Natural Selection and Proving Grounds Join Forces to Enable Rider-Guided MTB Progression
Partnership keeps Proving Grounds running live on September 10 as runners head to innovative site in Prineville, OR
Inspired by the field and powered by the athletes, Proving Grounds and the Natural Selection Tour forge a partnership to develop mountain biking competition and promote progress. The partnership will merge what Natural Selection started on the snow and what Proving Grounds accomplishes on the dirt to provide riders and fans with a dynamic experience. In 2022, Natural Selection will bring its industry-leading broadcast quality, as seen on the EMMY-nominated Snowboard Tour, to Proving Ground viewers around the world live on NaturalSelectionTour.com.
“Top mountain bike creators and riders create incredible ownership with Proving Grounds. This is entirely in line with Natural Selection’s vision of enabling runners to evolve their sport in the best venues with input and collaboration. We looked at the events and outdoor sports that have the most potential and where Natural Selection can work with passionate people to bring their vision to fruition. Proving Grounds, like NST, is “by runners for runners”, and we are very happy to support this movement!
– pro snowboarder and co-founder of the Natural Selection Tour Travis Rice
The groundbreaking freeride mountain bike competition featuring the world’s best male and female athletes blurs the line between big mountain and slopestyle. As with Natural Selection snowboarding events, athletes choose their line to showcase their personal skills, style and strengths. Men and women will fall side by side on the same course with equal chances to ride and win prizes.
“Proving Grounds fills the void in our sport of freeride mountain biking, an event and future series that I believe is necessary for the growth of our sport in the right direction. I’m so glad to have a platform to compete regularly in the future, and it will be a great and inclusive springboard for the next generation of talent to come through the ranks.T-Rice and the entire team at Natural Selection have done a great job embodying the essence of snowboarding in a competitive series, and I’m hopeful this merger will do the same for freeride mountain biking!”
– Carson Storch, pro mountain biker and 2021 Proving Grounds winner
Proving Grounds, like Natural Selection, seeks to rethink what competition can look like. Here, athletes are empowered to show what they are capable of, as they choose their own path through huge drops, massive doubles, berm presses and rhythm sections. A full reboot and expansion of the site is planned for this summer to include even more dynamic features and line possibilities.
“There is a very real mutual admiration between what natural selection and the testing grounds create. What Natural Selection has accomplished in the snow; creating a comprehensive tour that brings together the best snowboarders of all riding styles in one dynamic venue is something mountain biking is also ready for. I look forward to bringing the energy and vision of the NST team to the bike and seeing where riders can sport next as new doors open.
– Todd Barber, Founder of Proving Grounds
Todd Barber co-founded Red Bull Rampage, founded Proving Grounds and is a founding member of the Freeride Mountain Bike World Tour, where he served as chairman for six years. Barber brings 26 years of experience producing mountain bike events to the team at Natural Selection.
2021 Proving Grounds is set to return once again to the hills around Prineville, just outside of Bend, OR, September 9-11. Bend, OR is located in central Oregon and has long been a hub for all adventures. With Mount Bachelor as a backdrop and over 300 miles of Singletrack, it’s no wonder Mountain Bike Action named Bend “the best mountain bike town in the country.” The festival will include men’s and women’s professional categories with two days of competition and other features designed to support the cycling community.