X marks the spot for action sports fans – and that will place about 100,000 of them in Minneapolis for the next few days.
The X Games were invented by ESPN, which held its first festival of extreme sports in 1995. The summer edition of the games has a two-year agreement with Minneapolis, so they'll be back next year with more skateboarding, motocross, and BMX competition.
Nearly all the events are at U.S. Bank Stadium, although Mall of America hosted motorcyclists for Thursday's Harley Davidson Flat Track competition. The X Games continue through Sunday. You can find the schedule and results here and get tickets here. ABC and ESPN will televise most events.
The floor of U.S. Bank Stadium has been transformed for the X Games. One section is dominated by an 82-foot-tall ramp competitors will use to launch themselves over a gap and onto a quarter pipe, MPR News says. The other section features big dirt piles on the the course the bikers will tackle.
A couple of the athletes tell MPR the stadium setting will help bring out their best because they won't have to take the wind into consideration like they do in outdoor competitions.
There are some Minnesota natives competing. Nicole Hause, 19, is barely a year removed from Stillwater High School, the Pioneer Press reports. She'll be part of the women's skateboarding competition on Saturday night, which for the first time is being televised live in prime time.
Alec Majerus, 22, is a Rochester native who won a bronze medal in men's skateboarding at the 2014 X Games. Like Hause, he relocated to southern California once he opted for pro skateboarding.
"Rochester has a couple good spots to skate around town," Majerus tells the Post Bulletin, "but a lot of them you get kicked out because of Mayo security. California is more of a gold mine for skaters."
Organizers of the X Games say the festival "highlights the intersection of sports and lifestyle that exists in action sports."
That means music is a big part of it, too.
On Thursday night First Avenue is hosting a kickoff party featuring Rhymesayers' Prof, deM Atlas, and Aesop Rock.
Friday through Sunday nights will each feature a concert on an outdoor stage at The Commons (the downtown park in front of U.S. Bank Stadium).
Florida rockers A Day to Remember headline Friday's show, Australia's Flume brings his electro-pop sound to the stage Saturday, and homegrown favorites Atmosphere wrap things up on Sunday evening. Getting into the concerts at The Commons requires a ticket to the X Games.
Find information about street closings near the stadium here.