Red Bull X-Fighters conquer Mexico City

Ronnie Renner crowned FMX champion at sold-out Monumental Plaza de Toros

Mexico City (4/2205) — Fastened to a tall concrete wall surrounding  the perimeter of Mexico City’s Monumental Plaza de Toros are two massive  bronze plaques. On these plaques are the names of 117 matadors. In embossed letters, these men are forever immortalized for claiming the tail of the bulls that they killed: The ultimate honor for a bullfighter, the tail is rewarded for showing great poise, skill, dignity and bravery while in the ring. For 56 years the best matadors of Spain and Mexico have attempted to win the tail, but it is ultimately down to the aficionados who flock to the Monumental Plaza to decide who is worthy – and who is not.

While the corrida de toros (the bullfight) has been going on 2000 B.C., for the  first time ever, daring young men and their flying 215-pound, 250cc, 50-horsepower flying machines took to the sand of the Monumental Plaza de Toros as part of the Red Bull X-Fighters freestyle motocross competition. And while the nine world-class freestyle MX riders were not in Mexico City to try and become the 118th name on  the Monumental wall, all of them, in the same spirit of the matadors who came before, were there to leave a lasting impression on the crowd. For only the second time in history of the world’s biggest bullfighting stadium, the X-Fighters drew a sell-out crowd, all of whom had come not to see matadors, toreros and picadors, but the planet’s best freestyle performers take to the steep metal ramps and dirt jumps crowding the 40-degree, perfect circle bullfight ring.


The Monumental Plaza de Toros, a huge edifice built in the shape of an old-school aluminum gas funnel, was completely sold out and packed with more than 40,000 fans, all of who looked down from their concrete seats to watch the most competitive FMX event since last summer’s X Games in Los Angeles. When all was said and done, it was Ronnie Renner winning the hearts of the five-man judging panel, as well as the waves of humanity which were left so spellbound throughout the entire affair that stories of it will likely be passed down for generations.  After making it out of the first round, as well as through the semi, Renner was able to get the better of Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg and Kenny “The Cowboy” Bartram in the three-man final.

“This is the raddest day of my life right here, man,” said Renner, taking a quick breather from signing seat cushions, T-shirts, magazines and programs. “To have this many people here… Man, I was born to do this; I love to do this; the competition was unreal. And the crowd… I was having so much fun and they were so good to me, that I didn’t want to get off the big dirt jump.”

 Placing second  – just .2 of a point behind Renner’s winning score of 94.6 – was Stenberg.

 “I’m so stoked to be here, I’m just pissed I didn’t win,” he lamented, standing in a tunnel deep beneath the bullring. “I don’t care about the money, I just wanted the god damn first place trophy.”

 Third overall went to Bartram. After pulling the highest score in the opening nine man heat with a 92.6, the Oklahoman looked to be the man to beat in Mexico City.

 “No rider is ever okay with third, but I definitely had some mistakes that cost me. Everybody rode really clean here. I think it was tough on the judges.”

 To many on hand, the Red Bull X-Fighters just may go down as the greatest freestyle motocross contest ever. The whips performed by Ronnie Renner, as well as those of Stenberg, defied physics. Moreover, so common was the backflip throughout the contest, that the variations the riders called into action all evening were mind boggling. Perhaps the best trick of the night was Stenberg’s “backflip to side saddle landing” in the final run of the evening. All things considered, it was an epic display of riding talent that had the 42,000 fans filling the ring chanting, cheering, and screaming.

 Ronnie Renner may not have been awarded a bull’s tail, but if one were given away in FMX, his would be the first name on a bronze plaque up on a wall in the Monumental de Plaza de Toros. Ernest Hemingway would have been proud.


  1. Ronnie Renner (USA)
  2. Twitch Stenberg (USA)
  3. Kenny Bartram (USA)
  4. Ailo Gaup (NOR)
  5. Beau Bamburg (USA)
  6. Jim McNeil (USA)
  7. Manu Troux (FRA)
  8. Javier Villegas (CHILE)
  9. Nick Franklin (NZL)

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 REMINDER: The next Red Bull X-Fighters is scheduled for July 21 in Madrid,

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