We chatted with Tanner Markley one of the country’s leading Razor scooter riders about how he got started, his training and his action sports team All Wheel Sports’ high-energy performances on America’s Got Talent.
[Photos: Tanner Markley in action]
How did you and your team, All Wheel Sports, end up on America’s Got Talent?
That’s the action sports show that I do year round. It’s with rollerbladers, BMX riders, skateboarders, parkour, gymnasts and cheerleaders; everything that involves an action sport, all in one show. I’ve been with the show for three years. This year we happened to try out for America’s Got Talent and we made it pretty far—we got into the semifinals.
How was the show different than what your team normally does?
Usually our shows are theme park shows and we’ll be at one for three or four months. We’ve been in California, Ohio and we have a Pennsylvania show we’re going to do. Those shows are about 20 to 30 minutes long, but the performances we were doing in America’s Got Talent were only 90 seconds. It was difficult to fit it all in.
What was that experience like? Was it nerve racking?
We didn’t really know what we were getting into. We put more people into that show than we normally do—15 rather than 11. Then we find out that the course we were going to use was going to be three or four times smaller than we were used to. It was definitely nerve racking because you’ve got to depend on 15 people doing three or four different stunts at the same time.
Did that help raise the profile of All-Wheel Sports?
Yeah, definitely. Before the show we had about 400 “Likes” on Facebook and now we’re up well over 1,000 and we’re getting some more theme park bookings.
When you’re not performing with All Wheel Sports, you’re competing for Team Razor in competitions. How often do you compete and what are those courses like?
I do about 10 competitions a year. Most of the time they are BMX courses because we like to go high and fast. We can get up to eight to 10 feet of air if we’re going over a flybox. But, sometimes there are more technical competitions that happen at skateboard parks. We base it off biking a bit. We try to work off them.
Do you look to BMX bikers for inspiration?
Oh yeah, all the time. I do shows with BMX riders year round. I’m always training with them. It’s me—one scooter rider—and a bunch of BMX riders, and I see them do tricks and I see if I can do it on my scooter.
How long have you been riding and how did you get started?
I started about 10 years ago and have been doing competitions for about six years now. When it was getting popular around 2000 I found it was more fun than rollerblades or riding a skateboard.
What is your practice schedule like?
I work out every single day and then I’m at the skatepark for about an hour to two hours. I’m constantly working on balance, like through parkour or anything that can improve my athletic ability.
What advice would give to someone who wants to be a competitive-level rider like you?
Practice—you can’t do much else at this point. The more you get to the skate park the harder you hit and the more you get up from falls the better you’ll be. And definitely wear your helmet and pads. There were three times this year alone where my helmet really saved me. Also, your pads save your knees and the better shape your body is in the better you’ll ride.