SALT LAKE CITY — In a few days, the world's best action sports athletes and tens of thousands of fans will dial up the energy for the 2011 Dew Tour.
But before any athlete flies sky high on a BMX bike or guns a motorbike over a towering jump, there's a lot of scooping, dumping and smoothing of dirt to be done to transform a parking lot near Temple Square into a bedeviling Dew Tour track.
BMX legend TJ Lavin retired a year ago. Now, he's building the course that will challenge the riders and showcase their talents.
More than 50 trucks and 100 workers arrived ahead of the competition to build the courses outside and inside EnergySolutions arena.
"If everybody knows what they're doing and everybody is on board, then it's going to be no problem at all," Lavin said.
To build the massive motocross course, crews hauled in 5,000 cubic yards of earth from around the state. That’s about 400 to 500 truck loads.
And inside EnergySolutions Arena, athletes will compete for a $20,000 prize in each event, including snowboard Olympian Shawn White. The prize money is about 10 times what Lavin took home when he first won the X Games in 1997.
“The notoriety has gone up a few levels, and the money has gone up a few levels,” Lavin said. “It’s been going really well."
This is the third stop on the Dew Tour, with one more stop to go. Show organizers say they love Salt Lake City because the crowds like the show. They are expecting more than 50,000 spectators this upcoming weekend.
Those fans will be watching more than 200 competitors from 20 countries perform stunts like those in the freestyle motocross competition. On another track, they'll see equally-impressive stunts by BMX riders.
It all kicks off Thursday, and runs through Sunday. NBC will broadcast two hours of coverage both Saturday and Sunday for those who can't make it to the events in person. For more information go to www.allisports.com/dew-tour/event/salt-lake-city-2011.