The fourth of July is largely known for fireworks, grilling and America, but it’s also a great occasion for plenty of extreme sports. Here are the best fourth of July moments in extreme sports history.
Motocross Madness – 2008
One of the best things about the 4th of July, as far as extreme sports go, is that people are often looking for festive ways to be entertained. That provides an opportunity to put on some great stunt shows. Here, a bunch of guys decided to take their super-powerful bikes out and put them vertical, stand on the backs, and otherwise do things you couldn’t do without falling off and hurting yourself very, very badly. The amazing thing here, especially when compared to regular bike stunting, is the weight of these motorbikes; to properly control one of these beasts, you have to be strong and manage them with finesse. If you shift your weight the wrong way or accidentally turn too hard, the bike will not forgive you. And at the same time, the incredible power provides plenty of chances for remarkable maneuvering, as is seen here.
Rhode Island Air Show – 2008
Another popular event for the 4th of July are air shows. For whatever reason, air shows tend to have a patriotic flavor to them, which makes them perfect for celebrating Independence Day, and they’re incredibly social events. Air shows tend to go almost a step beyond extreme sports — flying a plane is about as extreme as it gets, and here, the pilots do dizzying climbs, crazy loops and turns, and unbelievable spins. You have to be an incredibly talented pilot to participate in one of these, so the flying tends to be top-notch. Where else can you possibly see two planes flying in tandem, one only feet from the other? Definitely not at the airport.
TJ Lavin Jam – 2009
Backyard jumps are a 4th of July tradition, and on the 10th anniversary of one biker’s event, he brought a collection of BMX riders to his house to celebrate. Although they dealt with problematic wind, when they did manage to get out to the jumps, they didn’t waste the opportunity. The coolest part of BMX jumping isn’t what you might expect, which would be when the riders take off from the jumps. Instead, it’s more when they land: riders have to angle the bike to meet the slope of the downramp just right, because otherwise they’ll end up upsetting the bike and going over the handlebars. In addition to jumps, the terrain here includes inclined walls that have the riders basically parallel to the ground — a feat that requires speed and agility to manage without letting gravity overcome you.
Sand Dune Wheelies – 2008
Sand tends to make everything more difficult, and that certainly includes popping wheelies in a rickety off-road vehicle. The challenges of driving on sand are many — less traction, more unpredictability, erratic changes in speed and direction — and doing it on two wheels only multiplies all of these. Beaches are a major part of the 4th of July, since the holiday is usually sunny and hot and often involves fireworks launched from water, and so it was fitting that these riders decided to take their car out on the beach on the 4th. The moment where they actually manage to get the vehicle airborne is pretty unbelievable — the fact that a car like that could not only leave its front two tires but then stay aloft without flipping backwards or otherwise wrecking is a pretty big surprise. I can guarantee that this probably wasn’t the first time they tried this stunt.
Snow Sports In Vegas – 2010
One thing that you do not expect to see on the 4th of July is skiing and snowboarding tricks, which is why this last video is so impressive. Caesar’s Palace organized an event to celebrate Independence Day, and they created an artificial snow-ramp structure for extreme skiers and snowboarders to take advantage of. What resulted were some pretty intense backflips, spins and rotations, and board tricks, particularly the ones at the end, in which the riders seem to have so much speed by the time they land that it’s a wonder they don’t fly out of their gear. I’m sure all of these guys and girls were pretty happy to have somewhere to ply their trade in July, and the crowd got a very unusual Independence Day show. If only they put some fireworks in the background, then it would’ve been a complete — and completely weird — way to commemorate America’s birthday.