orn November 8, 1991 in Las Vegas, Nevada, is an Extreme wheelchair athlete who performs tricks adapted from skateboarding and BMX. Fotheringham calls his racing style ‘hardcore sitting’. He claims to be the first person to successfully perform a back flip in a wheelchair at the age of 14. He performs other tricks in his wheelchair including a 180 degree ‘aerial’. He plans to fuse the back flip with the 180 aerial into what is known as a ‘flair’. Aaron Fotheringham performing the backflipFotheringham has Spina Bifida; he has used a wheelchair since the age of three and although he used crutches early on, he has been in a wheelchair fulltime since the age of eight. He would watch his brother riding his BMX at the skate park and one day his brother told him that he should try riding his chair in the park. Aaron later noted that “I did, and I was hooked”. Fotheringham got a new wheelchair, a Colours In Motion’s Boing!” which was both lightweight and featured four wheel suspension. This enabled him to perform the same sorts of tricks that skateboarders and BMXers can do as the suspension cushioned his landings. Aaron has further worked with Colours Wheelchairs to help refine their designs in real-world situations, and has been given a custom-made chair that is in his words ‘pretty much indestructible’ He now competes in the Vegas Am Jam series in skate park competitions usually competing against BMX riders. He placed fourth in the intermediate BMX division in a competition held at Sunny Springs Skate Park. Fotheringham advises others attempting to try these tricks to wear a helmet; He has suffered several injuries performing these tricks including a broken elbow. He tries out new tricks by performing them first into cushions. Then he graduates to a ‘rezi’, a harder plastic sheet over the cushions, before attempting the new trick on a regular skateboard ramp. When asked about having to practice, Fotheringham responded “I don’t think of it as practice, I think of it as a fun way to live my life”. Aaron has also performed his backflip on the nitro circus live tour over a 50 foot megaramp. Recently, he appeared in an episode of the reality series ‘Secret Millionaire’ and received a donation of US$20,000 from Century Software founder Gregory Haerr.
Aaron Fotheringham had always wanted to see the wheelchair sport he coined “Hardcore Sitting” become popular. But he didn’t know how to start. It took a reality TV show, and the generous checkbook of its star, to inspire the northwest Las Vegas resident to take his dream to the next level. Fotheringham, a 16-year-old who competes in BMX competitions on his wheelchair, received $20,000 during an episode of Fox’s “Secret Millionaire”. He plans to start his own business, dubbed Hardcore Sitting Company, to help other handicapped children compete in wheelchair athletics. “With that check I will be able to buy the first equipment to get me started,” Fotheringham said. “I would like to build up a company, find someone, and do what my sponsor did for me.” The series is about millionaires who travel incognito through poor areas searching for well-meaning citizens worthy of a charitable donation. Gregory Haerr, a Salt Lake City millionaire and subject of the Dec. 19 show, was impressed by Fotheringham while filming his episode in Las Vegas over the summer. After posing as typical documentarian, Haerr revealed himself to be a millionaire and presented Fotheringham with a $20,000 check in the episode’s finale at Doc Romeo Skatepark in northwest Las Vegas. “It was just a big shock that someone believed in my dream and would be willing to help me get started,” Fotheringham said.
“It was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.” The millionaires usually give money to people who have overcome great personal obstacles or others who devote themselves to various community service. Haerr thought Fotheringham fit the bill and has continued to stay in touch with the teenager. “Aaron just has a different outlook on life and I think that is why (Haerr) helped him,” said Steve Fotheringham, Aaron’s father. The Fotheringham family watched the show together and enjoyed reliving the experience. “It was a fun chapter in our life,” Steve Fotheringham said. “We’re definitely not destitute but there is no way we could have afforded what Greg helped us with on our own.” Aaron Fotheringham, whose spina bifida took his ability to walk at age 3, has done his wheelchair-meets-BMX stunts in local skateparks since he was 8. He earned himself a spot in the Guinness World Record last October by being the first person to complete a backflip in wheelchair. In addition to the check, Aaron Fotheringham received a welding machine. His next step will be to take welding classes at College of Southern Nevada while carefully spending his money. To have more info about Aaron, just drop a visit to his website at the link below.
BMX-INSPIRED HXC SPORT WHEELCHAIR by De La Viga
uite a few people have heard of wheelchair basketball and sledge hockey, but perhaps not so many are familiar with Hardcore Sitting. That’s what wheelchair athlete Aaron Fotheringham calls his sport, which involves doing BMX/skateboarding-style stunts on a wheelchair at a skatepark. Los Angeles-based industrial designer Joven De La Vega was so inspired by Fotheringham, he decided to design a wheelchair tailored specifically to the sport. De La Vega now has a working prototype of his HXC Wheelchair, which he compares to a freestyle BMX street bike, as opposed to a standard bicycle built for the general public. “They look the same,” he explained, “but there are many subtle differences that make it a tool rather than just transportation.” Like a BMX bike, the HXC’s frame is made from round tubing, and maintains rigidity through angular, straight lines. More like a mountain bike, it also has a multi-link suspension, with dual coil-over shocks. Although it may not look radically different from a traditional wheelchair, it has some other special features that set it apart. For one thing, its front casters are integrated directly into the frame, instead of sitting on potentially-bendable outriggers.
They are also located farther forward than is normal, providing a longer wheelbase and a faster ride. Like other sports wheelchairs, its seating area is open and unrestricted. BMX-inspired handlebars beside the legs keep the rider from falling out when doing mid-air flips, welded wheel guards keep tire burns to a minimum, and a rear crash bar prevents damage to the backrest in the event of a rear tip-over. The foot rest has a protruding front lip, allowing the rider to push the front of the wheelchair down for doing stunts such as nose stalls. De La Vega has sent his HXC design to Aaron Fotheringham, and to Colours Wheelchairs, the company that currently makes the athlete’s chairs. Both Colours and Fotheringham helped De La Vega in the creation of the HXC, advising him on what factors to keep in mind for his skatepark-purposed wheelchair. So far, reactions to his creation have been good. “I’ve gotten the best reactions from those who are not familiar with Aaron Fotheringham and the amazing work he does,” De La Vega told us. “They usually cannot believe someone in a wheelchair can do such amazing tricks in a skatepark. Those who do know about him appreciate the subtle details of the frame design… as I said in my presentation, ‘Not built for comfort. Built to do work.”