Excite Bikes

Nate Adams blasts the engine of his Yamaha YZ 250 motorbike to nearly 10,000 RPMs, assaulting spectators with a machine-gun-like staccato and fresh dirt, which explodes from underneath his tires. He launches himself into a death-defying back flip, wraps his legs around his arms above the handlebars in midair, and knocks his feet together, landing to an explosive volley of fireworks and flashbulbs.

It's called the "Back Flip Heel Clicker," and it's one of the signature stunts in the 20-year-old Valley resident's repertoire.

Not since Dorothy donned ruby slippers has clicking one's heels proven there's no place like home, as the motocross wunderkind will blow away hometown crowds when The Crusty Demons Global Assault Tour lands at the Glendale Arena.

The comparison seems apropos, considering Adams just got back from the Land of Oz (Australia, that is), where he thrilled stadiums filled to near capacity with fans of freestyle motocross (or FMX) during the tour's six-show stretch down under.

"The fans in Australia loved it. They're way more enthusiastic down there to see freestyle motocross," says Adams.

The daredevil trickster plans on rocking his nearest and dearest with his cunning array of stunts, but don't look for him to test out any new material. "I won't push myself to the point where I'm doing something over my head," says Adams. "I'll ride the best I can, especially 'cause this is the one or two times a year my family gets to see me."

The bill of ballsy bikers also boasts eight other FMX legends -- including X-Games medalist Brian Deegan -- who'll wow adrenaline junkies with choreographed and synchronized tricks, such as the "Back Flip Chain," wherein eight riders consecutively bust out extreme trips and flips.

So what makes Crusty Demons different from any old motocross show? Adams rattles off the details, like pyro, light shows, DJs and the buxom "Crusty Babes," making the event sound like an episode of WWE Smackdown. There's even boffo entrances: "Down in Australia, a tank brought out Brian Deegan . . . and I wore an American flag and had cheerleaders in red, white and blue. It was tight," says Adams, who occasionally enters to the strains of Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone."

Adding to the spectacle is the track itself, which PR flacks describe as the "backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world." Adams and company won't be dodging mushroom clouds or popping wheelies off spent Sarin canisters, but props such as burned-out buildings and old car parts will adorn the sidelines. Adams doesn't mind the theatrics, chalking it up as part of the fun.

"People don't pay for a ticket to look at a course. They'll want to see us ride, and how the show runs helps bring everything together and makes things more interesting," says Adams.

His schedule won't let up any time soon, as the 22-city American portion of the tour kicks off at the Glendale Arena. After that, a possible trip to Europe and competing at both the X-Games and Gravity Games later this summer dominate his calendar.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.