GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.-
For the fifth straight year, Grand Valley BMX hosted the Colorado State Championship BMX Finals. Hundreds of racers from Colorado participated in this weekend's racing events. The influx of people also benefited the city in many ways.
Riders between 2 and 60 years of age competed. There was no shortage of speed, adrenaline and air.
Brandon, a 7-year-old rider from Denver, said, "I love it because I'm really good at it."
One local mother, Tanya Middleton, recently became involved in the sport and has already won some competitions. She was inspired by her son Oliver. On the last day of competition, Oliver said, "I love everything about this sport. It has a lot of great role models."
State champion Fallon Ward, 15, said, "You're friends off the track and enemies on the track. You get down and dirty if you have to."
While the weekend led to good things for some riders who advanced to national competitions, it also meant good things for local businesses.
Nick Adams, the track operator for Grand Valley BMX, said, "You figure 400 people, we average about 3.2 spectators per person. They all came in on Thursday."
Kristi Adams, also a track operator at Grand Valley BMX, said, "They're all getting hotel rooms or camping sites, eating at our restaurants, shopping at our mall."
"What they say every time is that they love coming to Grand Junction. It's a beautiful drive for people coming over from the eastern side of the state. They get here and Grand Junction has a lot to offer, and we know we have one of the best tracks in the state," said Nick.
When asked about the grand total for the entire weekend, Nick said, "We've probably had an economic impact of more than half a million dollars in the city."
Nick and Kristi have seen the sport grow in Grand Junction.
"When we first opened the track back in 2006 there were two kids registered to BMX in Grand Junction. Now we have well over 400 just in Grand Junction alone," said Kristi.
"It's an investment in the child. The skills you learn from this, you're going to carry on for the rest of your life," said Eric Olson, who's a track operator in Fort Collins.
Although the competitors are heading home, the track at the Mesa County Fairgrounds isn't going anywhere. New riders are giving the sport a try to see what the hype is all about.
To learn more about getting involved with riding, head to: www.grandvalleybmx.com