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Nitro Riders Earned 9 Trophies at Nitro World Games

June 29, 2017

With the 2017 Nitro World Games in the books, we want to congratulate all the world-class athletes who competed this year and give some special shoutouts. Eight Nitro Circus veterans walked away with nine of the 18 total trophies awarded, a testament to the hard work, dedication, and experience of the Nitro Crew. Those athletes are: Ryan Williams (1st in scooter and BMX Best Tricks), Levi Sherwood (1st in Freestyle Motocross), Javier Villegas (2nd in Freestyle Motocross), Josh Sheehan (3rd in Freestyle Motocross), Beaver Fleming (2nd in skate), Brandon Loupos (2nd in BMX Best Tricks), Jaie Toohey (3rd in BMX Best Tricks), and Harry Bink (1st in FMX Best Trick). Additionally, the fourth-place finishers in four of six events were also Nitro riders, in many cases missing the podium by just fractions of a point. Just off the podium were Brandon Schmidt (BMX Best Tricks), Andy Buckworth (BMX Triple Hit), Adam Jones (Freestyle Motocross), and Sheehan (FMX Best Trick).

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It’s tempting to take the view that of course Nitro riders are going to do well at an event with the word “Nitro” in the title, so to head off that cynical perspective, here are some interesting points to remember: The Nitro World Games competition is overseen by an independent third-party. This includes the competition formats and the judges and judging process. Half the winners were non-Nitro athletes,
and the majority of the competitors were non-Nitro athletes. We’ve said it before: The NWG is not the Nitro Circus, and they go to great lengths to crown champions based on who rides best on that day. So why do Nitro riders do so well in this competition, particularly athletes you don’t see in many competitions, like R-Willy?

The first and most obvious answer to this question is that the Nitro Circus Live show brings in the best of the best already. Many of our athletes are decorated from years of competition experience, including multiple X Games medalists, as well as other major competitions worldwide. Guys like Sheeny and Sherwood are making podiums at FMX events all over the place. So naturally those athletes are going to do well in any competition. To put it another way, it’s not that Nitro Circus athletes are doing well at Nitro World Games; it’s that experienced and successful competitors are being recruited to be Nitro athletes.

The second factor is big-air experience. When it comes to events like scooter, BMX, and skate, the Nitro riders are getting so much ramp time touring with the show, that the experience rises to the top when it comes to those events in competition. And with the scoring set up to emphasize progression, it opens up the field to riders who don’t typically compete in BMX competitions, like R-Willy, Schmidt, and last year’s third-place BMX Best Tricks finisher, Gavin Godfrey (who had to miss this year due to injury). Nitro riders live and breathe progression every day, plus they ride the Giganta ramp constantly, working on new tricks as part of their routine.

The beautiful thing about NWG, though, is that anyone in the world can come and throw down and make a podium. Last year R-Willy finished last in Scooter Best Tricks, despite coming in with the most experience in one of the first scooter mega-ramp competitions ever. BMX Triple Hit is filled with non-Nitro household names from the sport, and this year a few up-and-comers emerged as dual-threat BMX athletes — several qualified in both Triple Hit and BMX Best Tricks, which require very different skillsets despite being on the same machine. The different mix of athletes on the podiums this year is a sign that this competition is maturing as athletes get more and more experience with these ramp setups and formats. We expect to see it evolve further next year, and to continue to grow and change.

Congrats again to all the competitors at the 2017 Nitro World Games. We can’t wait to see who rises to the top for Nitro World Games 2018.

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