By Leigh Ramsdell, Mongoose Team Manager
U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis is home to the Minnesota Vikings, but for a few days a year it hosts the biggest event in action sports - the X Games. From August 1st through the 4th the stadium was filled with motocross, skateboarding and our favorite, BMX! Mongoose was fortunate enough to have three athletes representing the brand this year with Ben Wallace, Pat Casey and Kevin Peraza. All three pros were competing in BMX Dirt, with Pat and Kevin also competing in Park and Hard Trick. It was weird not having Nikita Ducarroz and the women of BMX there, and we hope to see a Women’s Park event in 2020.
Up first was Dirt qualifiers, which took place before the event was open to the public. It’s always a little strange having an event at this level without a crowd on hand, but there were plenty of friends and family in the stands cheering everyone on. Kevin Peraza had a good first run full of style and original moves like a 270 tailwhip out of the shark fin berm feature, and his downside whip three-sixty to can-can. He had a little bobble in his first run that had him just outside qualifying points and on his second run a slip up threw him off the course into the scaffolding, but in true Kevin fashion he walked away with a smile despite being banged up some. Next up was Pat Casey who did a three-sixty tailwhip to onehanded table-top, barspin three-sixty to tailwhip, and a Cash roll (a 180 off the lip to 180 backflip in the air). He had some solid runs but was also just outside the bubble to make it into the finals. The final Mongoose rider was Ben Wallace who put down an amazing run! His run was a three-sixty x-up to lookback, a corked-out 720, flip whip on the step-up, a tailwhip out of the shark fin and ending with a silky-smooth three-sixty double downside whip. This put him in third, qualifying him for the main event!
BMX Park was next for Kevin and Pat and this event was open to the public! The format was different than past events, and the riders were not giving a numerical value for their runs. Instead it was two six-man heats and the top three from each heat went on to a super-final. Kevin was still feeling a little rough from his dirt crash and didn’t make it out of the first six-man heat, but still threw down some great stuff to leave a lasting impression like his big superman seatgrabs and his tech wizardry on the park course! Pat put his own spin on the course with big wallrides to tailwhips, 180 tailwhip over the spine ramp and barspin flairs but was just edged out of his group.
Right after Park was the Dirt contest and Ben Wallace was pumped up to do his runs! In his first run he didn’t click his first trick perfectly, so he kept it pretty mellow the rest of the run. But his second run was on fire! He started with a three-sixty x-up to lookback, then a corked-out 720, straight into a flip whip on the step-up, tailwhipped out of the shark fin, and ended with a perfect three-sixty Triple downside whip. He landed the three-sixty triple downside whip so good that some of the judges must have missed it, so when his score came out you could say we were surprised. Either way that run is one to remember, and we’re pumped that he got it done! Congrats to Logan Martin for winning both the Park and Dirt event! He rode amazing!
The last event of the X Games for BMX was Dave Mirra’s Best Trick and that was a good one to end it with! Both Pat and Kevin were in this stacked eight-man finals and both has some amazing tricks to put on the line. Kevin started with a double barspin 180 onto the sub box, and did a 180 tailwhip back into the ramp! This put him in the lead after the first runs were done. Pat went for a double tailwhip out of the wall ride, and on his second attempt he crashed so hard and amazingly got right back up! I’m pretty sure I’d still be laying on the ground after that one… The last thing Kevin went for was a backflip tailwhip 180 over the spine! He just slipped out on the roll back, but time was up, and the win deservingly went to Mike Varga with a tailwhip in the middle of a 900 air!
The 2019 X Games are finished, and we are proud of how Kevin, Pat and Ben rode and represented Mongoose and BMX to the world! Now, I’m going riding! -Leigh Ramsdell.