By P.J. DiPentino
Every sport starts at the bottom, and BMX is no different — in this case the five-year-old novice.
While most kids start riding a bike at about six or seven years old, these kids are already on a roll at three or four years old. By the age of six or seven, these young racers have even won a major event or raced in a state series to the top spot.
Never being considered for a roll on “The Mickey Mouse Club,” these kids can tell you how to manual the step down or how to stuff an opponent in the turn while enjoying their juice pack.
Some great names from the past like Blevins, Howes and Soriano have been replaced by Bell, Heaton, Gockley, Luscombe and Moore. The list goes on and on.
This group is not shy of girl riders either. Fuhr, DiPentino, Finch and Harris are all girl riders who came through the five novice ranks.
Recently we have seen a new generation of little guns with fathers who are racers. These riders are second-generation BMXers. Jim Dukes has Quinn and Isaac, Ray Luscombe has Quinton and Colin, and brand new to the group is Jared Olson’s three-day-old Jesse James Olson, who I am sure has been fitted to a frame as his Mom was in the delivery room. The racers are getting younger by the minute.
This is how the sport of BMX will resurge in our state. They are the future of the sport and the more of these little guns we can find the better off the sport will become. The fact is that behind most of the little riders is a very excited core of support from their families. Usually the first sport for families to participate in, grandma and grandpa are almost always within cheering range of the track.
The parents are also charged with enthusiasm and drive as they witness the recent toddler in competition. Often jumping to the head of the volunteer line, parents of this group are a staple at the local tracks. The innocence of this group is a pleasure to witness as the riders stress just to get up a hill, or balance in the gate for the first time.
This summer Colorado will have our only returning BMX world champion representing us at the 2009 UCI BMX World Championships in Australia. He is Berthoud’s six-year-old Wyatt Bell. Last year, Wyatt won in China and is a favorite to repeat in 2009. “The Sheriff” lives in Berthoud and has his own private UCI replica start hill on his farm. He also won the ABA and NBL grand Nationals in 2008. Not bad for a six-year-old!
To witness this amazing group of kids come on up to the BMX track on a Friday evening at 6:30 or Sunday afternoons from 1:30 to 3. The Berthoud BMX track located just north of the high school on Eighth Street.
<p>Four-year-old riders Gage Norton, left, and Lawsin Heeren get ready to race at the Berthoud BMX track.</p>