This weekend, however, professional and amateur extreme athletes will show off their talents on a course full of ramps and rails, defying gravity with flips, turns, and twists at the first Kansas City Y Games. Why Y? Because ESPN's got a hold on the X Games, and if you step on the toes of the sports gods of the western hemisphere, you might find yourself in the penalty box. The sports network hosted the first Extreme Games in October 1993, and since then adventurous athletics have surged into the world of popular sport.
That's why Jenni Landers, marketing director at KSMO Channel 62, has worked to bring this one-day, free event to help provide an outlet for extreme sports in Kansas City. "I would love for extreme sports to become more mainstream and respected here," Landers says. "We need to create more awareness for the sport here so that there are other places than just Overland Park and North Kansas City that have extreme sports parks."
These first Y Games will take place at Corporate Woods -- but not without a twist of irony. Extreme sport participants are all too familiar with signs banning them from certain premises, including Corporate Woods, with the threat of a cop-provided scolding stopping their good time. "This is a big deal that Corporate Woods is being so generous as to hold an event of this nature in their parking lot," Landers says, laughing as she qualifies that "kids are still not allowed to skate rails and benches in the office park, but for the day of the 17th, they will be allowed to tackle the street courses."
The Y Games will bring amateur and professional, local and national athletes to the grounds of the metro's corporate forest as it is transformed for a day into an extreme playing field. Professional athletes to attend include Josh Stricker (BMX), Ryan Kentfield (skateboard), and others. The event, however, isn't just for observing. Activities for everyone to try include a paintball gallery, a climbing wall, amateur ramps and rails, and sumo wrestling, all to the soundtrack of local bands that will play throughout the day.
Twenty years ago, this extreme event would have been a circus sideshow, and now it's a halfpipe away from being, at least for a day, a topic of office conversation.
The Y Games will take place at the Building 40 parking lot from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 913-621-6262.