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Utah family spends weekend with extreme sports athlete Travis Pastrana

SHARE Utah family spends weekend with extreme sports athlete Travis Pastrana

Brigham City residents Tyann Fowkes and her 14-year-old son Jaxton Gauthier have been avid fans of extreme sports for years, which includes sports such as skateboarding, BMX racing, snowmobiling and others. They have watched the X Games on TV and attended Nitro Circus when it debuted in Salt Lake City last summer.

It was there that Jaxton learned about a social media contest sponsored by Oberto’s Beef Jerky where the winner would get to spend a weekend with Travis Pastrana, an extreme sports athlete and the founder of Nitro Circus.

“We entered the contest, not thinking much of it, and then totally forgot about it,” Fowkes said in an interview with the Deseret News. “Then, months later, we found out that we had won.”

She and Jaxton were flown to Maryland in November to Pastrana’s action sports complex, called Pastranaland. The two got to ride dirt bikes, drive on an extreme go-kart track and witness some high-flying stunts performed by the cast of Nitro Circus.

Fowkes says her favorite part of the day was the pit bike race, in which racers ride around a track on small dirt bikes, but there’s a twist. There are no rules.

“Be careful,” warns Pastrana as he introduces the event, as seen in a video filmed that day. “There’s going to be pushing, shoving, anything that it takes to win. It’s not cheating. It’s creatively winning.”

Jaxton's favorite part was also the pit bike race, along with meeting Pastrana, who Jaxton says has been his idol for a long time and inspired him to start biking.

For Fowkes, the thought of her son hurtling through the air while doing tricks and stunts is still a little worrisome.

“It’s always nerve-wracking for your son to do any kind of extreme sport,” she said. “But I came from a family that followed motorsports and my brother even raced motorcycles. You just have to sit back and let them do what they want to do.”

Pastrana said in an interview with the Deseret News that family was crucial to his own journey to become one of the world’s best action sports stars.

“Growing up, my dad and his brothers ran a construction company,” he said. “Behind the shop, there was a dirt oval where we would race bikes, motorcycles and anything we could get our hands on.”

The support of a parent is very important for any child who wants to get into extreme sports, Pastrana said. He says that as the sport has become more visible to the general public through things such as the X Games, he has seen how parents have become more likely to support their children’s decision to pursue it as a hobby or sometimes even a career.

As a father himself, Pastrana says that he feels a responsibility to pass on his adventurous spirit to his two daughters and to the next generation in general.

“I want to pass along passion,” he said. “Passion for biking or motorcycles or even just passion for life. That’s something I want to see grow.”

Between an extreme weekend with his idol and a new BMX bike for Christmas, Jaxton is hoping to jump-start his own journey toward becoming a high-flying BMX freestyle star.

Email: jadams@deseretnews.com