X Games festivities get under way around Austin
By Dave Doolittle
Editor’s note: This article was originally published June 4, 2014
The festivities surrounding the X Games began Tuesday night with a pair of parties in Northwest Austin.
At Top Golf driving range off Burnet Road, X Games athletes traded boards and bikes for golf clubs with Austinite and two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw.
The ATX Shootout featured athletes such as Dennis Enarson, Steve McCann, Curren Caples and Colin McKay along with skateboarding legend and X Games commentator Tony Hawk.
The event benefitted the First Tee Austin and the Sheckler Foundation, a California charity created by skateboarder Ryan Sheckler that raises money to help injured action sports athletes and children in need. First Tee Austin is a nonprofit that provides educational programs to young people through golf.
Hawk, 46, said he hasn’t spent a lot of time on a golf course.
“I used to play when I was little with my mom, and then I tried to get into it a little bit, like, 10 years ago and realized I just don’t have that time to spare. But I’d rather do this then not have to chase the balls,” Hawk said of hitting at a driving range.
Hawk, who does commentary for X Games skateboard competitions, said he was in Austin about 12 years ago and said he wasn’t surprised last year when the city was picked to host the X Games.
“It’s a great vibe here for something like this, and obviously with the success of South by Southwest and the attention Austin’s getting, it’s a great venue for it,” Hawk said.
Crenshaw, 62, was emphatic when asked if he’s ever been on a skateboard or BMX bike: “I have not and will not,” he said with a laugh. “I don’t need my body to break in half at this point in my life.”
Crenshaw’s wife, Julie, who is a First Tee board member, and Sheckler’s mother came up with the idea for the ATX Shootout last year in California, Crenshaw said.
“They got together this idea for a fundraiser at the onset of the X Games,” Crenshaw said. “We thought we’d combine forces.”
Crenshaw will be competing in a tournament in Branson, Mo., this weekend and will miss the X Games, but he said he thinks they’ll be “unbelievable.”
“All the organizers and all the participants, they’re excited. They’re very excited,” he said.
Meanwhile, X Games athletes including Travis Pastrana, Mat Hoffman and Steve Arpin were at the iFly indoor flying facility off U.S. 183 near Anderson Mill Road for Fly Fest, which featured barbecue, beer and flying.
Pastrana, who will be competing in RallyCross, said he had just flown into Austin on Tuesday morning and hadn’t had a chance to see the course set up at Circuit of the Americas.
He said he’s been to Austin and Circuit of the Americas for MotoGP.
IFly will have a booth set up at Circuit of the Americas during the games, where people can get more information about the facility.
More events are planned Wednesday night, including the official kickoff party that will benefit the V Foundation for Cancer Research.
The party will feature live music from G. Love, Zeale and more. It will be hosted by BMX riders Ryan Nyquist and Mat Hoffman and also will include a silent auction and raffle.
The party is set for 6 to 9 p.m. at the Belmont, 305 W. Sixth St. Tickets are available for $50 and $125 for VIP access.
All proceeds will benefit the V Foundation, which was formed by ESPN and the late basketball coach Jim Valvano in 1993 to raise money for cancer research.
Meanwhile, several X Games athletes will be at K1 Speed indoor karting facility in Northwest Austin for a fundraiser benefitting Road 2 Recovery.
The Bucky and Friends endurance race will include skateboarder and rally driver Bucky Lasek, Tanner Foust, Pastrana and more.
The event, at 2500 McHale Court, will run from 7 to 10 p.m.
Road 2 Recovery helps professional motocross and supercross members who sustain career-ending injuries.