Age doesn't stop BMX riders from competing
BY DAVID HARPER World Staff Writer
Sunday, January 27, 2013
1/27/13 at 2:29 AM
A USA BMX event being held at Expo Square this weekend is showing that competitive bicycling is fun for all ages.
The Sooner Nationals has attracted more than 1,000 riders from 31 states to the Ford Truck Arena, according to USA BMX chief operating officer John David.
David said the typical competitor is probably about 13 years old. However, he said participants range in age from 60-somethings down to toddlers who compete on no-pedal, balance "Strider" bikes.
Bob Gillispie, 64, watched his 7-year-old grandson, Andrew Kirby, race on Saturday before getting ready to compete in an event himself.
Gillispie said he has enjoyed mountain biking for many years and started taking part in BMX events in 2010.
Besides the exercise involved, Gillispie said he enjoys the friendships he has made with fellow riders like Albert "Pappy" Patterson.
Patterson, 59, of Dallas said on Saturday that some of his non-bicycling peers "roll their eyes" when they find out about his participation in BMX events. Still, he said that doesn't stop him from taking part in about 20 BMX events a year throughout the U.S.
"I don't ask them about their bowling leagues and they don't ask me about my BMX," Patterson said.
He said he started mountain biking when he quit smoking 15 years ago. He said he began taking part in BMX events two years after that and has since ventured as far as Nevada and Florida to race in sanctioned events.
Patterson said when it comes to crashes on a BMX course, "it isn't a question of if, it's a question of when."
He said while the younger riders usually bounce back from such spills as if they were made by "Rubbermaid," the more experienced participants pay the price more heavily.
Patterson said he has sustained a broken collarbone and undergone surgery from racing injuries. Gillispie said he suffered a sprained shoulder and bruised ribs which knocked him off track for 10 weeks. Still, both vowed to stick with it as long as it's still fun.
"It's a great family sport," Patterson said.
The Massey family of Hominy would certainly agree with that. Revyn Massey, who is 2 years old, took part in the Strider portion of Saturday's events.
Tina Massey, Revyn's mother, said Revyn has been riding his Strider bike since he was 16 months old. The boy's father, Ronny Massey, used to race automobiles at the Tulsa Speedway and other venues and Tina said it appears Revyn inherited his father's racing prowess. She said Revyn has already chalked up a series of victories against other kids in Strider competitions.
The Sooner Nationals conclude on Sunday with a session from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Spectators are admitted free.
Original Print Headline: BMX competition open to all ages
David Harper 918-581-8359
Albert "Pappy" Patterson, age 59 (left), and Bob Gillispie, age 64, talk about their exploits as older competitors in the sport of BMX. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World