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BMX

National-caliber BMX race coming to Redmond in ‘08

    The 2008 Great Northwest Nationals will be held at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center April 4-6. The American Bicycle Association (ABA) recently signed an agreement with the fairgrounds to host the race in Redmond.

    The Great Northwest Nationals, staged for the last five years in Pasco, Wash., is part of the ABA’s national series, which includes races in the United States and Canada.

    Tracy Stephens, a volunteer in charge of marketing and promotions for Smith Rock BMX in Redmond, said she expects about 1,200 riders of all ages and abilities from across the Northwest to compete at the Great Northwest Nationals.

    BMX racing — riders competing on small bikes over a dirt course with sharp turns and rolling jumps — will make its Olympic debut next summer at the Beijing Games.

    Last year, Stephens recognized the popularity of BMX in Central Oregon and began work to bring a national championship to the region.

    “It’s been a 15-month effort,” she said.

    Smith Rock BMX in Redmond and High Desert BMX in Bend teamed up with all other BMX tracks in the state to form Team BMX Oregon, a sort of statewide endorsement of the bid to bring a national championship event to the state.

    But it wasn’t until the Oregon Sports Authority stepped in that the deal became finalized. According to its Web site, the mission of the Oregon Sports Authority is to bring select amateur and professional sports events to the state. The Portland-based organization is in the process of launching its first model chapter in Central Oregon.

    “We were starting to lose hope, but the Oregon Sports Authority stepped up and joined with us,” Stephens said.

    The OSA helped secure funds and sponsorships for the Great Northwest Nationals, and negotiated with ABA.

    Stephens said she hopes the Great Northwest Nationals can become an annual event in Redmond.

    “Our goal is to bring this back year after year,” she said. “We want to show they (the ABA) made the right decision. We believe we have more to offer as a community venue and location. We felt they were skipping over Oregon.”

    Riders do not need to qualify for the Great Northwest Nationals, just pay an entry fee. The event is free for spectators.

    For more information, log on to www.smithrockbmx.com, www.highdesertbmx.org, or www.oregonsports.org/.

     — Bend Bulletin, October 19, 2007


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