2003 LA XGames

Eric Bass
by Eric Bass

As a youth, I used to marvel at the exploits of skateboard legends like Tony Alva and Jay Adams captured on contraband videos dubbed off of a friend's friend's friend's copy of a friend's tape. I never understood why sterile, bland sports like baseball or track and field got on TV, while skateboarding, surfing, BMX, motoX, etc. were relegated to the Betamax grey market. Even back then, these guys were doing stuff that had a tractor beam effect on any set of eyeballs that haphazardly wandered into the living room. It took awhile, but ESPN eventually caught on and now the X Games are fast achieving the kind of visibility that I always saw as inevitable. You could only keep this stuff under wraps for so long. The MotoX guys are now doing things that are several generations beyond impossible. I would say that what you are seeing on TV is computer generated, except that I watched it all happen live with my own two eyes. Backflip heelclickers? Three Sixty horizontal axis spins? Eighty foot launches with a back flip thrown in for good measure? Oh the humanity! Baseball, you are sooooo doomed!
Jeff Tilton breezed past 24 feet...
The following are press releases, final standings, and photos provided by ESPN.
Final Results from STAPLES Center on
August 15, 2003

Name Bib No. Hometown Height
1. Matt Buyten 3 Carson City, NV 32'0
2. Tommy Clowers 5 Ramona, CA 31'6
3. Ronnie Renner 12 Westminster, CA 31'0
4. Myles Richmond 13 Cherry Valley, CA 28'0
5. Beau Bamburg 1 Gresham, OR 28'0
6. Doug Parsons 11 Riverside, CA 28'0
7. Kenny Bartram 2 Stillwater, OK 28'0
8. Jeremy Stenberg 14 Murrieta, CA 28'0
9. Jake Windham 16 Sacramento, CA 28'0
10. Brian Deegan 6 Temecula, CA 26'0
11. Jeremy Carter 4 Coarsegold, CA 26'0
12. Justin Homan 8 Seattle, WA 24'0
13. Jeff Tilton 15 Ramona, CA 24'0
14. Benoit Milot 10 Montreal, Quebec CAN
15. Dave Demangos 7 San Diego, CA

Rookie knocks off three-time champ to snag X Games gold

Mere mortals like Beau Bamburg were rockin' the Colliseum pretty hard...
LOS ANGELES World Freestyle Association (WFA) Step Up 2003 champion Matt Buyten won top honors in his first ever X Games appearance, landing a 32'0 jump that placed him ahead of reigning three-time X Games Moto X Step Up gold medallist Tommy Clowers. Clowers cleared the bar at 31'6, but failed to match Buyten's stunning 32'0 launch in his final attempt. When Clowers hit the bar on the last jump of the afternoon, Buyten and the crowd at STAPLES Center went wild. A new Moto X Step Up king had claimed the gold at X Games IX. With the crowd roaring and the victory sealed, Buyten pumped his fist, and was hoisted onto the shoulders of two of his fellow riders.

"My bike was good and in tune so things worked out", said Buyten, a native of Carsen City, Nevada, The first step was at qualifiers, and I just had to stay consistent. Buyten qualified for X Games IX at the October 2002 WFA Reno Qualifier. Tommy Clowers had won first place at X Games Moto X Step Up for three consecutive years before being dethroned by Matt Buyten at STAPLES Center.

"I went out to win gold, but I got the silver", said Clowers, a native of Ramona, California, "I gave it my all. That's just the way it goes".

Ronnie Renner, who tied for third place at X Games VII in 2001, took away the bronze solo this year. Six other competitors were tied at 28'0 behind Renner, who registered a maximum height of 31'0 in six total attempts.

"I'm psyched to have X Games back in California", said Renner, "I live in Long Beach, so I get to bring my boys out". Ronnie's youngest son Racer (9 months old) wore his father's medal while in his arms on the podium, his older brother Rider just below him at his father's side.

Final Results from STAPLES Center on August 16, 2003
Name Bib No. Hometown Score
1. Travis Pastrana 14 Annapolis, Md. 94.67
2. Nate Adams 1 Wittman, Ariz. 93.33
3. Brian Deegan 7 Temecula, Calif. 93.00
4. Kenny Bartram 3 Stillwater, Okla. 91.00
5. Beau Bamburg 2 Gresham, Ore. 89.67
6. Myles Richmond 16 Cherry Valley, Calif. 88.00
7. Dustin Miller 12 Gardnerville, Nev. 88.00
8. Drake McElroy 10 Fernley, Nev. 87.00

After a Two-Year Absence, Pastrana is Back on Top
...but when Pastrana threw the 360, even the gods shuddered!
LOS ANGELES With 67,500 total (41,700 at the LA Coliseum and 25,800 at STAPLES Center) in attendance on the largest single day in X Games history, nineteen-year-old Moto X phenom Travis Pastrana (Annapolis, Md) took top honors at the Moto X Freestyle final. Riding with a torn ACL and LCL, Pastrana shocked the crowd by landing his first ever 360 backflip at X Games Moto X Freestyle competition.

At nineteen, Pastrana is no stranger to the winner's circle. After two years of not competing at X Games due to injury, Pastrana earned his fourth X Games Moto X Freestyle gold medal, his first since X Games VII in 2001. Pastrana was one of the very first riders on the course at practice, and was the very last to leave. The extra work paid off for him, as he landed a barrage of seemingly impossible aerials including a no-handed cliffhanger, a sidewinder Fred Flinstone, and two traditional backflips before he landed the 360 backflip. Pastrana put up a winning score of 94.67, beating out an elite field of Moto X athletes just one week before his scheduled surgery on his injured right knee.

When asked before the competition about his strengths and weaknesses, Pastrana said, "My strengths and weaknesses are the same: I've got the willingness and stupidity to try anything. If I think it's even remotely possible, I'll do it".

When a backflip heel clicker is only good enough to earn Nate Adams a silver medal...
"I was working on the trick for a month with Carey Hart", said Pastrana about the 360 backflip. "I knew if I hit the 360, it was gold. Man, this is the best feeling in the world."

Nate Adams (Wittmann, Ariz.), who won silver at X Games Global Championship I in San Antonio (May, 2003), took second place once again with a score of 93.33. Adams had an excellent technical run, landing a lookback double grab, a McNasty backflip, a huge air lazy boy, and a backflip over a 75-foot gap.

"I'm ready to try the 360 backflip in competition now", said Adams. "I rode better today then ever in my life".

With a score of 93.00, Brian Deegan (Temecula, Calif.) took a close third, finishing a fraction of a point behind Adams. Deegan was the first rider of the night to attempt the 360 backflip. The crowd erupted when he landed it, becoming the first rider in X Games history to do so.

"I came up with it in my backyard", said Deegan. "I came out to LA to win medals. I wanted to hit my new trick, the Mulisha Twist, and I pulled it off."

Final Results from STAPLES Center on August 17, 2003
Name Bib No. Hometown Score
1. Brian Deegan 5 Temecula, CA 97.67
2. Nate Adams 1 Wittmann, AZ 95.33
3. Kenny Bartram 3 Stillwater, OK 92.00
4. Beau Bamburg 2 Gresham, OR 90.33
5. Dave Demangos 6 San Diego, CA 89.67
6. Chuck Carothers 4 Perris, CA 87.33
7. Drake McElroy 11 Fernley, NV 87.33
8. Justin Homan 18 Redmond, OR 86.67
9. Ronnie Renner 15 Westminster. CA 85.33
10. Doug Parsons 13 Riverside, CA 84.67
11. Matt Buyten 17 Carson City, NV 84.33
12. Mike Jones 9 Export, PA 70.00

All-Time Moto X Medal Leader Closes X Games IX with Revolutionary 360 Invert

...you know Brian Deegan must have busted something utterly filthy!
LOS ANGELES Brian Deegan (Temecula, Calif.) took home the eighth medal of his X Games career and his second career gold, earning top honors in the X Games IX Moto X Big Air final at STAPLES Center. The popular and versatile Deegan won the bronze at last night's Moto X Freestyle competition at the LA Coliseum, and landed the first-ever 360 backflip in Moto X Freestyle history thirty seconds after competition time expired. Deegan was followed by Nate Adams (Glendale, Ariz.) and Kenny Bartram (Stillwater, Okla.), who earned silver and bronze, respectively.

Tonight, Deegan brought his ever-expanding bag of tricks to Big Air and landed the 360 backflip with precision on his first jump of the night, driving a trick that was once considered impossible straight into the record books and to the top of his growing list of X Games triumphs. Deegan has dubbed the trick the Mulisha Twist. He dedicated it from the podium to his fellow injured rider Chris Ackerman who was in attendance.

"I just hit it and the show was over", said Deegan. "I heard the guys were going to pull a 360 backflip and I was sick of being the second place man, so I just stepped it up a notch."

The Mulisha Twist earned Deegan a towering 97.67 score in his first run of the night, vaulting him to the top of the leaderboard where he would stay for good despite impressive efforts from the world-class field of high flying competition. Adams was the only rider within striking distance of Deegan, landing a heel clicker backflip no-hander lander for a score of 95.33 on his second run, but settling for silver once again after earning the same ranking in Freestyle. Adams also won the Freestyle silver at X Games Global Championship I (May 2003, San Antonio, Tex.).

The sport has gotten so gnarly, said Adams. It's at a new level now.

Moto X Freestyle proved Adams' observation correct and then some, serving as the backdrop for several historic moments in Moto X history including not only the sport's first-ever 360 invert (Deegan) but also the sport's first-ever 80 foot flip and first-ever off-axis 360, both executed by Travis Pastrana (Annapolis, MD) in the Freestyle competition held last night.

"Cowboy" Kenny Bartram took the bronze with a score of 92.00 on his second run. Before his third run and with at least a bronze medal under his belt, Bartram started the last run of X Games IX by first carving a signature lasso imprint into the dirt with his tires before launching off the ramp for huge air on his official run and then several additional jumps for the audience. The fans at STAPLES Center loudly showed their appreciation for Bartram's extra effort, a fitting finish to X Games IX. X Games IX was the largest multi-day event in STAPLES Center history.

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