Action sports legend Travis Pastrana, who won 11 gold medals at the X Games from 1999-2010, wants to build an action sports facility called Circuit 199 in Sudlersville, Md.
The Annapolis, Md., native started in action sports at a very young age and won his first gold medal at the X Games at the age of 15. He has competed in a wide range of action sports, including motocross, rally car racing and NASCAR.
Pastrana, 36, is now married with two daughters. His wife, Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins Pastrana, is a professional skateboarder who won three gold medals for vert skateboarding at the X Games in 2004, 2007 and 2009.
Circuit 199, named for the number Pastrana wears, is something that Pastrana wants to build because he thinks it will have a positive impact on the community and help him spend more time in the area and less time traveling. Pastrana said the facility in Queen Anne’s County will be free to use and offer different tracks for people of all ages and levels of experience. He envisions a place where anyone from his young daughters to gold medalists can come to practice and have fun.
He said he was on the road almost 200 days per year prior to 2020, and he wants to be able to stay home more with his family.
“Now that we have two little girls, the oldest just started kindergarten, so I’m trying to slow down the travel,” Pastrana said on Glenn Clark Radio June 4. “I still love what I do. My wife loves what she does, but we want to do something for the whole family … but I want to be home.”
He said that his daughters are the reason he wants to build a pump track for skateboards, scooters and BMX practice at the facility. It will also get kids off the couch and active, which he said is important.
Additionally, with skateboarding and BMX being Olympic sports, Pastrana said he had a lot of Olympians and X Games gold medalists coming by the house wanting to practice or talk about world records. His wife suggested that they have a facility where those top athletes can train.
“She’s like, ‘Let’s do a facility where we can have all these top athletes from all over the world in driving, in motor sporting, in BMX and skate,” Pastrana said. “And let’s do something where they can actually be available to kind of help with the community.’”
While he says people are really excited about the idea of having an action sports complex, Pastrana is open to hearing any concerns others may have. He is committed to finding a compromise if he has to so that everyone is happy with the outcome.
Pastrana hasn’t submitted an official plan for Circuit 199 yet, because he wants to work within the community (though the complex will draw people from surrounding areas in Maryland and Virginia as well).
“We haven’t even submitted a plan yet,” Pastrana said. “We’ve just been going down there and talking to the locals saying ‘OK, what do you guys want? What do you need? What can we help with and how can we make this so it’s a win-win?’”
Pastrana has been taking his time talking to people and floating the idea of Circuit 199, but he said he wants to submit a plan soon. At the end of the day, he thinks he can provide a place for people to have fun and improve.
For Pastrana, Circuit 199 is more than just a park or a practice facility for people who want to get into action sports. For him, it is a way to give back because action sports were an outlet for him and many others who tended to be outsiders in a way.
“I think there’s a lot of ADHD kids, including myself, that without this outlet, our lives would have been extremely different,” Pastrana said. “And it’s just something really neat for me to be able to go and say, ‘Hey man, there is an outlet there if you want to go ride your bicycle or your skateboard all day long.’”
Pastrana’s list of accomplishments is rivaled only by his long list of injuries. He has competed with broken bones and has undergone multiple surgeries for injuries, ranging from ACL tears to a dislocated spine.
He laughed at some of the memories and said it was all worth it. When he got hurt, people asked him why he stuck with action sports. He always said that it was what he loved to do.
“At the end of the day I was always a little bit on the crazy side and it was always worth it,” Pastrana said. “… Why would I stop doing what I love to potentially not get injured?”
Safety will be important at the new facility, Pastrana said. He wants to have the proper protocols in place to ensure that people are being safe and wearing helmets. He believes knows from experience that action sport can be dangerous, and he wants to take the proper preventative measures against injuries.
“It’s free, but it’s just not a free for all,” he said.
Pastrana is happy that these activities that used to be associated with a certain stigma are now considered legitimate sports and people can make a living off of them. Back in the 1970s, Pastrana said that skaters and bikers were often considered hooligans or punks, but now there are circuits, championships and events in the Olympics.
“It’s interesting because it is now an Olympic sport,” Pastrana said. “You can represent your country by riding skateboards.”
For more from Pastrana, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Eddie Perlas/ESPN Images