After the Pine family fell in love with the exciting sport of BMX, traveling to national and state races on weekends, they realized that Katy needed to get in on the action, and created a track for all ages to enjoy.
KATY MAGAZINE | March 2018 Ashley Lancaster Photography courtesy of Katy BMX
"When we realized we were the only family from the Katy area that was racing BMX, we knew this was something we want to bring to the Katy community," says Pine. After lots of hard work and dedication, that dream was turned into a reality.
Racing is for Everyone
While the majority of the riders at Katy BMX are school-aged, Pine points out that the dirt track is for everyone who wants to try. "We have entire families that race together as a team, and after our Mother's Day race, we have seen a huge jump in the number of women signing up to race next to their husbands and kids," she says. Riders range in age from 2 years to 60, and everyone is given "age bands" that determine their racing group. "Katy BMX has cuteness and excitement - seeing the little kids race on the bikes without peddles or watching the excitement of the older kids and adults racing around the track," says Pine.
Those without a bike don't have to worry, the track has loaners that they are happy to give to someone who wants to try out BMX for a day. If you want to purchase a bike, Pine recommends any bike with reflectors and kickstand removed, and proper grips that protect the bar ends.
Watch and Learn There are races every Friday and Sunday that are free and open to the public, with the top three racers in every age group receiving a trophy. They also host events throughout the year like the Warnicke Scholarship Race that gives scholarships to BMX riders, Race for Life for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and more.
Nationally Ranked Racers out of Katy
But it's not all just fun and games. BMX is an Olypmic sport, and riders who train here have achieved stellar success at young ages. One rider, Quay Edwards of Randolph Elementary, went Expert at the age of 7 and has 10 National Wins. He was ranked number 1 in Texas and was in the top 10 of 8 year olds in the United States in 2018. Edwards loves to be at the track and help the younger kids learn. "I love Katy BMX because the place is awesome. Feels just like home when I am there,” he says.
Despite the fact that many state and nationally ranked riders come to hang out, Pine believes that the secret to BMX lies in the fun, relaxed atmosphere. "It is a sport they can do at their own pace, nobody sits on a bench in BMX. They all support each other and push each other to make them better. The atmosphere is lighter at the track then the other sports they do, so they get a chance to enjoy time with their friends," she says.
BMX also gives families a chance to connect in a way that is hard to find in other sports. "At Katy BMX we found a group of likeminded parents and racers that love the sport and support each other also the track is amazing and challenging. If you can race here you can race anywhere," says Katy BMX rider and dad, David Yelverton.
Safety is a Top Priority With all those people bumping and jumping on bikes at top speed, one big concern for anyone new to the sport is injury and safety. Pine says that injuries are relatively rare. "Broken bones, can happen, and learning to fall properly is part of the sport, but the most common injuries are bumps and bruises," she says. Katy B<X has a strict policy that no rider is allowed on the track without a full face helmet, long sleeves, and long pants per USA BMX regulations. Pine also recommends knee/shin pads for beginners.
The coaches also have standards to follow. The track operators and coaches have to achieve certain criteria set by USA Cycling and USA BMX. All TO’s and Coaches must pass a background check in which grounds for disapproval are convictions for Violent felonies, Domestic Abuse, Sex Crimes, and alcohol related crimes within 5 years. In addition, coaches must pass a 10 section test and possess a valid First Aid certificate. Any time scheduled training is being conducted at a USA BMX sanctioned facility, the track’s certified coach or coaches must be on hand," says Pine. In most cases, coaches are also racers with a long history in the sport, and pro racers visit often for special clinics.
Find Out More Katy BMX is gaining popularity with families in the area, and Pine believes is thanks to the fact that everyone can have a blast, whether riding or watching. "It’s a complete family environment. In some cases we actually have Mom, Dad, son and daughter all riding and racing. In the end, it’s not just about the dirt. It’s about getting kids off the couch and out of the house and doing something healthy on a bike," she says.
In the words of BMX-er and dad Ron Hanson, "Heck why watch when you can race.”
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