Getting to compete in any of the BMX events during X Games is -- without a doubt -- a big deal and no easy task. It isn’t as simple as just dishing out some loot and showing up. In fact, there are only two ways a BMX rider can get the opportunity to compete at X. The first is by a special invite from the Hoffman Sports Association, who runs and organizes the BMX portion of the event, and the second way is by pre-qualifying from the year before -- the top three finishers from the previous year automatically advance to the following X Games. So when the invite list comes out, it’s always exciting to see who gets the nod and who gets the cut.
Earlier last month, the special invite committee at the HSA made the highly-anticipated announcement of the final BMX invite list for X Games 17, which will return to Los Angeles from July 28 to 31 at the Staples Center. Included were Red Bull riders Daniel Dhers, Corey Bohan, Drew Bezanson and Anthony Napolitan.
Four-time X Games medalist (three gold and one bronze), Daniel Dhers pre-qualified first for BMX Park by way of his 2010 gold medal and will be back on the course defending his title against riders like Dennis Enarson and Gary Young.
“It feels awesome to be seeded first and to be able to go last,” says Dhers. “I’m looking forward to being able to take my time, see how everyone’s run goes and then hit 'em with it.” Returning to the park course alongside Dhers will be Corey Bohan and Drew Bezanson.
Bohan (pictured above with Napolitan), who holds three gold medals in dirt -- before the discipline was eliminated from X Games in 2007 -- will be making his ninth overall appearance at X Games.
“Scoring an invite to come back and ride Park was great,” he says. “I enjoy riding the courses they build for this event. I’m not all about the craziest tricks when I compete in X Games Park; I just want to go fast and find the fun lines. It’s an exciting event -- loud BMX fans, downtown L.A. and riding with a few of my boys.”
Joining Dhers and Bohan for his second X Games appearance is Drew Bezanson. Although he had some bad luck in his debut at X Games last year, Drew kicked off 2011 with a huge win at the Simpel Session contest. He also took an impressive second place finish at the Toronto BMX Jam.
"I am definitely looking forward to X Games this year,” he says. “It still doesn't feel real to have gotten an invite. It is truly an honor just to be a part of it. Last year I rode injured and broke my bike. Hopefully I’m going to be able to change that this year.”
Invited back for his third consecutive year is fan favorite Anthony Napolitan. Known for the insane double frontflip he pulled at X Games 15, Anthony will be returning this year with even bigger tricks on his mind. If he can put those together with some tricks on the big quarter, there’s no doubt he’ll be going home with a medal around his neck.
- Five must-see Daniel Dhers videos
- Napolitan and Bezanson entertain U.S. troops overseas
- Follow the events at Red Bull's X Games Central page