BMX could come to Rochester in future
The amateur sports world never gets dull…I am always learning something about sports I did not know before.
At a recent retreat for the National Association of Sports Commission Board of Directors I was able to spend some quality one-on-one time with fellow board member, John David of USA BMX Racing, who serves as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer. John grew up racing BMX and now finds himself in a leadership position of a sport with huge growth and progress over the past few years.
So what exactly is BMX Racing? Called BMX (short for bicycle motocross) it began to take off in the late 1960s in California, around the time that motocross became popular in the US. The motorized sport was the inspiration for the pedal-powered version – a breathtaking spectacle that’s since become popular all over the world. Now with over 375 sanctioned tracks around the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, USA BMX will serve as the sole sanctioning body for these tracks and its 70,000 members. USA BMX coordinates the national, regional, state, and local scheduling for all tracks as well as manages the 2012 U.S. Olympic BMX Trials (in conjunction with the United States Olympic Committee and USA Cycling).
As some of you may know – BMX Racing (both men’s and women’s) will again be in the 2012 Olympics. First Taking place at the 2008 Beijing Games BMX is back in London with 48 competitors (32 men and 16 women) competing for the Gold over three days from August 8-10th.
Non-traditional sports such as BMX Racing are huge business in the amateur sports world. Minnesota now has thirteen certified BMX tracks in cities such as St Cloud, Lino Lakes, Fergus Falls, Mankato, Faribault, New Ulm and so on. Competitive events are now held at the St Cloud and Isanti tracks. USA BMX now sanctions 14,000 events annually!
BMX events cannot be held in Rochester until the proper facility has been developed. USA BMX assists communities with this effort and has some funding available. This will be an area we look into as we move forward due to the interest and participation. The growth of USA BMX has been phenomenal especially in the past several years. In fact, since 1996, USA BMX has doubled in the number of members and the number of sanctioned tracks across North America.
Today’s athletes participate in more than just the core sports we all know of. There are many choices for young people of all ages. I learned a lot about an activity from the past that has grown into a flourishing and exciting sport and now that has reached the Olympic competition. For our community it makes sense we evaluate and determine if BMX Racing should be a consideration in the future.