By Leigh Ramsdell, Mongoose Sports Marketing Manager
X Games California 2023 is in the books and what an event it was! It’s been a while since the X Games were in front of a live audience, which made this one extra special. The location for the main event was at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, which has hosted other action packed events like the Vans Warped Tour!
The first BMX event to take place was down the road at the SloanYard for Mega Park. Mongoose pro Mykel Larrin competed in the event and brought his impressive style while throwing big moves like an over clicked lookback on the big quarter pipe, a 720 over the box, and one of the best downside whips in the business. Mykel finished an impressive 5th with Ryan Williams taking home the gold.
Back at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, Kevin Peraza competed in the first of four BMX events with the BMX Dirt Qualifiers. Unfortunately Kevin had a few crashes and didn’t make the main event, but his X Games was far from over. Later that same day was BMX Street. While a lot of people might not think of Kevin Peraza as a street rider, you can never discount his bike skills on any type of course! Even Kevin said, “I know my style of street riding is a little bit different from the technical side of street riding.”
But that course really suited Kevin and he was able to throw down a nonstop run with back-to-back moves ending with a big wallride and a 180 flair over the hip obstacle. And his run was enough to take X Games BMX Street Gold! “I just went in having a good time,” said Kevin. “You never know if your style of riding will win or not. I never timed my run. It was only a 45 second run, so I didn’t know if the last few things I had in mind were even going to count – so when I was on my last two hits [that I didn’t know would make it] I looked at the clock and saw I had ten seconds and I said, ‘oh boy, it’s now or never!’”
With that win Kevin made X Games history as the first rider to win a Gold Medal in BMX Dirt (2016), Park (2017, 2021) and now Street! But Kevin’s X Games was just getting warmed up. He still had BMX Park and The Dave Mirra BMX Best Trick to go – and go he went! Kevin was leading the pack in BMX Park for most of the event with his unique use of the entire course all while doing big stylish moves, including a switch tailwhip off of the massive pergola separating the two sections of the course. Gold was insight for Kevin, but Jose Torres had something to say about that with his final run doing massively difficult tricks to the moon putting him on top of the podium. Kevin in true Peraza fashion was very happy for him, and was stoked to take home a Silver Medal!
The final BMX event of the 2023 X Games was the Dave Mirra BMX Park Best Trick. Before the event Kevin told me what he was planning to do, which both excited and scared me. But my faith in knowing what Kevin is capable of is on another level. For Kevin’s first try he pulled a perfect 180 flair over the box jump! While an impressive move I knew that wasn’t what he had in mind. He just wanted to get a trick on the board. For his second attempt Kevin did what he came to do… He jumped up on the big pergola (landing a little sketchy) and did a perfect 360 tailwhip into the transition 10 feet below! That put him in first and kept him there as rider after rider tried to knock him out of first!
Kevin said this about making X Games history. “It hasn’t set in but it’s a pretty incredible achievement. I never imagined it happening, but you’re definitely chasing. I think when you really just go out there and do you and have fun and forget that it’s a contest, everything just falls into place. Just being back at an X Games with fans is so cool. My family’s here and it just feels special.”
A huge congratulations from Mongoose to both Mykel and Kevin for representing the brand and BMX in such a gracious and positive light! It was bittersweet not having their friend and teammate Pat Casey there, but Pat’s family was on hand cheering everyone on and Reid was even able to ride to course after the event! It won’t be long until Reid Casey is up there competing with Kevin!