Freestyle motocross is flying higher than ever. Arguably the most outrageous of the extreme sports, fierce competition revolves around elite dirt-bike riders who take turns navigating a circuit of steep ramps, launching high into the air and performing bold stunts off each slope. Those off-the-hook tricks will draw thousands of fans this weekend when IFMA Freestyle Motocross kicks off the second half of its season. "A lot of people thought freestyle would die out, but obviously that hasn't happened," says Glendale native Nate Adams, one of the top-ranked riders. Over the past year, Adams perfected the back flip, once considered a Holy Grail of stunts. He says he used to count every flip he landed, but stopped counting around 1,000.
Freestyle has definitely evolved since Adams started riding in the late '90s with Tempe's John and Robert Distler, who are among more than a dozen riders joining Adams for the contest.
"The back flip obviously changed a lot of things -- it kind of raised the level," Adams says. "Now people are already trying to do double back flips and barrel rolls. There's so much more going on."
IFMA takes over America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson, on Friday, August 1, and Saturday, August 2. Gates open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 to $25 for adults and $8 for kids; adult tickets are $2 more on the days of the event. To purchase, contact Ticketmaster, 480-784-4444, or visit pacefmx.com. - Michele Laudig
Cage fighters bring it on
Blame it on genetics or sheer stupidity, but at some point, every male of the species indulges in the macho rite of fisticuffs. The smart ones get it out of the way early on, then spend the rest of their lives quenching their tough-guy urges in a much more constructive way: namely, sitting in a chair watching other guys beat the crap out of each other. It's all about good old sanctioned violence when a Canadian contingent led by Carlos Newton and Voitek "The Destroyer" Kaszowski takes on elite Arizona fighters at Rage in the Cage 51, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, August 2, at Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. Tickets are $20 to $50. For details call 602-267-1600 or visit www.rageinthecage.com.- Craig Wallach