The Nuclear Cowboyz Freestyle Motocross Tour is coming to the Tacoma Dome this weekend, and rider-athlete Brody Wilson thinks newcomers to the sport should give it a try.
“You don’t have to know anything about dirt bikes to like it,” Wilson says.
Wilson is one of the rider-athletes who are the heart of the show. He and his fellow motocross riders take off from ramps on their bikes and perform tricks that seem to defy both physics and the capabilities of the human body.
Oh, and there are pyrotechnics, dancers, lasers and kung fu fighting.
“It’s a hell of a show,” Wilson says.
Wilson, a 28-year-old Massachusetts native, started out on bicycles like any other kid, but there was something not-quite-normal about the way he rode.
“I would always jump stuff on the pedal bikes that my friends wouldn’t,” Wilson says.
Wilson switched to dirt bikes at 14. He became a professional freestyle motocross (FMX) racer at age 20.
Wilson considers himself an entertainer and an athlete. “I workout and train all the time,” he says. He has a personal trainer, lifts weights and rides mountain and road bikes (the kind you pedal).
Now a resident of Temecula, Calif., Wilson has been touring with the Cowboyz for four years. FMX, it turns out, isn’t just an American thing. He’s performed in Australia, China, Europe and Africa.
“The shows always do good outside the U.S. The fans love us,” Wilson says.
The trick that Wilson is most known for, the Kiss of Death, involves physics, athleticism and sheer bravery. Wilson rides his bike off a ramp in second gear, throttles up his bike, goes airborne, puts the machine in a vertical position and then twists his body into a crescent shape with his feet pointing forward and his head facing backward.
He does all of this while never letting go of the handlebars.
“You just got to get your feet back to the foot pegs before the landing,” Wilson says matter-of-factly.
Despite the daredevil quality of the trick, Wilson never crashed during the two years it took him to perfect it.
“It feels really awkward to learn it at first, making the bike stand up and jumping above it. I don’t know what happened, but one day it just clicked.”
The worst injuries he’s had are two broken and dislocated wrists – injuries sustained on separate occasions. He was out of commission for six months with both injuries.
Wilson says the average age of the Cowboyz riders is 31 or 32. He thinks he has another 10 years to go before he’ll retire.
The Nuclear Cowboyz show features a storyline with more than 1,000 freestyle stunts and a heavy metal, electronic dubstep and alternative hip hop soundtrack. It also features the Shaolin Kung Fu Warriors using their bodies to bend metal rods, break objects and be lifted into the air on the points of spears.
Other riders in the show include X Games medalists Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg, Taka Higashino, Mike Mason, Matt Buyten, Ronnie Faisst and Colten Moore as well as freestyle masters Derek Garland, Jimmy Fitzpatrick, Nick Dunne and Marco Picado.
Nuclear Cowboyz Freestyle Motocross Tour
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. D St., Tacoma
Tickets: $25-$50 for adults, $15 for kids ages 2-17 in advance at Ticketmaster, by phone at 800-745-3000 or at Tacoma Dome box office. Tickets are $5 more the day of the show.
VIP Fallout Zone: $85 (Saturday only) includes premium seating, private meet-and-greet with the stars of Nuclear Cowboyz, commemorative credential and poster.
Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541