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MIRRA TROUPE THRILLS 2,500 IN AREA SHOW

Rain did not stop eight professional riders from performing their 2001 Dave Mirra BMX Super Tour freestyle bike tricks Saturday afternoon.

Close to 2,500 fans at Bikes Blades and Boards on Niagara Falls Boulevard in North Tonawanda watched as Dave Mirra, Ryan Nyquist, Mike Laird, Rob Darden, Dennis McCoy, Colin Mackay, Koji Kraft and Scott Wirch first tested the slippery ramps.

When they felt comfortable enough with the ramps and the weather allowed for it, they began showing an array of tricks before one of the largest audiences among the 12 stops on the Super Tour.

The Super Tour is usually seen on ESPN and ESPN2. Saturday's stop was taped for broadcast on ESPN and ESPN2 on Friday July 6 at 1:30 a.m.

"It's the best of both worlds because it's a TV show and it's also live," Mirra said. "It's for kids to see what it's all about."

Mirra performed many of his own tricks. He also rode the rails along the ramps and performed the Superman C, riding up the ramp with speed and holding his hands out in the air before descending to the opposite side of the ramp.

Darden specializes in 360 transfers, doing twists and turns from one ramp to the next. He also performed a trick in the air where he removed both his hands and feet from the bike.

The rest of the riders demonstrated their dare-devil abilities and freestyle tricks. Almost all of the riders had a few spills on the slippery ramps, but none suffered a serious injury.

While some fans watched Mirra and the other riders perform tricks on one side of the concrete park, children, inspired by the action, began doing jumps on the other side.

After the two-hour demo, Mirra and the riders signed autographs on the ramps.

Tim Jubinville, 17, of Brampton, Ont., traveled two hours to see the performance.

"Actually, I came out here to see some of the riders and to ride the park myself, Jubinville said. "It's an amazing park. I love it here. These are some of the greatest riders I've ever seen.

After autographs, the Dave Mirra Pro Model "Haro BMX bike was raffled off. Matt Scheiner, 13, of North Tonawanda won the silver bike and then was photographed with Mirra.

"I just want to thank the fans and everyone who made this happen, Mirra said.

Mirra, 27, of Greenville, N.C., but born in Syracuse, began riding when he was just 4. He entered his first BMX freestyle contest when he was 10 and placed second to last. At 13, after mastering the Vert slopes, Haro Bikes became his first sponsor. By the time Mirra graduated from high school, he was a professional BMX rider.

Now, he is the most decorated athlete in BMX history, winning nine gold X Games medals, more than any other X Games athlete. He is sponsored by Haro Bikes, Slim Jim, Fox Racing, DC Shoes and Arnette.

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