The Music In Minnesota team (Bo, Justin, and Sara) had the opportunity this weekend to attend the 2018 X Games Minneapolis taking place at US Bank Stadium. Being a music-based publication, we felt that focusing on the GEICO Music Stage at The Armory, a new addition to this years X Games, as well as Prof’s X Games 2018 Kickoff Party at First Avenue, should be our main objective this year, but we also wanted to make sure we shared a full recap of the X Games events, as well as some of the incredible shots our insanely talented photographer Sara Fish was able to grab over the entire three days!
Day One – Thursday, July 19th
X Games Minneapolis got underway Thursday evening with more than 14,000 spectators kicking summer into high gear as the top action sports athletes in the world took their talents to the vert ramp for the Pacifico Skateboard and BMX Vert Finals.
Now in its second year in Minnesota, X Games Minneapolis looked to continue the proud tradition of not only progressing the possibilities of today’s most popular action sports, but also providing an accessible platform for fan participation and inclusion. With all competitions held at the state of the art U.S. Bank Stadium, the four day event will welcome spectators to watch BMX, skateboard and Moto X athletes compete for gold. Fans will also be treated to a host of attractions at X Fest, which includes interactive games, giveaways and athlete autograph signings, in addition to the GEICO Music Stage at The Armory with some of today’s hottest musical acts like Kaskade, Brother Ali, Ice Cube and Zedd (in order of appearance).
The first of the evening’s two events saw last years silver medalist Jimmy Wilkins take home gold in the Pacifico Skateboard Vert Final. Putting up a first run score of 89.00 the 24-year-old Wilkins held on to his lead throughout the competition with a run that was as much about his smooth style as it was about trick technicality. In a run that saw him and an alley-oop tailgrab 540, a kickflip melon, and an inventive stalefish-to-disaster, Wilkins held off last year’s gold medalist Moto Shibata, whose unique style earned him a score of 87.33, enough for silver. Taking his third bronze in the event was California’s Mitchie Brusco. Wilkins, who is competing in his sixth X Games also won gold in Skateboard Vert at X Games Austin 2014.
Next up the bikes took to the vert ramp in the Pacifico BMX Vert Finals with Vince Byron taking his second gold in as many years and his third total in the event. Dealing with a bit of damp weather didn’t slow down the Australian rider as he floated tricks like a explosive flair whip and a massive 540 flair to victory, earning a score of 91.00. Also repeating last year’s performance was the legendary Jamie Bestwick who held on to his stylish first run score of 88.00 for a silver medal. Coming in third was Kentucky’s Zach Newman.
Day Two – Friday, July 20th
Day Two of X Games Minneapolis 2018 was everything one could expect from the world’s premier action sports competition as athletes from all corners of the globe competed in seven highly charged finals in BMX, Skateboard and Moto X to the delight of more than 35,000 fans that flooded the gates on Friday.
Following qualifying rounds in the SoFi Women’s Skateboard Street and Monster Energy Men’s Skateboard Street, where Mariah Duran and Vincent Milou took the top qualifying spots for their respective finals, the world’s top amateur riders competed in the Next X Skateboard Street and Park Finals. While young Liam Pace took the win on the Park course, flowing through the bowls with style and power unknown for someone his age, on the Street course Brazil’s Giovanni Vianna, whose technical run which included a cab-to-frontside lipslide that put him on top of the podium with a score of 90.33.
Next up was the Women’s BMX Park Demo in which, for the first time, women riders had their chance to compete on the world stage. With legends cheering them on, eight women brought their best tricks to the course taking another step in the evolution of their sport.
As evening approached, BMX action continued with three more events — BMX Street Final, The Real Cost BMX Big Air and Dave Mirra’s Park Best Trick Final.
First up was the BMX Street Final, with an international field of riders looking to take their most technical tricks to the stairs, rails and ledges of the Street course. In a thrilling come-from-behind win, Chad Kerley regained gold by dethroning nine-time champ Garrett Reynolds on his final run. Lining up combo after combo like a barspin-to-manual-to-barspin-to-tailpick grind, Kerley’s technicality was simply unmatched on his final run as his 92.33 overtook Reynolds’ previous high score of 91.33 by a full point. Taking home bronze was last year’s silver medalist Devon Smillie. This was Kerley’s second gold in the discipline, after taking gold at X Games Los Angeles in 2013.
Immediately following on the adjacent Park course, X Games rookie Alex Haim paid ultimate tribute to an X Games legend with his unbelievable tail whip to foot-jam tailwhip on the wall ride in the winner-take-all Dave Mirra’s BMX Park Best Trick Final. The 22-year-old deservedly rode away with the coveted Golden Pedal after landing a trick never done before at X Games.
Next up was the first Moto X competition of the weekend, with the high flying, high octane Moto X QuarterPipe High Air Final. In a display defiant of gravity itself, Axell Hodges flew the highest en route to victory. Launching a jaw dropping 34 feet 3 inches off the ground, Hodges is quicky solidifying his name in the sport as one of the most daring riders on the scene. Coming in a close second was last year’s winner Colby Raha, who soared 33 feet 2 inches for his first X Games silver medal. Tyler Bereman took bronze with a height of 29 feet 9 inches. The win earned Hodges his first X Games gold.
The Real Cost BMX Big Air competition once again proved to be the domain of 32-year-old James Foster. In a repeat performance from last year Foster took home Big Air gold. Beginning his run with a Superman seat grab on the 65-foot gap, he then did the unthinkable on the quarterpipe – performing the never-done-before quadruple downside tailwhip. Posting a high score of 89.33 was more than enough to top Texas’ Morgan Wade, who’s massive one-handed triple tailwhip earned him a silver medal score of 87.66. Last night’s Vert gold medalist Vince Byron took bronze.
Finally, the Moto X Freestyle Finals saw the progression of the sport in real time as Frenchman Tom Pages Took home his first ever gold in the event. Pages brought it all to the table tonight with a powerful run that started with a double backflip no-hander and finished with his one of a kind bike flip on the quarterpipe. Wowing the crowd and judges alike his 92.33 was enough to overtake last year’s Best Trick silver medalist Jackson Strong’s high score of 90.00. Australia’s Rob Adelberg snagged his fourth X Games medal of his career with a bronze medal effort.
Day Three – Saturday, July 21st
X Games Minneapolis continued Saturday as 47,000 fans passed through the gates at U.S. Bank Stadium to watch the most talented action sports athletes in the world compete in a wide range of events including The Real Cost Skateboard Big Air, the Fruit of the Loom BMX Dirt Final and the crowd favorite Monster Energy Moto X Best Trick.
Kicking things off, LifeProof Moto X Step Up proved a showdown between riders Jarryd McNeil, Libor Podmol and Colby Raha. With all riders clearing the 41-foot mark, the bar was raised to a staggering 43 feet, setting the stage for Jarryd McNeil to repeat his gold medal effort from last year, as he was the only rider to shoot out of the gate with enough gas to clear the mark, over four stories high. McNeil, who hails from Yarrawonga, Australia, has dominated the event since 2016, bringing his winning streak to three years.
The first of three Skateboard competitions today saw Alex Sorgente defend his gold from last year at the Toyota Men’s Skateboard Park Final. Wasting no time, it was Sorgente’s first effort that stood up against every run the other eleven riders put down Saturday afternoon. Taking a unique approach to the course and with a risky trick selection that included an ally-pop wall ride and a kickflip indy, Sorgente took his 89.00 and held on to the top spot the rest of the competition. Twenty year old Tristan Rennie earned his first X Games medal with a silver in a run highlighted by a smooth 540 nosegrab. Tom Schaar grabbed bronze, upping his X Games medal count to eight.
Afterwards, crowds shifted their gaze to the adjacent Park course to watch Mariah Duran piece together a podium topping run in the SoFi Women’s Skateboard Park Final. With effortless style, Duran cruised through her run, landing difficult tricks like a kickflip 50-50, a frontside lip slide and a frontside 360 to take her first gold at X Games. Awarded a score of 87.66, it was enough to edge out last year’s winner Aori Nishimura who posted a 86.00 after her second run. Rounding out the podium was Alexis Sablone, a Brooklyn based architect and three-time gold medalist.
What followed next was one of the most hard-fought and progressive competitions seen at X Games in recent years. With five scores in the 90’s, the Fruit of the Loom BMX Dirt Finals was ultimately won by Aussie, and X Games rookie, Brandon Loupos. Lining up a combination of tricks that included a double backflip, a cash roll, a triple tail whip and a flair double tailwhip, the Australian’s third run score of 95.00 beat out Logan Martin’s valiant effort in which he landed an equally impressive run earning a 94.00. Taking bronze was another X Games rookie, 23-year-old Brian Fox.
Returning to Moto X action, again it was the Jarryd McNeil show as he took his second gold of the day in Moto X Best Whip. Beating out Japan’s Genki Wantanabi and California’s Axell Hodges, this marked McNeil’s 11th X Games medal making him the most decorated Australian athlete in X Games history.
Next up, the Monster Energy Moto X Best Trick got underway as three time winner Jackson Strong reclaimed gold for the first time since 2016. In the end it was his front flip no hander that impressed the judges most. Scoring a 93.00 was enough to top last night’s Moto X Freestyle winner, Tom Pages’, no handed double backflip for the win. Pages in turn, narrowly beat 29-year-old Rob Adelberg who earned bronze.
Fittingly, a day of such intense competition came down to a legendary event in the highly anticipated The Real Cost Skateboard Big Air Finals. With a total of five runs to work with, Mitchie Brusco finally got his gold in Big Air. After three failed attempts, the fourth time was a charm as Brusco landed his run, a backside 180 kickflip indy into a cab 1080 Mellon on the 27-foot quaterpipe drawing a score of 92.00. Brusco’s roommate Clay Kreiner snuck into second place on his final attempt with a backside 720 indy into a supersized alley-oop varial 540 for a score of 91.00 while 17-year-old Trey Wood took home his first X Games medal with a bronze.
Day Four – Sunday, July 22nd
After four days of non-stop action, X Games Minneapolis 2018 came to an end on Sunday evening with finals in Women’s Skateboard Street, Toyota Men’s BMX Park, Harley-Davidson Flat Track and Hooligan Racing as well as one of the biggest events of the weekend, the Monster Energy Men’s Skateboard Street Final. All told, more than 119,000 fans attended this year’s event in the Twin Cities.
For many, the most anticipated competition of the weekend was the Monster Energy Men’s Skateboard Street Final. Returning to the top of the podium for the eighth time, Nyjah Huston dominated the course with his consistent, technical skating. With his last win at X Games Oslo in 2016, Huston was on a mission, executing a flawless run highlighted by a smooth 180 switch krooked grind-to-forward and a nollie heelflip noseblunt slide at the end of his run. Putting in a valiant effort for silver was the up and coming Jagger Eaton whose switch kickflip lipslide sealed his score of 90.33. Earning bronze was last year’s winner Kelvin Hoefler.
Just prior was the Women’s Skateboard Park Final where 14-year-old Brighton Zeuner defended her title from last year. Proving that she can handle all aspects of the course, Zeuner came out with a backside 360 melon grab, a kickflip and an overall masterful flow of the transitions to score 90.33 on her second run. Meanwhile, rookie Sabre Norris took her tiny 4’5” frame to the course with a barrage of switch tricks and a backside 540 for a impressive showing at her first X Games, earning a 85.33. Japan’s Sakura Yosozumi took bronze with a score of 82.33.
Early in the day saw the Harley-Davidson Flat Track and Hooligan finals move from last year’s location at The Mall of America to inside U.S. Bank Stadium, where, after losing the hole shot to Jeffrey Carver, last year’s silver medalist, Jared Mees, held tight and capitalized on lap five, taking the lead in the Harley-Davidson Flat Track Final. Mees, who won silver last year would keep the lead, eventually crossing the checkered flag first to take gold. Coming in just 1.37 seconds later was Briar Bauman, followed by Jake Johnson. In the Harley-Davidson Hooligan Final it was Daniel Mischler taking the win with Jimmy Hill and Benny Carlson in the second and third place positions, respectively.
As the final competition of the weekend the Toyota Men’s BMX Park final went off with a bang. After four silver medals in various BMX events the past two years, Australia’s Logan Martin finally got his gold after unleashing a barrage of tricks on the concrete course. After starting things off with a 720 barspin-to-barspin, he landed a flair whip barspin, a double tail whip and a 540 flair. Awarded a 93.33, it was more than enough to top silver medalist Dennis Enarson’s 91.00 and the charismatic Kyle Baldock’s 88.66.
Keep an eye on our social media pages as we will continue to share more images from our very busy X Games weekend in the coming weeks!