Since 1982, the Red Deer River Valley has been home to one of the province’s finest BMX racing track at the Piper Creek Optimist BMX Track. Last week, riders from all over the City came together to celebrate World BMX Day.
“It’s all about getting people out and learning about how cool this sport is and what BMX is all about,” said Head Trainer Randy Hall. “What we find is people often think BMX is an extreme sport, like the freestyle they see on TV. Racing is not. It is more for anyone and everyone – we have three-year-olds all the way up to 50 plus.”
While freestyle BMX became popular in the late 90s when the X-Games began, BMX racing has been around for much longer, according to Hall.
“X-Games is the more freestyle part of it – which is the extreme part of it,” he explained. “Racing started in the mid 70s in California. We started Red Deer BMX in 1982 and it has been in the same location since ‘82. It has evolved from just local racing to now being provincial, World Championship and even an Olympic sport.
Racing continues to be popular in the Central Alberta region, and Hall said that World BMX is an opportunity to have even more people – young and old – pick up a bike.
“It is huge,” he said. “On a day like this with all of our experienced riders helping out the new riders – we will probably have 30-40 new riders sign up. Some of our riders are going to the World Championships in South Carolina – we have 20 riders from Red Deer going. It can be competitive or not. You can race local and practice once in a while, or you can do the whole provincial series.”
Hall and the entire staff at Piper Creek Optimist BMX Track remain fully committed to attending events in Alberta and throughout the world.
“I call myself BMX crazy – we haven’t missed an Albertan event in seven years,” he said. “It is all under the windshield of Alberta Bicycle and they have made the point of saying ‘let’s do this BMX Day in Alberta’. Everyone is doing it across the province at the same time, same place.”
Hall believes the success of Red Deer’s park is due to the quality of the course.
“We are usually one of the top tracks in the province and we always get a lot of compliments,” Hall said. “It is all volunteer. It is a non-profit organization and run by volunteers who are passionate about the sport. It doesn’t run on it’s own – that’s for sure.”
He added, “Anytime, anybody wants to come down and try it out – don’t be afraid. If you don’t have time today, we are here Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. I am willing to let anyone try it out.”