, they are still considered local to us and every last one of them made every Midwesterner in the crowd very, very proud.
Fruit of the Loom BMX Dirt Final
Beyond this being a global event, it’s an event that attracts all ages. That was clear on Friday with the Next X crew of youngsters that absolutely nailed it in their events but it was also true when it came to the high flying events like the final Saturday event- The Big Air Final. I wasn’t surprised to see the 20 somethings flying through the air but when 14 year old Toby Ryan took to the ramp, I couldn’t help but fully support him and his endeavors. Although he didn’t quite make it to the top three, his seventh place spot was fought for and well deserved when it was all said and done.
Moto X Best Whip Final
Monster Energy Moto X Best Trick Final
There were a bunch of high flying events on Friday but the one that had me captivated the most was the final event- The Real Cost Skateboard Big Air Final. This was an event with skateboarders would zoom down the giant ramp that nearly reached the top bowl of the stadium, did an impressive trick over a giant gap and ended with speeding up a half pipe for another jaw-dropping trick. Although not all of the athletes were able to complete the course and get to the half pipe, everyone’s run ended in a roar of applause from the thousands of people watching. It was the moments when the riders were able to nail the landing that things went absolutely crazy. I know I talk about the electricity I feel at concerts when a band absolutely nails a set but that doesn’t compare at all to the electricity that flowed through the stadium when one of the riders would nail their stunts. After just a couple of runs, I found myself putting my phone and camera back in my bag just so I could join in in the enthusiastic clapping and cheering everyone around me was doing.
The Real Cost Skateboard Big Air Final
After the jaw-dropping stunts from the Big Air Final, thousands of fans made the short walk to the Armory to see the one and only Ice Cube with local Brother Ali as the opening act. The move was swift and well organized and, even with a slight delay in the show, went off without a hitch. Brother Ali wowed the crowd with his local and oh so honest vibes. Although a quick set, he packed a punch and if you didn’t know his name when walking to the Armory last night, you definitely knew it when you left. Closing out the night/ early morning was Ice Cube who really needs no introduction or words said. His iconic performance left the nearly (or quite possible definitely did) sold out crowd in awe. It was banger after banger for Ice Cube’s set and even though I was beyond exhausted and my feet were more than hurting (What’s the saying? My dogs they were a’barkin’?) I just didn’t want it to end.
I was dumped onto the dark streets of Minneapolis in the wee hours of the morning with a giant smile on my face. Due to Warped Tour, I won’t be making it out for the final day of The X-Games but am definitely honored to have had the opportunity to spend two full days at this amazing event. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it until the end of time- Minneapolis is an amazing place with truly great events. Living here will never get old to me.