X Games Bring Extreme Sports And Music To Austin

Written by on June 26, 2014 in Gigs / Tours / Events, June 26, 2014, Live Reviews, News To Shout About! - Comments Off on X Games Bring Extreme Sports And Music To Austin

X Games

Austin, Texas is a unique city. No matter the time of year, citizens of and visitors to our fair city can attend any number of special events celebrating one thing or another. Three areas Austinites especially love to celebrate are music, sports, and the great outdoors, so what could be better than becoming the new home of an event that brings all three of these loves together into one giant party. That’s just what happened June 5th through 8th as “The Live Music Capital of The World” took on a whole new energy when many of the world’s top extreme sports athletes brought their “A-Game” to town for the first annual X Games Austin held at the 1,500 acre Formula One race facility, Circuit of The Americas. X Games

When most people hear the term “extreme sports” they think of crazy kids doing even crazier stunts on skateboards and bikes, but the X Games are so much more than that. We did see our fair share of kids doing unbelievable tricks on skateboards and BMX bikes, as well as many other incredible feats, but we also witnessed many more seasoned athletes showing the kids how it’s all done. We saw a 42 year old, a 47 year old and a 40 year old take home the Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals in BMX Vert. We witnessed experienced NASCAR driver Robby Gordon competing in the Stadium Super Trucks event while being challenged by a 14 year old kid who had to have his mother drive him to the race track because he isn’t old enough to obtain a regular driver’s license. We saw experienced four time Gold medalist, Bucky Lasek, fail to reach the podium in his “normal” event of Skateboard Vert, yet capture the Silver in his new challenge event, Rally Cross Racing. And these are only a sampling of the World Class talents vying for the Gold, Silver, and Bronze at the X Games Austin.

While the X Games brought a little bit of everything extreme to COTA, sporting events were not the only draw for these games. Keeping with Austin’s love for all things music, three stages were filled daily with both local and world renowned musical acts. Participants and attendees alike were treated to performances from Slightly Stoopid, Leopold and His Fiction, Black and White Years, Bad Religion, My Jerusalem, and Gary Clark Jr, to name a few. Headlining on Friday night was Pretty Lights. Saturday saw Kanye West take over the Austin 360 Amphitheater stage. Closing out the entire X Games festival, in true “Keep Austin Weird” style, Wayne Coyne and The Flaming Lips. In keeping with the spirit of competition during this weekend, a fan-voted band competition also took place, with the winning band receiving a $25,000 prize. X Games

The four days of fun and awe-inspiring events started on Thursday evening in downtown Austin where several major city thoroughfares had been shut down and a gigantic half pipe was built in front of the state capitol building for a free to the public event. Tony Hawk and some of his friends were first up to show Austin, and the world, what the X Games are all about. A crowd of approximately 12,000 enthusiastic fans showed up to cheer everyone on. After Tony and his friends demonstrated a few moves, it was time for the first competitions of the games, the Skateboard Vert and BMX Vert. The competitors had some great moves, but I’m not sure all of them were prepared for the summer-like mid 90 degree temperatures Central Texas was experiencing that day or our extremely high humidity. The Skateboard Vert Gold Medalist was Jimmy Wilkins, the youngest competitor to ever win in this category. The BMX Vert competition saw 42 year old Jamie Bestwick capture his 9th X Games gold medal.

On Friday, all of the action moved out to the spacious grounds of the Circuit of The Americas. After weeks of preparation, the state of the art Formula One race track had been transformed into an array of elaborate venues ready to host each competition. Friday’s events included BMX Street, Men’s Skateboard Street Eliminations, Men’s and Women’s Moto X Endurance, Men’s Moto X Best Whip and Step Up, and Skateboard Big Air competitions. Taking home Gold medals: Garrett Reynolds, BMX Street; Taddy Blazusiak, Men’s Moto X Endurance; Kacy Martinez, Women’s Moto X Endurance; Tom Parsons, Moto X Best Whip; Ronnie Renner, Moto X Step Up; Tom Schaar, Skateboard Big Air. Saturday brought huge crowds to witness the BMX Dirt, RallyCross, Skateboard Park, Moto X Speed and Style, and BMX Big Air competitions. Sadly, the Moto X Freestyle competition had to be canceled for safety reasons due to high winds. Gold Medalists included: Kyle Baldock, BMX Dirt; Scott Speed, RallyCross; Pedro Barros, Skateboard Park; Mike Mason, Moto X Speed and Style; Colton Satterfield, BMX Big Air.

X Games

Sunday might have been the final day of competition, but it was in no way short on excitement. Events included the BMX Park competition, the first ever X Games Stadium Super Trucks race, and the finals of both the Men’s and Women’s Skateboard Street competition. The day started out on a high note for a local man as Chase Hawk captured the Gold in BMX Park. Also receiving Gold Medals on the final day of X Games Austin were Apdaly Lopez for Stadium Super Trucks, Lacey Baker for Women’s Skateboard Street, and Nyjah Huston for men’s Skateboard Street.

The 160,000 plus attendees for the four days of sports and entertainment were also treated to many other family friendly activities in the festival villages which included a playground, next-generation skate park, a shopping galleria, a video gaming tournament, go-cart racing, a Texas themed area, and special displays from the X Games sponsors, including my favorite, America’s Navy.

Despite the warm temperatures, everyone seemed to have a great experience at the first X Games Austin. X Games has signed to return to Austin for at least three more years, through 2017, so if you didn’t have the opportunity to see these high-flying, death-defying, and a little bit crazy, but extremely talented, athletes compete this year, keep a look out for the dates for X Games Austin 2015. And if extreme sports aren’t your thing, remember, Austin is still the “Live Music Capital of The World.”

Review by Margy Moore
Photographs by Scott Moore/ Limelight Imaging