Update: Check out our photos from the first ever Austin X Games in the slideshow above. And see more on the KUTX Flickr page.
Original Story (June 6): The X Games are underway for the first time in Austin.
Most of the extreme sports events are happening at the Circuit of the Americas track.
Morgan Wade has competed in the X Games before. But this year will be different… because he’s practically a hometown boy.
“It’s always nice to have a hometown crowd cheering you on," Wade says. "It’s different than all the other places we’ve been, obviously, because Texas is bigger and better than everywhere else we’ve already been.”
Wade is from Tyler. He’s one of six Texas athletes set to compete in the games. He’s a BMX rider. Typically, he competes in events called BMX Park and Mega Ramp. But this year, he’s all about the Big Air.
“I’ve been really, really close to breaking the world record for the highest air and I can’t think of a better place to give it another shot," Wade says.
Wade says it’s a misconception that extreme sports only belong on the West coast.
“Here in Austin, it’s a hub for BMX especially but it’s also really big for skateboarding and, like, you drive down Congress and you’re going to see people on their skateboards, riding their skateboards, riding their bikes down the street and just enjoying doing what we do," Wade says.
Extreme motorsports legend Travis Pastrana agrees.
"You know you walk in and it’s, like, ‘Keep Austin Weird.’ You know, you’ve got the music culture, you’ve got all this stuff and it’s a little different but I think it’s great because Texas is a motorsport capitol," Pastrana says. "You’ve got Texas Motor Speedway, you’ve got the F1 track right here, this is awesome stuff.”
And Pastrana says those who haven’t had the chance to see the extreme sports up close and in person before… ought to take advantage of having the X Games in their backyard.
“I mean they say everything’s bigger in Texas but I mean the X Games stuff – I just looked at the dirt BMX course – I’m so disappointed because I’ve got to be driving my car at the same time as that’s going on but the course is so big!" Pastrana says. "If you haven’t seen the Mega Ramp, it’s something you have to check out. Even the vert ramp, when you see it on TV, you’re like, ‘oh that’s cool,’ but when you see it person you’re like, ‘that’s the vert ramp?’ That thing is 14/15 feet tall!”
The gates for the X Games open Friday morning at 11 o’clock out at the COTA track.
In full disclosure, KUT's sister station, KUTX, is a media sponsor of the X Games and is hosting a stage of Austin performers at the fest.