Brandon Schmidt Is Ready to Send It
By Robert Haydon
Becoming world-class in one sport is really hard for most people. Attempting to become world-class in more than one is verging on unthinkable -- or downright scary, even. Brandon Schmidt is among a handful of action sports stars who counts multiple sports as a primary discipline and somehow manages to stay laid back and super positive in the process. Last year the professional snowboarder traded his board for a bike and surprised everyone with a fifth-place finish in the BMX Best Tricks event at the inaugural Nitro World Games. Now he’s coming back to the semifinals in Salt Lake City to show everyone what another year’s worth of riding has added to his arsenal of aerial artistry. (Tickets are available now!)
Schmidt’s rise in BMX came seemingly out of nowhere. He rides in Nitro Circus shows, but competing is a whole other animal. His first competition was a local amateur event, but the next one after that was last year’s NWG. “It was an absolute trip. I couldn't believe I was riding with the people that I had watched for years on one of the biggest stages in action sports,” he says. It may have been a trip for him, but it was a treat for the fans who got to watch him effortlessly pull off selections from his bag of enormous tricks, honed riding the Giganta ramp in Nitro shows. He was a dark horse coming in, but his experience on this ramp setup should have clued everyone in to his potential as a contender.
As an example, last year he landed a backflip tailwhip to backflip, a trick he taught himself in practice just before the finals. He was also one of six riders who landed a triple backflip in last year's BMX Best Tricks final. Probably not the level of trick you’d expect from someone in their second-ever BMX competition, but coming in with that experience on the ramps was priceless for Schmidt. To prep for this year’s NWG, he’s been putting in plenty of bag time on the bike and repeating his tricks over and over until they become muscle memory. Check out highlights from this event last year:
Physically preparing is one thing, but what about the mental pressure of competing on a national stage? His formula for that is simple and positive. “The best way to ride an event like this is to go into it with the mindset that I have with all my homies: showing the world our tricks. It isn’t about who finishes first or last; it’s about showing the world the gnarliest tricks possible,” he says.
Show off gnarly tricks? Check. Have fun and progress the sport while doing it? Double check. Schmidt says he’s going into this year’s competition with the same stress-free attitude, knowing that no matter what happens he’s going to have an awesome day with his friends. So which of his friends will he be watching the closest this year?
“Hands down the guy to watch in BMX Best Tricks will be (last year’s winner) Ryan Williams," Schmidt says. "He will absolutely be throwing down the biggest and baddest tricks all night, but Kurtis Downs and Gavin Godfrey are for sure going to be changing the game and pushing things to the limit!”
Of course we’ll be watching everyone, but we can’t wait to see what this multi-threat superstar is going to pull off. They’ll be a complete surprise, as well, because when we ask him what tricks he’s going to be laying down in June, he simply tells us, “You’ll just have to wait and see.”
Got it, Brandon. See you out there! The Nitro World Games finals are June 24th in Salt Lake City. Tickets are on sale now.