Local children claim national BMX honors
EAGLE — It’s now covered in a blanket of snow, but the Eagle County BMX track in Eagle saw its share of excitement during 2015, and the site even produced a Grand National champion.
Benno Scheidegger, 10, of West Vail regularly treks down to Eagle with his dad, also named Benno, and sister Kira, 7, to train at the site. All that work paid off over the Thanksgiving holiday when he took first place in the 24-inch cruiser division at the Grand Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Kira also fared well at the event, coming in sixth in her division.
“If you ask them what they want to do today, they will both want to ride their bikes, even in the dead of winter,” said the senior Scheidegger. “They love BMX and it couldn’t happen for them if we didn’t have our track here in Eagle County.”
Producing champions is the latest accomplishment from the Eagle County BMX Track, which was “constructed with the vision ‘If you build it, they will come,’” according to organizers Jay and Sari Lucas and Jamie Ziegler. The trio began the discussions in 2007 of a BMX track in the valley after many weekend trips to Grand Valley BMX in Grand Junction and tracks on the Front Range. Eventually Eagle approved the proposal for a track that would:
• Provide a safe environment in which young people can build strong bodies, strong minds and self-esteem.
• Offer a low-cost entertainment and exercise option that entire families can enjoy.
• Provide a location where people can gather and have fun.
The track opened for racing in 2008 and has proven to be a popular recreation option for riders of all ages and abilities.
Scheidegger noted that when his son first started riding BMX, he was struck by all the options the sport offers.
“There are so many different levels and you can just do it for fun if you want,” he said. “My kids both just love riding. My son could spend hours on the track, just practicing.”
Early on, the Scheidegger kids latched on to competitive riding. Kira was still on a Strider bike when she stared her racing career. For the past five years the kids have been riding BMX.
“We drive to Eagle three times a week in the winter and in the summer,” said Schiedegger. “They like to train and they like all the people we have met.”
Scheidegger said his kids have also traveled all around the country to national competitions.
“We did 10 national races this year,” said Scheidegger. “When we fly, I break down their bikes and put them in golf bags.”
Scheidegger noted that currently Kira is the No. 1 ranked rider her division in the state, while Benno is ranked No. 2 in Colorado in his class. The BMX season runs from Jan. 1 to Dec. 15. Noting that their season has already been a great one, the family was thinking about sitting out the Grand Nationals trip to Oklahoma in late November.
“The kids had been sick and we really thought about not going,” said Scheidegger. Ultimately they decided to give it a try. Turns out that was a great decision.
The start of the next season is just a few days away, and Scheidegger said his kids will be back out on the track competing during 2016. What’s more, he said that BMX is a great family activity.
“They both get to do it. It’s not like we are dragging one to a soccer game and dragging one to a dance recital. No one sits on the bench in BMX.”