Winter X Games snowmobile champion and Nitro Circus Live daredevil Colten Moore was obviously born with a steely nerve and unbreakable mettle but his greatest strength – attained in the most tragic of circumstances – is he never rides alone.
Moore, a straight talkin' Texan, entered X Games folklore last January when he won the snowmobile freestyle event. The weight he carried on his shoulders, and some might say his heart, should've been too heavy for him to flip and twist and turn the angry 250kg beat in the crisp Aspen night air.
His brother Caleb lost his life after competing in the same event 12 months earlier when his sled's skis caught the lip of his planned landing and he took the brunt of the machine's weight as it slammed into his chest when he was bucked and sent flying over the handlebars. While he somehow climbed to his feet and walked from the course, at 26, he became the X Games first fatality when he died a week later.
Colten Moore couldn't walk from the course that same night. On the eve of his Nitro Circus Live Australian debut, where he'll push a quad bike to it's limits, he recalled being rushed to hospital in agony.
"I separated my pelvis and it took me a while to get back," he said "It wasn't easy, it was one of those injuries where you couldn't do much about it ... just had to wait it out and allow for it to heal on its own."
As excruciating as his recovery was, it failed to compare to his loss. However, there was no danger of him quitting because, as daredevils, the Moore boys had discussed a reality of their calling the odds were they might not sit as old men in rocking chairs.
"We talked about it, we knew what could happen," Moore said. "That's the best way to go, I think. Doing what you love. Way better than a car accident and passing away that way. We were out there, love what we do. There was no way I was going to quit and work a regular job."
Before he won his gold medal, Moore decided to make his 2014 X Games campaign a celebration of his older brother's spirit. While other athletes try to "block" everything out of their minds during a big event, Moore, figuratively speaking, opened his arms wide to embrace Caleb for each second of the challenge.
"When I was riding I kept Caleb in my mind, I knew he was there and going to help me out," Moore said. "It was good to think ... not about him passing away but that he was there and with me in a totally different way.
"So, it was on my mind, but knowing I was going there with my brother watching over me every step of the way helped a lot. To go back after my brother passed away and win the gold in his name was the greatest thing that could've happened."
Moore will follow his brother's tracks and head to Australia for next month's adrenaline charged, nerve-racking Nitro Circus Live tour and his brother's description of the land Down Under made an impression.
"My brother went there and I heard Australia is one of the best places to go," he said, "I can't wait to ride in front of a crowd there. I heard people like to get a little bit crazy down there."
The story Colten Moore continues his daredevil lifestyle despite the pain of losing his brother first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.