Like most recent local sports, Rapid City BMX has had to overcome a little bump in the road with the COVID-19 pandemic.
No pun intended.
Although the organization overcome a little slowdown because of the virus, it is thriving again and will be busy this weekend with a pair of state qualifier races at the BMX Track in Robbinsdale.
Racers from several regional states competed Friday night in the Warnicke Double, and will then race today in a State Race Triple and Gold Cup Qualifier on Sunday.
"It has been different. We have been working hard with the City on social distancing to make sure our riders and our families are all safe," said Rapid City BMX board member Carly Wilson said. "There has definitely been modifications, but we've kicked off and had a good start.
"We're averaging a good rider count, we have kids racing from 18-month old Striders, all of the way up to adults, so grandma and grandpa can come out and race with the grand kids. It's pretty fun."
There are two state qualifier competitions in South Dakota — here and in Aberdeen. All a racer has to do to qualify for the state in compete in these type of races.
But there is plenty to compete for, as they also race for district rankings. Friday night's competition are double-point races, and today's races are not only a state qualifier but triple points. Sunday's action is triple points and also Gold Cup points where the riders can qualify for the Gold Cup, a separate competition that regionally is in Mankato, Minn., in mid September.
The state races are in Aberdeen over Labor Day Weekend.
This weekend's races are not only for local racers. Rapid BMX officials expect around 200 competitors from not only South Dakota, but from Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado and Minnesota.
The competition divides riders into age and expert levels. They are split by age groups, such as 9-year-old Novice (beginners), 9-year-old Intermediate and 9-year-old Expert.
"We tried to keep them grouped together," Wilson said.
Rapid City BMX has had five races so far this season, and race on Monday and Wednesday nights. They look to go through October depending on the weather.
"Families can come out and try it for $1 to see if they like it and go from there," Wilson said.
While there is plenty of novice racing, there is also some high-caliber action. Registered this weekend is the world's No. 1 12-year-old, Cole Frederick, who hails from New Ulm, Minn.
"It is going to be really fun for our local kids to see him have that to push them and work hard," Wilson said.
Rapid City BMX is all volunteer oriented. Wilson said they have been lucky to have some grants and sponsorship that has allowed them to continue to improve on the facility and do things that can make it a nationally-ranked top track.
"That is our big goal, to bring in a national race, to bring that caliber of competition to Rapid City for our kids," she said. "We think we're getting closer. We're hoping maybe next year."
It is the third year of this track, located next to the fire station on Fairmont Boulevard, just south of the old track.
"It was a huge upgrade for our kids," she said.
Wilson added that it their goal is to just keep kids active.
"Being outside this is a great chance for people who have been cooped up with COVID to get out and be safe and socially distanced and still get some activity and competition," she said. "t's been a real positive for the community to get going again."
Action begins today at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 9 a.m.
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