The New Batch
Every year, new faces and names appear seemingly out of nowhere and rise to stardom at X Games. These are the young guns -- the teenagers and 20-somethings just breaking onto the pro circuit with nothing to prove and no expectations -- and the transplants -- the veterans from other disciplines who decide to try something new. No matter where they come from, they are all rookies making their X Games debut. Here are 10 rookies to watch at the upcoming X Games in Austin, Texas.
Kevin Peraza, BMX Park
Kevin Peraza, 19, will be making his X Games debut in BMX Park. He's shown he's got what it takes to podium: In 2013, he won Simple Session, a park contest in Estonia with a stacked field of competitors. The Tucson, Arizona, resident broke onto the pro circuit in 2011, after a strong performance on the amateur tour, the Gatorade Free Flow Tour.
Riley Hawk, Skateboard Street
Let's forget for a minute who Riley Hawk's dad is. Even without blessed skateboarding genes, he'd be a promising new contender at X Games. At 21, he'll be joining an elite field in Skateboard Street and he's one of 16 skaters with a video entry in the Real Skate contest. And OK, fine, it doesn't hurt that his dad is Tony Hawk.
Robby Gordon, Stadium Super Trucks
Robby Gordon is hardly new to competition. The former NASCAR and Indy 500 racer started the Stadium Super Trucks series in 2013 and he'll be bringing the event to X Games for the first time in Austin. Last year, Gordon won the SST tour championship title by just seven points over his closest competitor, Rob MacCachren. He'll be a favorite for gold in Texas.
Alec Majerus, Skateboard Street
At 18, rookie Alec Majerus, from Rochester, Minnesota, will be the youngest in the X Games Austin Skateboard Street field. But his age hasn't slowed him down so far. This year, he took third place at the Tampa Pro behind Nyjah Huston and Chaz Ortiz, beating out high-profile pros like Ishod Wair, Luan Oliveira, Manny Santiago, Chris Cole and others.
Joni Wiman, RallyCross
Joni Wiman, a 20-year-old from Finland, won all six stops of Global RallyCross Lites in 2013, and in Austin, he'll be making his debut in the top RallyCross class with the likes of Ken Block, Tanner Foust and Travis Pastrana. He finished fifth in the season opener in Barbados. Plus, two-time World Rally Champion Marcus Grnholm has been his coach and mentor for the past few years.
Broc Raiford, BMX Street
Broc Raiford has proven he's consistent when it comes to contests: He got sixth at the 2014 Simple Session and seventh at Texas Toast in 2013. Raised in Louisiana, Raiford now calls Southern California home. He broke onto the scene in 2012 and has continued to climb his way up. Even though he's an X Games rookie, there's a good chance he could land on the podium in BMX Street in Austin.
Clint Reynolds, BMX Dirt
In addition to competing in BMX Dirt -- which returns to U.S. soil at an X Games for the first time since 2006 -- X Games rookie Clint Reynolds will actually be helping to build the dirt jumps, too. In 2013, he got sixth place at Texas Toast, showing he can hang with the best of them.
Emma Gilmour, RallyCross
In an X Games first, two women, including Emma Gilmour, will race in the driver's seat against the men in RallyCross in Austin. The New Zealand native has a long and storied racing career that spans a dozen years of rally competitions. She's finished runner-up in the New Zealand Rally Championship for the past three years in a row.
Tom Parsons, Best Whip
Tom Parsons is far from an unknown in FMX and motocross circles, but he hasn't made the acquaintance of the X Games mainstream audience just yet. Four times is a charm, however, and after three unsuccessful bids for a spot in the X Games Best Whip competition, Parsons will finally make his X Games debut on Friday. Fans will get to see exactly why he handily won the Monster Energy Cup Biggest Whip contest in Las Vegas last October and has a serious shot for gold here in Austin.
Arie Luyendyk Jr., Stadium Super Trucks
In the brand new X Games sport of Stadium Super Trucks, new faces abound, as every competitor is an X Games rookie. But you may recognize the face of Super Trucks athlete Arie Luyendyk Jr., the son of famed Indy driver Arie Luyendyk and who appeared as a runner-up on the ABC reality show "The Bachelorette" in 2012.