This past weekend was a Winter X-Games qualifier in Bakersfield, California. Don Brown and I went to check out the madness and have a couple beers. The Thursday practice claimed one of our Etnies riders by the name of Ox. In the first practice, he was riding really well, but on his last practice run, he hit the first ninety-foot jump and landed too far in the flats, which meant he didn't have enough speed to clear the second ninety- footer. He came up short and broke his ankle, collar bone and separated his shoulder. The big man is on the couch once again all hopped-up on pain pills. Ox will be out of action for about six weeks.
Deegan was by far the crowd favorite, since Bakersfield has an enormous Metal Mulisha following. At least a quarter of the people were wearing something with Mulisha on it. Deegan has been doing the backflip for a couple weeks and only about four riders in the world are doing them. Brian was in the lead going into the final on Saturday night and did a backflip off the first jump that had the crowd going nuts. About four jumps later, he came back and went for another flip, didn't get enough rotation and landed on his front wheel--sending him over the bars head-first into the dirt. Very dizzy but not broken, Brian called it a night and missed the big air and step-up contest. Deegan is still in 6th place in points.
Twitch came out and only rode the step-up contest on Saturday due to a hernia he’s waiting to have surgery on. Jeremy Carter came out and rode well in his first big contest since his bad crash at X-Games last year that had him out of action for about eight months. Australian Etnies rider Dayne Kinaird came out and impressed everyone with some new tricks and combinations of tricks. Dayne is on his way back to Australia for the X-Games and is in the process of getting his paperwork so he can live in So Cal for good. Dayne is the best freestyle rider in Australia and wants to ride and train with the best in the U.S.