BMX phenomenon to show off tricks during the fair

By Amanda Wurtz

Get ready for back flips, air whips and spins as you watch the BMX StuntMaster Show at this year’s fair! Award-winning BMX rider John Parker, who has competed for over 15 years around the country and the world, is psyched to entertain during the fair. “The message of these shows is in the action,” Parker said. “We bring a fun and exciting show to audiences and spice it up with danger and a laugh or two!”

It’s a must-see during your fair experience, said Red River Valley Fair General Manager Bryan Schulz. “It fits perfectly with our Crave the Fun theme which aims to provide a unique experience for fair-goers that will make them wanting to come back and invite their friends, family and neighbors.”

The show will include Parker, pro skateboarder Benji Galloway of Portland, Oregon and pro BMX rider Gary Laurent from Las Vegas, Nevada. “Galloway and Laurent have been performing for over a decade and bring exciting style to the ramp,” said Parker. On the vertical half pipe ramp there will be no-handed, no-footed variations as well as 540 degree spins, tail whip airs, superman airs and back flips.

Photo Courtesy of John Parker
John Parker flips in the air on his custom Hoffman Condor 20″ bike. This bike, which he will perform with at the Red River Valley Fair, is also used for competitions and is specially designed for vertical ramp riding.

The audience will serve as a key component of the show, and may be incorporated into the show. “Depending on the set up of our jump ramp, we may ask for some lucky volunteers to be a part of the action,” said Parker. Great care is taken, however, for those who may participate. The stunts that the professionals perform are dangerous and may cause injury to those not well-versed in the sport. Parker emphasizes that it is important to not try any of the moves at home and that safety gear such as a helmet, gloves, knee and elbow pads are a must for the professionals.

For those who find the riding style something that they would like to become serious about, he suggests starting off small and developing the basic skills. “Get a good helmet and start with tricks on the ground,” said Parker. “Learn basic control of your bike first.  Find local parks and riders that can help you start slow and build up your skills. I started on a dirt jump that was just two feet tall. Eventually I built a six foot wooden ramp. Today, we ride 13.5 foot vertical ramps. If you start to take riding seriously, you are going to want to visit training facilities like Woodward Camp [in Woodward, Pennsylvania] to boost your skills.”

Parker started off with a dream as a teenager and this idea turned into today’s reality of dozens of awards, performances around the world and the opportunity to present his skills through BMX motivational shows for teens. His interest in the BMX industry was piqued at age 15 while waiting for the bus after school one day. A classmate was riding his 20″ bike full speed down the street when he catapulted off the curb. He landed into the bike lane and immediately jumped up on to the frame of his bike, straddling the seat between his feet, according to Parker. He let go of his bars and stood straight up riding down the street standing tall with his hands out like a bird.

This trick took John’s heart by storm as he went home, dusted off his rusty bike and immediately began developing his skills. As high school graduation hit, he already had a year of undefeated amateur competition under his belt and had landed a full sponsorship with GT Bicycles. Throughout his 15 years of competing, he participated in the X-Games 11 times and earned four medals. He is also the two-time winner of the MTV Sports and Music Festival and has racked up numerous ASA World Tour awards.

He’ll show some of the award-winning moves with other professionals during the fair, with three performances daily at 2, 4 and 6 p.m. north of the midway. Watch a few of the tricks and learn more about John Parker with his website.

To find out more information on the 2013 fair activities, check out the website at www.redrivervalleyfair.com, or call the Fair office at 701-282-2200. Or, like the Red River Valley Fair’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Red.River.Valley.Fair.

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About Amanda Wurtz

Amanda is a freelance blog writer for the Red River Valley Fair Association. Her appreciation of the fair was developed while she covered the association for four years as journalist for the Cass County Reporter. Today, she works as a Customer Service Representative for The CE Shop in Fargo. She makes her home in West Fargo with husband Christopher and their orange tabby cat, Simba.

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