Cam White made Las Vegas his second home about seven years ago, and the move has helped him develop into one of the world's best BMX Dirt trick riders.
The 25-year-old native of Canberra, Australia, loves living in Las Vegas with his longtime girlfriend -- and not just because they can find a good restaurant at 3 in the morning.
For White, it's all about the dirt.
Nearly every day during the six or eight months he lives in Las Vegas, White trains on a track behind the Southern Highlands home of Las Vegas native and legendary BMX rider T.J. Lavin.
The hard-packed dirt provides the perfect incentive for White to land on the tires of his 20-inch custom Mongoose bike.
And when a backflip, spin or other trick occasionally goes awry? "I consider it body conditioning," White said.
He crashed on his face a couple of weeks ago.
"It's more of a mental game," White said. "Subconsciously, if we crash (in competition) it won't hurt as much. Other places are less scary, and we feel like we're invincible."
That should make the dirt seem much softer during this weekend's Dew Tour stop in Portland, Ore., which will be televised from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on NBC (Channel 3).
The difficult training -- at least two hours a day -- paid off for White last year. He won two of six events and finished third in three others to become BMX Dirt champion, a title worth a $75,000 bonus.
"It was awesome -- best day of my life," he said.
It helped him buy a house near Lavin's, and with additional bonuses from sponsors and other prize money, White's income was well into six figures.
"It's not bad for riding a kid's bike, mate," he said.
But this is not a kid's game.
White thinks he's far from reaching his potential, citing the career of Jamie Bestwick as an example. The 37-year-old England native won five of six events last year on the half pipe in BMX Vert. He's been a Dew Tour season champion four times.
White said a key to longevity in any form of BMX competition is remaining injury free, but he must have been referring only to debilitating injuries. He will compete this weekend in Portland with a bulging disk in his back and a sore elbow.
The day before the Dew season opened in Chicago, White was practicing at Lavin's track when he crashed face-first.
"I was all banged up," White said. "I had a black eye and re-injured my elbow when it ruptured the bursa sac.
"Some days my back is fine, and other days I can't put my socks on. You just go to rehab every day and then practice."
Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0247.