Who I Think Should Ride In The 2016 X Games

The X Games. I grew up on this convoluted event and I'm sure many of you reading this did, as well. It's corny, it's over the top, and it's nothing like the BMX you, I, or the pros that are in the event ride on a daily basis. It was never supposed to, nor does it pretend to be. It began as a TV show and each year, that television show evolves…

With that said, I respect the X Games for what it was, is, and does for BMX. It's not perfect, but I sure as hell could not do any better. And, I do appreciate the fact that they poll both riders and industry alike to get our opinion. As I sat on a plane looking at the NORA Cup results, contest results around the world, and racking my brain, I figured I would share my nominees. Not exactly sure why. And I’m not sure that you tremendously care, but I do think this is important.

I do know that I probably forgot someone and that, more than likely, my choices do not completely line up with your choices. I did my best and they may not be completely unbiased and surely not perfect... Unfortunately, I don't know if the results from the 235+ ballots have any significant bearing versus the "competition results, overall experience and other activities such as video parts, etc." that also come into play. But, I've taken this nomination ballot rather seriously in the last two years. So let's get down to it...

The 2006 X Games course, jam packed...

The 2006 X Games course, jam packed…

 

Special note:

The nomination ballot is weighted. So if there are ten nominations available, the first rider listed gets ten points and the rider in the tenth spot gets one point. So, if I strongly believe that one particular rider belongs in the X Games, I list him first. Just because I list a person last doesn't mean that I don't think belong in the event, but that they don't necessarily need my help to be in it. At least that's how I run it...

 

Judges

For the last two years, we've been able to nominate judges. Which is probably a response to some of the recent outcries of favoritism and a lack of structure. I personally feel that having the right judges is essential as having the right riders in the event. If you haven't ridden in the last few years and are not current with what's happening in BMX today, then you shouldn't be judging what's supposed to be the most important, progressive event of the year. I can think of several judges in the past couple years who I feel fall into this category. So with that, here are my judges. One of the rules (at least last year) was that you can't be a team manager and have one of your riders in that specific event. Which is fair to a point...but what about team mates? Ex team mates? People employed by brands in other positions? BMX is relatively small in this aspect to maintain a complete unbiased judging panel. So, for my votes, I tried to pick people that I personally know are level-headed, objective, and current with what's happening in BMX today.

 

Big Air Judges

Spare Keith, none of these dudes have ever jumped a Mega Ramp, but I believe they're all of sound mind to equally weigh the difference between several upside down tailwhips eight feet out of a quarter versus a 23 foot invert out of the same ramp... [Edit: Clay Brown has jumped Mega, too. Sorry Clay!]

  1. Jeff Zielinski
  2. Jay Roe
  3. Keith Mulligan
  4. Clay Brown
  5. Van Homan

Dirt Judges

  1. Rob Dolecki
  2. Keith Mulligan
  3. Adam Watkins
  4. Clay Brown
  5. Jay Roe

Park Judges

  1. Keith Mulligan
  2. Jeff Zielinski
  3. Jay Roe
  4. Dave Brumlow
  5. Clay Brown

Street Judges

  1. Jeff Zielinski
  2. Van Homan
  3. Jay Roe
  4. Kurt Hohberger
  5. Keith Treanor

Vert Judges

  1. Keith Mulligan
  2. Dave Brumlow
  3. Jeff Zielinski
  4. Keith Treanor
  5. Kurt Hohberger

 

 

Kevin Peraza in 2015...

Kevin Peraza in 2015… Photo: Fudger

 

Park

This will probably be the most controversial category, as the verbiage in the e-mail states that this will no longer be a bowl event and moved to a more traditional X Games/Dew Tour style course. While I'm a bit torn on the idea, I do think that, at the end of the day, the bowl format was just weird. It was consistently hard to judge someone like Sergio Layos versus Daniel Sandoval--to the point where the confusion kind of sucked the life out of it. The trick dudes were salty they couldn't do tricks in fear of losing their flow and the style dudes were putting in tricks where they normally wouldn't. No one seemingly rode the course like they wanted to...except maybe Sergio.

I don't know if the change is better, worse, regressive, or progressive...but I do find myself interested to see X Games harken back to the old days where you could potentially see a never-before-seen trick. It's the polar opposite of the way I ride, but an event like X Games isn't in a place where you have to explain the nuances of why someone's riding is amazing to the masses. It's never been. They tried and obviously it didn't work for them.

It was really hard to narrow down my nominations to just 12 when I don't entirely know what to expect from the course. I attempted to be well-rounded; a couple of trick machines (while leaving a few obvious ones out for the sake of diversity), a couple of bowl riders that rode the course amazing last year and should be invited back solely based off of that, and a couple of adaptive riders who basically will kill the course if it's three box jumps and a sub rail or some Nate Wessel organic vessel of a course.

 

Prequalified: Daniel Sandoval, Dennis Enarson, and Scotty Cranmer

  1. Kriss Kyle - I consider it a massive injustice that Kriss hasn't seen an X Games stateside.
  2. Larry Edgar - Larry just won a stacked event in Russia with tons of dudes doing triple whips and flair variations and I believe he'll bring a different element to the course. He may not win the event, but he'll make the highlight vids...
  3. Gary Young – Suck it if you think this is a bad choice.
  4. Nick Bruce - The new school park beast. Nick has been absolutely killing it at every park event in the world over the last year.
  5. Drew Bezanson - Borderline death wish or not, Drew hasn't had a course at X Games that he can shine on.
  6. Andreev Kostya - The Russian machine. There's no way in hell Andreev would do well in last year's format, but maybe this would be his breakout event stateside.
  7. Jason Watts - Boss. Blasts, has style, and can do all the tricks you want.
  8. Mike Varga - Mike is one of the new generation park dudes killing it, as well.
  9. Sergio Layos - Sergio rode the X Games like no one else last year. He absolutely destroyed the entire event and I think he's capable of doing well on any course in front of him.
  10. Kevin Peraza - I think Kevin has pretty much choked at every X Games, but he still has the potential to not only do well, but win it.
  11. Kyle Baldock - Staple...I assume he'll be in there.
  12. Chase Hawk - Again, I assume Chase will be in there. I also assume that this course will not suit his riding whatsoever and he'll be pretty bummed at the format change.

 

A tiny Colton Satterfield is in there somewhere. Photo: Fudger

A tiny Colton Satterfield is in there somewhere. Photo: Fudger

Big Air

Honestly, I could really give a shit about Big Air. All respect due to the riders who do wild stuff on the massive ramp, but it has zero representation in the real world and is basically a manufactured event (Big Air Doubles??) to get beer-guzzling Nascar fans to stare at the TV waiting for someone to fall down and go boom.

 

Pre-Qualified: Colton Satterfield, Morgan Wade, and Mykel Larrin

  1. Pat "Big Daddy" Laughlin - Please reference my "special note" to see why he's listed first. Pat will go hard or die trying. And if this shit is about entertainment, then let's bring the man into the fold.
  2. Ryan Williams - Scooter man was rolling around X Games with his scooter and bike in hand all over the place last year and apparently did some wild, un-sanctioned trick on Mega Ramp when no one was looking. The dude has probably done more NBDs than anyone ever on Mega Ramp, so bring him in and let him grab a handful of brake on the quarter pipe.
  3. Jed Mildon - One time he beat me up real bad, but that doesn't mean I can't vote for him. Four fucking backflips.
  4. Chad Kagy - I doubt he'll be healthy, but as long as he promises to not break both his heels like he did last year, he should be in there.
  5. James Foster - That little pale kid is a beast. It would be awesome to see James hold it together for a gold.
  6. Kody Bricen - This is some kid in the middle of the woods somewhere who builds his own foam pit and tries triple flips into it. I'm not sure if he can jump an actual box jump, but hey, let it fly.
  7. Vince Byron - He could win.
  8. Zack Warden - He could win, too.
  9. I can't even think of nine people who ride this shit.
  10. Let alone ten...

 

Kyle Baldock may not ride dirt, but he sure can win Dirt at X Games. Photo: Fudger

Kyle Baldock may not ride dirt, but he sure can win Dirt at X Games. Photo: Fudger

Dirt

Unfortunately, the name of the event is not trails. So I'm gonna play this one shitty and probably not going to make any friends... Clint Reynolds is the fucking man and 100% deserves to be NORA Dirt Rider Of The Year, but he doesn't really belong in X Games' version of dirt. Sorry. It's awesome they invited him last year, but I'm sure he'll admit that the whole thing felt like it was pandering to some sort of core element. X Games wants stunts, so give 'em stunters. But they gotta be dirt stunters, in my opinion. Sandoval belongs in park. And really, so does Enarson (but I voted for him anyway)...like I said, "unbiased."

 

Prequalified: Kyle Baldock, Mike Clark, and Chris Doyle

  1. Pat Casey - God damn it, Pat. Just win one of these fucking things already. Pat consistently kills practice all week long doing the wildest combos, then just eats shit during the event. I'm sure he'll be invited anyway, but I just wanna make sure. Top spot.
  2. Cory Nastazio - Nasty has shown that his love for dirt is no fleeting thing and he's just as good, if not better than he ever has been. The fact that he wasn't in X Games last year was both weird and wrong.
  3. Matt Cordova - Matt was an alternate last year and was absolutely killing practice all week long. It was a shame to not see him in the event, so I think he deserves redemption.
  4. Dennis Enarson - I asked Dennis, "On a scale from one to ten, how much dirt have you ridden in the last year?" His response: "two." Dennis pulled out of Dirt at X Games the last two years, I believe. The last year, for sure. Nonetheless, we all know the boy will kill it.
  5. TJ Ellis - TJ falls into the same category as Pat Casey. He has all the wild tricks, but is either hurt one way or another or just can't put it together.
  6. Kevin Peraza - Just like Pat, Kevin has the perfect storm of style and tricks and while he may not be an active dirt rider, it doesn't show like some of the other dudes out there.
  7. Anthony Napolitan - I think Anthony went into hibernation for a while, but losing a couple of heavy sponsors lit a fire under his front-flipping tush and he's back to hucking.
  8. Leandro Moreira - Down in Brazil, Leandro is riding some massive jumps with carpet on them absolutely destroying it on a daily basis. Definitely one of those cases where a lot more people would be familiar with him if he was in the USA. Time to give him a shot.
  9. Ryan Nyquist - I assume X Games automatically has him in at this point. Obviously Ryan has the ability to win any event. I just hope he shows up with his 20"...
  10. Justin Spriet - The all around kid. I think Justin would bring a different style to the event while actually doing really, really, well.
  11. Corey bohan – Self admittedly, Corey has not been putting all that much into the trick portion of his riding. That said, he still looks better than most everyone else out there.
  12. Ben Wallace - Ben kills it, but he's never done all that well at X Games…

 

 

Vince did the un-doable in 2015 and beat Jamie...

Vince did the un-doable in 2015 and beat Jamie…

Vert

The state of vert riding isn't really worth going into. It's in there and that's dope.

 

Pre-Qualified: Vince Byron, Jamie Bestwick and Simon Tabron

  1. Zack Warden - I feel like Zack has slowed down on vert in the last couple years, but he recently moved to the echanted land of vert and mega ramps, Carlsbad, California. I'm sure he'll be on point.
  2. Zack Newman - Zack was an alternate last year and he always has a smile on his face. I also heard he's been progressing a ton with Bestwick...give him a shot.
  3. Chad Kagy - Don't fall.
  4. Coco Zurita - You can only ride if you do a triple whip, Coco.
  5. Mykel Larrin - Mykel is an awesome rider no matter what you put in front of him and he always comes through on vert.
  6. Dennis McCoy - Please stay safe, old man.
  7. Steve McCann - Steve has been in hibernation since last X Games. I assume he's been riding? I'm clearly running out of people.
  8. There were only eight people in vert last year...how am I supposed to come up with ten?

 

A friendly reminder that X Games Street is pretty damn awesome… 

Street

I'm really, really happy that X Games has come to its senses with Street. Removing it last year was beyond bizarre. With that said, please please please make the course larger. These are the best dudes in the world and you expect them to jib on a four stair rail? Please. Keep in mind of the voting scale when you start questioning this order...

 

No prequalified riders...

  1. Devon Smillie - Bike control on wizard status. I feel like Devon has a chance at doing really, really well among the typical top five super humans.
  2. Nathan Williams - If the biggest rail is four stairs, then don't invite Nathan. But, I don't think anyone in the know would deny that Nathan's riding is so next level. If he doesn't get in Street, he better have the chance to make a Real Street edit...
  3. Alex Donnachie - Same comment as Devon.
  4. Sean Ricany - I've seen his Pro Part.
  5. Trey Jones - This may be an unpopular vote, but I've witnessed Trey absolutely kill it at a Dew Tour street event. Trey will keep in unconventional and entertaining...And, he'll be shirtless.
  6. Alex Kennedy - AK knows best. Rather obvious reasons why.
  7. Simone Barraco - Number One Video Part and a refined riding style that will probably be lost by the masses...Simone still deserves to be there.
  8. Dakota Roche - Number One Street Rider of the Year? Obvious.
  9. Broc Raiford - Obvious.
  10. Dennis Enarson - Obvious.
  11. Garrett Reynolds - Obvious.
  12. Chad Kerley - The reigning X Games champ from 2014. Obvious.