BMX Riders Race Into Tulsa

Sunday, November 26th 2006, 5:02 pm
By: News On 6

Thousands of bike moto-cross riders crowded into Expo Square this weekend for the 'Super Bowl' of their sport, the Grand Nationals.

The Grand Nationals is the final race in the American Bicycle Association's year-long racing season, and BMX racers say the event has found a home in Tulsa. News on 6 reporter Chris Wright has more.

More than 3,400 BMX riders from around the world were vying for $80,000 in prize money during the Grand Nationals, the sport's premiere event. The Grand Nationals have been held in Tulsa since 1998, and this year's field even included world champion Bubba Harris.

"We're here every year. It's my sixth year, the venues awesome, the city's great, and everything's going really well," said Harris.

80 Green Country racers also competed. Most train at a recently built track in Sand Springs. Phillip Hager says BMX is no longer just a sport for teenagers from California, it is now popular among all ages across the entire country.

"In the last year, it's grown quite a bit, it's getting bigger and bigger," said Phillip Hager with Sand Springs BMX.

The Grand Nationals included races for children as young as three, and adults as old as 65. Organizers believe the wide array of participants has helped to boost the sport's popularity.

With thousands of riders descending on Tulsa from all over the country for this event, those involved with the sport say BMX is not only growing in the heartland, it's even becoming family friendly.

"There's families out here that you've got brothers, sisters, moms and dad all racing," Hager said.

"It's a huge family sport, so once you start you pretty much get hooked, so it's growing and with the Olympics coming up, it's getting even bigger," said Harris.

Just racing in the Grand Nationals was big for local riders, who say the appeal of the sport is pretty simple.

"Probably the speed and adrenaline, it's real fast paced," BMX rider Brandon Yeatman said.

BMX riders say the sport will get even bigger after it makes its debut as an Olympic sport in 2008.