By Madison Guernsey, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kurtis Downs initially swapped his motor for pedals for simplicityâs sake.
It didnât take long for the switch to be permanent.
Downs grew up riding motorcycles but tried BMX biking after graduating from Firth High School in 2010. It was less expensive, and the manually operated bike was easier to maintain than the gas-powered version.
Starting July 13, Downs will be on Americaâs grandest extreme sports stage at the X Games in Minneapolis.
âI never really thought (the X Games were) in my future,â Downs said. âI just did it because I thought it was fun.â
Downs was an X Games alternate last summer, but is a full competitor this time around.
Heâs been performing with traveling action sports entertainment company Nitro Circus since late 2013 and used his connections to catch the right eyes needed to enter the X Games.
Down said Pocatello native, friend and two-time X Games gold medalist Colton Satterfield affirmed Downsâ talents and helped him get the final push he needed to qualify for the Games.
âThey just invited me straight through and in,â Downs said. âYou kind of have to go through the steps of it. You have to find someone that will vouch for you.â
Downs currently resides in Draper, Utah, where he has been training for the competition. He competed at the Nitro World Games on June 24 in Salt Lake City, where he took second place last year. A toe injury held him out of this yearâs finals. Downs said his toe is not yet healed.
âItâs still kind of just chilling out, not really fixed all that much,â Downs said. âIâm just going into it with as much practice as I can.â
Downsâ event, BMX big air, has its final round Friday. After watching from the sidelines a summer ago, Downs is eager to show the extreme sports world he belongs with the best.
âIt was amazing,â Downs said of his experience as an X Games alternate. âIt made me a lot more hungry for it. This year, itâs happened to the point where Iâm in it now. The nerves are settling in a bit.â