The Biggest Show Ever: Nitro Circus in South Africa
One of the greatest things about being a Nitro Circus athlete, they all agree, is that they get to travel the world wowing audiences and doing the things they’re most excited about. No matter where they go, they have a great time, so choosing a favorite is always difficult. But there is one country that consistently ranks at the top of every athlete’s list of most memorable stops. Nitro FMX veteran Steve Mini sums it up: “The best tour we’ve done so far was probably South Africa. The crowds were huge, the people were into it, and it was just a beautiful place to go.”
The Crew knew they had a fan base in South Africa, but no one knew quite what to expect when they rolled into Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban for the first time ever. But any uncertainty about what to expect was immediately relieved when the first show kicked off to a crowd of 19,000 pumped-up fans, who loved every second of it. “The craziest crowds we’ve had were in South Africa,” Josh Sheehan says. “They made the most noise that I’ve ever heard.”
In Durban, Erik Roner got to fulfill a dream of his: BASE jumping into the stadium to kick off the show for a crowd of 23,000:
The Johannesburg show drew 35,000-plus wild fans. “To see that many people come out to watch us was unreal,” Brandon Schmidt says. Maybe it was the size of the crowd, maybe it was the energy of the crowd, or maybe it was both, but the Crew threw down that day, and everyone had a blast:
But the huge shows and amazing crowds were just the start, as you saw in that video. In Soweto, a suburb of Johannesburg, the Nitro BMX riders found a great place to hang out with some local kids and ride. Nitro photographer Mark Watson says that day was one of the most memorable for him: “All those guys went into Soweto, into the shantytown, and rode in there. That was a sick experience,” he says. “The crowd that gathered, everyone was psyched and the kids had the biggest grins on their faces. And I know it sounds a bit cliche, but this was totally impromptu. It was the guys out there just doing what they love doing on the streets of a shantytown in South Africa. That’s the sort of thing that you come away from and you go, hell yeah, that whole tour was worth it just for those moments.”
“I didn’t really know too much about South Africa before we went there, but as soon as we landed in Cape Town my mind was blown from the first day we got there until the day that we left,” Ethen Roberts says. “Just the scenery, the ocean, the wildlife, the people — you couldn’t dream up a better place, or a crazier place, or a more beautiful place.” The wildlife was definitely a highlight, with crocodiles, great white sharks, penguins, and ostriches among the local fauna the Crew was able to see up close and sometimes personal.
With the awesome people, the hyped and huge crowds, and a country packed with amazing beauty and crazy wildlife, it’s no wonder South Africa is one of the Nitro Crew’s favorite tour stops so far. “Just everything coming together in South Africa was amazing,” Ethen says. The Crew obviously had a blast there and can’t wait to go back. As Blake “Bilko” Williams puts it, simply: “South Africa was really cool.”