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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Couches, tricycles, and more flip out at Nitro Circus Live

    Sam Gross

    The biggest names in action sports were here at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds last night for the beginning of the Nitro Circus Live tour in the United States. Featuring X Games medalist Colton Satterfield, the number-one freestyle motocross athlete from South America, Javier Villegas, motocross rider Nate Adams and many more amazing athletes, Nitro Circus was bigger and better than ever before.

    The event began with an emotional tribute to Erik Roner, a former Nitro Circus athlete that died in a skydiving accident last September. This did not dampen the mood, though — the crowd celebrated his past antics with enormous cheers.

    The athletes did not miss a beat in showing off what Nitro Circus is all about. Bikers did tail whips, backflips, whips, Supermans and even one trick called the stripper. If all that wasn’t crazy enough, there were athletes flying down a ramp on inline roller skates, a snowboard, skis and a scooter.

    Nitro Circus embraced the circus aspect of its name, including ridiculous contraptions that athletes somehow managed to ride, including sending a man in a reclining chair down a ramp and hoping it would land on its wheels, which it didn’t. Grown men also rode bikes from the 1800s. Wake Schepman managed to perfectly land a jump off the Giganta ramp, sporting an inflatable ball suit and inline skates.

    One of the most touching stories shared at this event was that of Bruce Cook. Cook crashed on his dirt bike when he toured with Nitro Circus back in 2014. The crash left him paralyzed, but this didn’t stop him from living out his passion for FMX. He modified his bike in a way that allowed him to ride again. He didn’t just ride it: He did a freaking backflip on it.

    Nitro Circus loved its crowd so much that it picked volunteers to be a part of the show. The first two volunteers, Robert and Quinn, did a backflip with three men on a single motorbike. The two inexperienced riders sat together on the same bike with professional Beau Bamburg sandwiched between them.

    If this wasn’t scary enough, Nitro Circus screened past failures of the same trick before Bamburg and the volunteers would attempt the backflip. One such failure resulted in an unfortunate volunteer’s broken jaw. Another clip showed the reaction of a volunteer from Friday night’s show in Albuquerque, in which a man jumped off the bike in complete terror and ran off the field. The trio still did the three-man backflip in Tucson and landed it with (almost) no imperfections.

    The third volunteer, Kenny, was involved in a backflip on a BMX bike, clutching for dear life to X Games gold medalist Morgan Wade. It didn’t work out. Kenny was fine and walked away extremely shaken, but unscathed by the death-defying stunt he was just a part of.

    Nitro Circus provided many small contests and acts within the event, including one called “Rest of the World vs USA”, in which all of the foreign riders competed against native riders in back to back tricks, each one better than the last. Team USA won, of course.

    The show ended with a Nitro Bomb, in which every rider threw tricks down at the same time in quick succession. The skill and coordination required to put on this adrenaline-rushing event proves Nitro Circus is like no other sporting event around.

    Follow Monica Kothe on Twitter.

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