Skaters, bikers coming in June

The Baltimore Sun

Some of the world's finest skateboarders, BMX bike riders and freestyle motocross performers will show Baltimore their tricks when the Action Sports Pro Tour Dew Tour comes to town in late June for the Panasonic Open.

The Maryland Stadium Authority outbid Louisville, Ky., for the June 21-24 showcase, said Harold Workman, chief executive officer for the Kentucky State Fair. The event will be held at the Camden Yards sports complex.

Stadium authority, state and city officials will announce additional details at a news conference today.

Aside from ESPN's X Games, the Dew Tour, which began in June 2005, provides the largest national showcases for skateboarders, BMX bike riders and FMX freestyle motorcyclists. More than 250,000 people attended five tour stops last year, and an estimated 38 million watched on NBC. The Panasonic Open serves as the tour's annual opener.

The Kentucky Sports Authority estimated that last year's event drew 41,000 and brought $2.8 million in economic impact to the Louisville area.

"It was a good event," Workman said. "You never like to lose one, but we understand it's a business decision. It was certainly well-received and we wanted them back."

Each tour stop features two skating competitions, three BMX showdowns and an FMX motocross contest. Top athletes include Baltimore's Bucky Lasek and California's Ryan Sheckler in skating, England's Jamie Bestwick and Ohio's Anthony Napolitan in BMX and Arizona's Nate Adams in FMX. Olympic snowboarding gold medalist Shaun White also skated at three tour stops last year.

Lasek, one of the most lauded and recognized skaters in the world, has won the tour's vert skating title each of the past two years.

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