Doing what’s necessary
Volunteers help Grand Valley BMX track host State Championships again
Nick Adams credits the continued return of the Colorado State BMX Championships to Grand Junction to the people at the event who expect nothing in return.
“We have great volunteers,” said Nick Adams, the track operator of the BMX facility at the Mesa County Fairgrounds. “We’ve had a strong volunteer base here since we opened the track in 2006. This is a labor of love for all of us and it’s not a for-profit thing.”
There will only be 10 to 12 volunteers working today for an event that Adams said will have close to 300 competitors and another 500 to 600 spectators when the two-day event concludes. There were only six volunteers working Saturday when close to 200 riders of all ages raced in preliminaries to reach today’s final rounds.
That, Adams said, is all that’s necessary to efficiently run such a big event. There’s a simple reason why only a handful of volunteers are needed.
“We know what we’re doing,” said Paula Bice, who has volunteered for big events with Grand Valley BMX for the past 11 years. “There’s not a big need for us to crowd things up when everyone knows their job.”
Grand Valley BMX volunteers are made up mostly of moms and dads with a few race enthusiasts mixed in. Their duties range from compiling results of each race to serving as a track judge to watering down the dirt track. Adams said those little things made a big difference in the track retaining the state championships 10 years running.
“The state finals are earned by the track that sells the most memberships, averages the most riders. There’s a formula that’s used,” Adams said. “We’ve had the top track for the past 10 years, and it’s all because of the great volunteers we have.”
Of the 300 riders who’ll start off the tall ramp today, Adams said around 250 of them will be from out of town. Many riders come from the Front Range, with others making the trip up from the Four Corners region and Salt Lake City area.
Bice’s daughter, 15-year-old Morgan Zimmerman, has competed at the track for as long as Bice has volunteered.
“The passion everyone out there competing is the thing that really motivates us,” Bice said.
Zimmerman started riding on the track when she was 4, and lots of young first-year riders competing is a continued trend at these state championships. Saturday’s first race consisted of 2- and 3-year-old riders on balance bikes, which require Fred Flinstone-style foot power to move forward as opposed to pedal power.
Not that age really stops anyone.
“There’s kids here who are less than a year old riding,” Adams said. “And they’re all just having fun. That’s what this is all about.”