Bruce Cook Acclaimed FMX Athlete Is An Inspiration!
On January 3, 2014, Bruce Cook was poised to make freestyle motocross history. Already an acclaimed FMX athlete, the Kelowna, Canada native had spent the past few years touring the world, performing for thousands of fans at each tour stop. He had made his X Games debut in 2012 and now was riding with one of his longtime idols, Travis Pastrana, in Nitro Circus Live. On this January night, Cook was going to try to rock the action sports world by attempting the world’s
first double frontflip.
In an instant however, everything changed. Cook under rotated on the landing and crashed hard. He underwent surgery the following day to repair a broken T-11 vertebrae. Cook also bad suffered broken ribs and damage to his spinal cord resulting in paralysis from the waist down.
Bruce now faced the biggest challenge of his life. Always a highly motivated person, Cook tackled his injuries with the same focus and drive that had fueled his career. In an interview with CBC Radio just days after the accident, Bruce said, ““I’ve got a long road ahead… I’m staying positive that I’ll get through. I’m staying positive that I’ll walk again with enough work and support and determination.”
Today, Cook is still as driven and passionate about action sports - and about life - as ever. In fact, just ten months after his accident, Cook was back on a dirt bike, popping wheelies on his first ride. Only a few days later, Bruce was riding with his mentor, now good friend, Travis Pastrana at his “Pastranaland” complex when he hit his first jump since his crash.
Cook continues to motivate and inspire people around the world with his story.
His considerable technical skills have also made him an in-demand judge for FMX competitions.
“I haven't really changed what I do,” Bruce explained recently, “I just slightly changed how I do it.” When asked what he was passionate about in an interview conducted a few months prior to his injuries, Cook answered, “Inspiring others to do what they want and to LIVE!” By that measure, clearly nothing has changed for Bruce Cook.
Bruce Cook is now age 29 and will perform at the Thunder Bay event. “I was about 5 years when I had my first ride on a little 50cc Honda in Kelowna where I was born and raised.” said Bruce.
He started on bicycles because it was easier to afford. Then it was dirt bikes and building bigger and bigger jumps.
“ My parents had acreage and I could use the tractor to build dirt jumps. My cousins raced pro motocross but my thing was the jumps. Most of my time was at home at my track with jumps. The sport of Freestyle Motocross was just starting and I got in and started progressing at a
Bruce first met Travis Pastrana in 2008 when he used his foam pit and leaned the back flip for the first time.
“ 2 1/2 years ago I was in the Nitro Circus at Hamilton Ontario and going for the worlds first double front flip but ended up under rotating a little bit and slid off my bike and broke my T11 vertebrae in a live show. It was a bad day at work and the most terrifying time of my life. Right off the bat I thought I was still alive and it didn’t hurt my brain or upper body so I kept telling myself it could be worse and I still tell myself that every day. It helps get through day to
“ From the moment I crashed I knew I didn’t want my last show getting wheeled out on a stretcher and wanted go out on a high not a low. I knew I wanted to get back on my bike and ride again and if I would ride I wanted to do a backflip again and another show again- a last show in
front of a live audience.”
“ It was a lot of hard work but nice having the goal and it drove me in physio and rehab. I used the foam pit again and the first one went well. It is much more difficult because I am now strapped in to the motorcycle. The first one to dirt went well as well.” said Bruce.
“ This is my passion and what I love doing. I have carried on and have done a few tours again with Nitro Circus. I would have been happy with one more jump but the feedback from all over the world was so overwhelming I decided to carry on. It has motivated and inspired people to try new things and get back up when they have been kicked down. The first one was for me and the rest for me and everyone else. It has been a crazy experience. It is a give and take and has
motivated me to keep going.”
It will be amazing to see perform his back flip in Thunder Bay. “The back flip feels good but it is just as risky every time and I have to be focussed and concentrate on the task at hand. It is cool to
travel around and be with some of your good friends. I am looking forward to traveling across Canada.”
“ We are really looking forward to doing the show in Thunder Bay. It is my first time here personally and it is always very exciting in a new market. Many of the fans will have never seen Nitro Circus before and we looking to blow some minds!
Nitro Circus is the worlds top athletes coming together to put on extreme sports show. Freestyle Motocross, BMX, In line skating, skate board scooter you name it. As as contraptions going done the ramp and flying 40 feet through the air. It is a family show for everyone form 5 yrsd old to 95. Nitro Circus started out as little back yard movies and then went Hollywood into productions including the TV show and then take it on the road live in front of thousands of people. It has been going really well . We all enjoy doing it and the crowd picks up on that. The positive energy is great and give an take. We feed off the crowd. Travis Pastrana started the show. In a live show anything can happened. We have been to Europe and Australia this year and now North America from April to October every weekend. we have been at MGM in Las Vegas, Madison Square Gardens New York and have sold out of some of the biggest venues in the world.
I ride the exact same dirt bike I crashed attempting the double front flip on has been modified with a cage around my legs, a seat belt which is one of the scariest parts as I am attached to the bike and there is no eject button anymore. I’m strapped in and looking to perform a back flip here off a 10 foor tall super ramp. I can’t use my legs anymore so it is a lot of practice and time spent in the foam pit where we train doing it over and over again.
After my injury UI wanted to doone more show. The overwhelming response after that first show back has kept me performing on tour. It is cool and the feedback from the crowd keeps me going. I get messages form people saying this has helped them so it is inspirational to me. I look on the bright side and say it could have been worse and keep that mindset every single day.
What is on the horizon for Bruce Cook?
“ The Tours are going well and I plan to get into some motivational speaking at some point. Also I want to break some other records with the Polaris Razer side by sides. Lots of exciting stuff to come. The mental part of life is so important.”