Most Viewed Stories
BMX racers jump at chance to try new track
BY MARIA ST. LOUIS-SANCHEZ
Cori Popejoy is a typical mom who constantly worries about her sons and rejoices in their victories.
On Sunday, in the Norris-Penrose Event Center, she was doing a lot of both as her 6- and 9-year-old sons spent the day flying around a BMX track.
See photos from Sunday's racing action!
Her family, she admits is a little obsessed with bicycle motocross racing. For three weekends in a row they have travelled to races across the state. When 9-year-old Chase was at the starting line Sunday afternoon, she watched with rap attention.
“See, there he goes,” she said when the gate dropped down and the riders started their initial descent. “Your heart just plunges. You feel their adrenaline.”
Her hands clenched a bit as Chase took the lead.
“Push it, push it,” she screamed.
Chase kept the lead through a berm and went through the last curve, just in front of her.
She ran to the edge of the track.
“Dig it in. Dig it in,” she screamed as Chase rounded the curve to eventually win the race. Then she turned and smiled. “Aren’t they great?”
She was just one of many excited mothers at the indoor BMX track this weekend. The races, held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, attracted 300 riders a day, said Bubba Hayes, event director.
The Norris-Penrose Event Center, which is usually home to circuses, galas and garden shows, was transformed into the full-fledged BMX track through four days of hard work. More than a million tons of dirt were hauled in and shaped with heavy equipment into the course’s bumps and berms.
The track will be in place through mid-February and then torn down for other events at the center. It will be re-built at the end of March and then last through mid-April. Hayes said local BMX groups decided to build the indoor track to give kids a chance to practice and compete in what is normally a down season.
“With the weather the way it is, Colorado kids usually can’t race from November through April,” he said. “Now they can.”
The indoor track is one of just two in the state; the other is in Greeley. The weekend’s competition attracted people from as far away as Wyoming, New Mexico and Kansas.
“They have a hard time riding in the winter, too, so when we do something in here, they come to us to ride,” Hayes said.
Popejoy and her clan are used to driving long distances to races. They’re from Grand Junction but will drive around the state and to Utah.
“That’s just us,” she said. “It’s what we do.”
Her youngest son is just a year old, and once he learned to walk was put on a Strider — a push-bike with no pedals. He spent Sunday afternoon napping in his stroller but Popejoy figures he’ll join his brothers one day.
“It won’t be long now.”
TRY THE TRACK
Open practice on the indoor BMX track at the Norris-Penrose Event Center, 1045 Lower Gold Camp Road, is open to the public Monday-Thursday this week from 4 to 8 p.m. The cost is $10 per rider.
PHOTO: Devon Groves has a look of intensity as he rounds the curve on one of the berms of dirt that makes up the indoor BMX course at Norris-Penrose Event Center. Groves and Wyatt Smith were racing in the 9-year-old cruiser class on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012. Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette
Contact Maria St. Louis-Sanchez: 636-0274
Facebook Gazette Maria St. Louis-Sanchez