Tucson's local BMX star Kevin Peraza is putting his hometown, and BMX on the national stage. At only 22 years old, Peraza has been invited to 4 X-Games, and won a gold medal the last 2 years. A rising star in action sports, a huge role model here in Tucson...but he's as humble as they come.
“I'm always happy, I’m always excited and I’m always laughing, you know,” says Peraza. And he should be...as Tucson’s local BMX hero Kevin Peraza added another gold medal to his collection, medaling in the BMX park event at this year's X-Games.
After winning his first gold in the 2016 X-Games in BMX dirt, Peraza was invited back to defend his title...but it was an event he had to qualify for where he saw his success. “They give you this blank sheet of paper, and they expect you to create magic,” says Peraza. This year, the X-Games were held in Minnesota for the first time, inside the Vikings football stadium.
And that's exactly what Peraza did in the park event. Utilizing every inch of the course...including a Viking ship, in the Vikings stadium that he practiced with every day. “That was how I ended my run on the final.”
Using his gold medal in park as motivation heading into the dirt final was a huge bonus for Peraza. But he admitted that going last in the final run worked against him.
“Everyone had already dropped in, I was seriously the only guy on top and it was kind of sad...I didn't really want to be there.” Peraza tried a trick that won him gold last year to move up, but he ended up falling in his final run. “The level of riding was so high that day, that I couldn't keep up.”
You're a 2 time gold medalist at the X-Games, you're only 22 years old, are the Olympics next? I asked Peraza. “Having 2 gold medals in 2 different disciplines only gives me that much more of a motivation to step out of my comfort zone,” he responded. But for now, he's happy being the local hero here in Tucson. “I always wanted to be a local and come to my local skate park and be that local kid that motivated the kids. They support me and my family and everything that we do and it's super welcoming.”