X Games Austin 2016
This year's iteration of ESPN's X Games will be the third and final year hosted in the ATX, so don't miss your last chance to catch the biggest skateboard, moto X, and BMX stars in action and up close as they land tricks that shouldn't be humanly possible. There's a light lineup Thursday with the LifeProof Moto X Step Up Final (7:30pm) and Harley-Davidson Flat-Track Racing (9pm) preceding a performance from Dallas' punkabilly mainstays the Reverend Horton Heat (10:15pm). The Games get in full swing Saturday afternoon starting off with the Skateboard Street AM Final at 2:30pm.
Last year's event saw 160,000 fans pass through the turnstiles, and this year both casual and hardcore fans won't be disappointed with the talent on tap from both the ladies and the gents. A big crowd fave is sure to be America's own skateboard phenom Nyjah Huston who is back for his 13th X Games appearance and seeking his eighth gold medal! Perhaps his biggest competition will be Aussie Shane O'Neill, who has the skills but is still searching for his first XG medal. Straight out of Ventura, Calif., comes Curren Caples, who is also back for his eighth appearance but is bringing his three XG medals with him. Caples holds the honor of being the first XG athlete to be born after the games began in 1995, with his debut in 2010. Youth is certainly well-represented in the women's field, with Saturday's lineup featuring 23-year-old Leticia Bufoni, 16-year-old Pamela Rosa, and 11-year-old Brighton Zeuner competing in the women's skateboard street and park finals. Fans should keep their eye on Japanese moto X competitor Taka Higashino who will be showing off his freestyle skills and looking to score his sixth XG medal. Texas is represented in the BMX field by Tyler's own Morgan Wade, who is a five-time medalist and crowd-pleasing risk-taker.
The news of BMX legend Dave Mirra's passing in February of this year due to suicide at age 41 rocked the sports world. After examination, he became the first BMX-er to be formally diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which has been casting a dark cloud over the NFL since Mike Webster was posthumously diagnosed in 2002. Many of the sport's biggest names will be paying apt tribute to Mirra in the Dave Mirra BMX Park Best Trick competition, where they will be showing off many of his signature tricks. A fitting tribute to an extreme sports legend.
On the music front, two-thirds of the lineup that made Blink-182 famous and brought pop punk to the mainstream will be on hand to deliver "All the Small Things" in a really big setting Saturday night, with All Time Low opening at 10pm. Festival fave rapper G-Eazy headlines Friday night behind Gold-certified LP When It's Dark Out, with Logic warming up at 10pm.
Thu.-Sun., June 2-5. Circuit of the Americas, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd. $29-1,000. xgames.espn.go.com.