What do you want to do with your life? The dreaded question that is sometimes difficult to answer for any teenager but for professional freestyle motocross champion and Kelowna resident, Kris Garwasiuk, the answer was riding his motorcycle.
The sport of Freestyle Motocross or FMX began in 1998 and one year later, a then 15-year-old Garwasiuk, became the first Canadian FMX competitor to go pro. Now, some 13 years later, several competitions, more than few championships, a video game character and the first Canadian to compete at X-Games, Kris is still going strong with his passion developed into a full time business with Global FMX and with performing in and producing big shows across Canada to such great success that venues rebook the performance while they are still packing up.
Garwasiuk comes by his business sense naturally as his parents have been Kelowna business owners of Logos n’ Stiches for the past 22 years – the inside wall of father’s office decorated with photos of Kris in competition. To this day, his father comes to as many shows as possible, lends a helping hand where needed and even Garwasiuk’s wife runs the merchandise.
Six years ago, Kris joined forces with the second-ever Canadian competitor in XGames, Bruce Cook. Together, Garwasiuk and Cook have created one of the most exciting freestyle shows in the country and “We finally get to do our big production show in our home town.”
Of the eight FMX athletes performing tomorrow night, five are from the Valley including Cook and Garwasiuk. Joining the roster are well-known names Kris Foster of Kamloops, Chris Nolan of Kelowna, Kyle Demelo of Oliver, brothers Dylan and Lance McMorran of Medicine Hat, Alberta and Billy Van Vugt of London, Ontario.
“So much of our show is local talent,” says Garwasiuk. “It just happens to be that the Okanagan is a hot bed for extreme action sports.”
The show tomorrow is a showcase of top athletes not just in motocross but also includes sport bike stunt riders, top caliber mountain bikers, BMX athletes and “all are well known, highly sought after guys.”
“I have been doing shows for close 17 years,” recalls Garwasiuk, “and in this show, we have refined it to the best of the those years in one performance.”
The show, Friday at Prospera Place, is practically an all day event and offers attendees the opportunity to have some fun, meet the talent and then enjoy a near two and a half hour high caliber performance full of music, pyrotechnics, choreography and even a few surprises.
“Think rock concert meets extreme sports. This is by far the most extravagant and coolest production we have ever done,” says Garwasiuk.
The event begins in the parking lot around 2 p.m. with a show n’ shine of cars and motorcycles, the Boyd’s Auto body barbeque and every child’s favourite, Monster truck rides complete with car squishing action. There will be two monster trucks set up for public rides in the parking lot of Prospera Place. The doors to the building will open at 5 p.m. and between 5:30 and 6:30, ticket holders will have the opportunity to meet the talented athletes of the show, get posters, autographs, t-shirts and take photos.
As the event is general seating, there will a half hour for the audience to get settled before the lights go down and the show starts at 7 p.m. with spectacular opening ceremonies full of pyrotechnics including fireballs, laser lighting, and fireworks raining down on the performers.
“It is a really entertaining, professional show,” adds Garwasiuk. “We pride ourselves on being professional role models. Not only can we ride, but we are professional business people. We show up on time, we are particular with respect to choosing athletes for the show, we want to ensure no misrepresentation of the Global FMX brand and its reputation.”
There performance is a short 15 minute intermission part way through the performance which wraps up around 9:30 p.m. Children under 10 are free with a ticket holding adult and as for the little ones, ear plugs are optional as there is only one bike performing at a time keeping volume to a minimum.
Get your tickets at the Prospera Place box office or go online to selectyourtickets.com.
Check back to MotorcyGal for photos of the event and a full review.