Outposts

Outdoors, action, adventure

Category: Supercross

Once-paralyzed supercross rider Jimmy Button to bicycle cross-country to raise money for spinal cord research

 

Supercross rider Jimmy Button vividly remembers the accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Remembers it as if it happened only yesterday, instead of 11 years ago.

"I can still remember it clear as day. It was one of those basic little falls -- I wasn't going very quickly at all -- I just fell down very slowly and hit at the wrong speed and at the wrong angle. It pinched my spinal cord and I had instantaneous paralysis," Button told Outposts.

Button, then 26, was starting his 11th season as a professional motocross rider. However, on Jan. 22, 2000, his life would drastically change in an instant. While practicing for the evening’s AMA Supercross Series race at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, Button went down in the whoop section and immediately went numb.

"The second I hit the ground I knew, I instinctively knew what was wrong, and when medic workers and various track workers got to me I basically told them that I was pretty sure I just paralyzed myself because I can't feel anything or move anything below my neck."

The injury sustained was a pinched spinal cord in the C-2 to C-6 region of his neck -- his second and third vertebrae -- leaving Button paralyzed from the neck down and considered an incomplete quadriplegic.

"A complete injury is when the spinal cord is severed; an incomplete injury is where mine is, where it's a bruise where there's always a glimmer of hope that something might come back to you, you may regain some function," said Button.

Still, doctors didn't hold out much hope, and told family that Button would likely never walk again.

"My records, which we have, say on the very first page 'give family zero hope for recovery.' I think there were maybe some people in the rehab center thought I had a chance but not the initial doctors," Button said.

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Travis Pastrana makes the jump to NASCAR

 

Action sports phenom Travis Pastrana is making the leap to NASCAR in 2011.

Pastrana, 27, has signed with Michael Waltrip Racing with inital plans to race Toyotas in seven Nationwide Series events in 2011 and 20 races in 2012 for Pastrana-Waltrip Racing, a new team owned by Pastrana, Michael Waltrip Racing and Gary and Blake Bechtel.

"I’ve been following NASCAR closely for years as a fan of the sport, with competing in the sport a lifelong dream," Pastrana said. "I decided it was time to try and turn that dream into reality and with the help of the Bechtel family, Michael Waltrip Racing and Wasserman Media Group I’m now one step closer!"

Waltrip, a a two-time Daytona 500 champion, noted the importance of the youth demographic Pastrana brings to NASCAR.

"Travis has built an enormous and unique following all over the world," said Waltrip. "As a race team owner, we are always looking for ways to deliver to our partners and engage our fans better. This is an opportunity to showcase our company and our sport to a new generation of young fans. We’re also looking for that next big star.  Travis already is one and action sports is full of talented athletes. Having Travis as a part of our program adds another great dimension to our team and NASCAR."

Pastrana has won 16 X Games freestyle motocross gold medals and also has multiple supercross, motocross and rally car championships under his belt. Pastrana also stars in MTV's "Nitro Circus," which includes the television series, live tours and a soon-to-be-released feature film.

-- Kelly Burgess
twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Video: Travis Pastrana gets ready for NASCAR. Credit: Pastrana Waltrip Racing via YouTube

X Games party Thursday at L.A. Live

Chad Kagy on his way to another medal at last year's BMX Vert competition.

The X Games are having a party and everyone's invited.

The X Games 15 Quinceañera party will begin at 3 p.m. Thursday at L.A. Live to herald the opening of ticket sales for the 15th annual X Games.

The street celebration will feature appearances and autograph sessions by numerous athletes, including MotoX stars Todd Potter, Ronnie Faisst and Kyle Loza plus Olympic silver medalist and Winter X Games Snowboarder X gold medalist Lindsey Jacobellis.

There will also be a skateboard street demonstration by X Games boarders Paul Rodriguez Jr., Terry Kennedy, Amy Caron and Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins.

Attendees can check out the world's largest skateboard, which is more than 36 feet long, and also get an opportunity to design their own skate deck.

Correlating with the Quinceañera theme, vendors will be offering churros, tacos and burritos for sale, plus  a mariachi band will perform.

X Games 15 will be held July 30-Aug. 2 in Los Angeles and will feature some of the hottest global athletes competing in MotoX, BMX Freestyle, Rally car racing and other events.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Chad Kagy on his way to another medal at last year's BMX Vert competition. Credit: Pete Demos/ESPN Images/Shazamm

Supercross champ James Stewart to hold fan Ride Day in Riverside

James Stewart catches air. Supercross champion James "Bubba" Stewart will spend most of Saturday riding and mingling with fans during what is simply called Ride Day at Milestone MX Park in Riverside.

The event is from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. There will be no formal autograph session or any real structure. It's merely a day set aside by the 2009 AMA SX champion to allow fans a chance to get to know him personally.

"During race season, we're busy. There's not much time," said Stewart, who will make his X Games debut later this summer. "I thought it would be cool to have a whole day where my fans and I can ride together and have some fun. I know a lot of them love to ride too.

"This event is open to everyone, whether they want to ride or just watch, so I'm hopeful a lot of people will come out and see me."

The park has a capacity limit so early arrival might be key to actually getting in.

In keeping with the theme, lunch will be served by Chuy's Mexican restaurant of Temecula, owned by Steve Barlow. Barlow is a pro racer in The Off-Road Championship (TORC) series and a Red Bull Racing Team owner. Stewart is among many Red Bull-sponsored riders.

Ride Day is free to Milestone Park members but there's a $10 spectator fee for nonmembers.

--Pete Thomas

Photo: James Stewart catches air. Credit: Red Bull

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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.



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