Built for BMX: Grand Valley division drawing riders in droves

13-year-old Steven Adams, of Grand Junction, catches some air Sunday during a race for Grand Valley BMX at the Mesa County Fairgrounds. Adams is one of the many riders who have taken advantage of the rising popularity of BMX in the Grand Valley.

Grand Valley BMX fills a void twice a week.

Every Sunday and Tuesday, the dirt track at the Mesa County Fairgrounds offers races for around 20 different classes, drawing 80 to 100 riders.

“They start as early as 3 years old, and our oldest rider is 56 years old,” track operator Kristi Adams said.

The athletes are mostly local riders and compete at the track on a year-round basis. Adams said the first race of the season is on New Year’s Day, and the final race is Dec. 12.

If someone is interested in BMX, they can try it for free the first time, but after that they must have a membership to the American Bicycle Association.

The popularity of the Grand Valley track has earned it the State Championship Final on Sept. 3-5. The host of the state finals race is the Colorado BMX track that brings in the most memberships.

This is the third year that Grand Valley BMX will host the event.

“We are expecting anywhere from 250 to 300 riders,” Adams said.

Kristi Adams and her husband, Nick, took over the BMX track in 2006 and turned an outdated, rundown track into a top-notch facility.

The competition was thin at first with hardly any racers showing up. Nick Adams knew there had to be more interested riders out there.

Adams went to the schools in District 51 in 2006, and now many of the racers at the track today are racing because of those efforts.

“Four years ago, my little sister brought home a flier about the BMX track from school,”  15-year-old Cody Arnold said. “We said let’s go out and try it, and I loved the adrenaline rush and challenge of it.”

Arnold is now in the expert division, and said he races every Sunday.

“We come out here every Sunday after church,” Arnold said. “I prefer this track. It’s not too long and it’s not too short.”

Most of the riders at the track share a story like Arnold’s. Cameron Deppe is a 35-year-old rider who began BMX when his son, Ryan, wanted to start racing after hearing the same message in school.

“He found out through the school district, and it’s been great,” Deppe said. “Ryan started it, then a bunch of dads decided to start doing it, so I said let’s go.”

Deppe said they’ve traveled with Ryan, 12, throughout the West to compete in BMX. Deppe’s even started his 4-year-old daughter, Shelby, in BMX.

“She is in her first year and she loves it,” Deppe said. “She loves to go out and ride and that’s all she does. It’s not competitive at all, she just rides.”

Grand Valley BMX has only two more Tuesday races before moving to Friday and Sunday races during the school year.


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