Top-10 Tracks in 2020
What does it mean to be a top 10 track?
At the end of each year USA BMX and BMX Canada take a snapshot of numerous metrics from the track operation for that year and we crunch the numbers internally and publish the list of Top 10 Tracks by region. While the value of every track remains equal among the staff members of USA BMX we certainly appreciate and give special recognition to the Top 10 Tracks.
For 2020 - here are your Top-10's from the West, Central and East Regions:
1. OAK CREEK BMX-Roseville, CA
2. SANTA CLARA PAL BMX-Santa Clara, CA
3. CHANDLER BMX-Chandler, AZ
4. BLACK MOUNTAIN BMX-Phoenix, AZ
5. BELLFLOWER BMX-Bellflower, CA
6. YUCAIPABMX-Yucaipa, CA
7. ED FOUNTAIN BMX-Las Vegas, NV
8. SPOKANE BMX-Spokane, WA
9. PENINSULA INDOOR BMX-Port Orchard, WA
10. RAD CANYON BMX-South Jordan, UT
1. RUM RIVER BMX-Isanti, MN
2. YUKON BMX-Yukon, OK
3. COWTOWN BMX-Ft. Worth, TX
4. DESOTO BMX-Desoto, TX
5. BLUE SPRINGS BMX-Blue Springs, MO
6. ROCK CITY BMX- Grand Rapids, MI
7. ST. PETERS BMX- St. Peters, MO
8. STEEL WHEELS INDOOR BMX-Hobart, IN
9. GRETNA BMX RACEWAY-Gretna, LA
10. ROCKFORD BMX-Rockford, IL
1. OKEEHEELEE BMX-West Palm Beach, FL
2. AKRON BMX-Akron, OH
3. SPEEDWAY BMX-Toledo, OH
4. SOUTH PARK BMX-Pittsburgh, PA
5. CHESAPEAKE BMX-Severn, MD
6. ROCK HILL SUPERCROSS- Rock Hill, SC
7. SARASOTA BMX-Sarasota, FL
8. COBB COUNTY BMX- Powder Springs, GA
9. BMX@SHOREHAM-Shoreham, NY
10. CAPE CORAL BMX- Cape Coral, FL
How can you help your local track? The metrics we compile for ranking the tracks nationwide start with the membership credit. It’s simple to help your track, just renew online and the rider renewing can choose the track. This is the only point each season you can credit the track so choose wisely!
The next piece is to race locally. The riders racing the track will increase the average rider count and ultimately the performance of the track. Now that we have covered what it takes to be a top 10 track, let’s get the scoop on what it takes to be Oak Creek BMX, the #1 track in America. To find those answers were going to pick the minds of Nathan Johanson and Amanda Lowry who do everything from running the non-profit, taking registration, fixing the track and taking out the trash!
In the name of social distancing, we jumped on AOL Instant Messenger and got the skinny.
Q: Tell us a little about the history of Oak Creek BMX?
Oak Creek BMX had flourished for more than three decades before we took over management of the track. It has a long and storied history: Generations of families grew up here, it’s home to some of the best riders past and present, social media is littered with old clips of Nationals long ago hosted under those same oak trees, it is sandwiched between two of the best racer-owned BMX brands in Elite Bicycles and Tangent Products, it was the #1 track in the region and hosted the Northern California State Finals for 20+ years, and the list goes on. It was (and is) a special place and this is why we took over manage- ment of the track to see what new heights we could take it to. We often say if you want to race fast, you need to race at Oak Creek.
Q: You took over in 2019, what did you tackle first? Our first improvements were at the core of how the track was run and infusing the overall culture around the track with positivity.
We shifted from private ownership to a non-profit organization run almost entirely by volunteers, where there was transpar- ency, and the funds would go back into improving the track and the overall rider experience. We wanted to couple this idea with a whirlwind of changes and upgrades from the begin- ning of our tenure to show the community that we were serious. We stepped up communication with our riders on social media to let them know our plans and engender a sense of excitement.
Q: What is the key to making the riders feel like Oak Creek is home?
We smile, we lead with kindness, we take the time to thank every volunteer, we thank every rider that joins and renews with Oak Creek as their home track; and we work to trickle down this sense of goodwill across our growing volunteer base. We want people to feel like this is their track, too, because it is, and most importantly, we want it to be a happy place. This was even more critical during our first full year of 2020. When it seemed like the world was falling apart around us, we wanted Oak Creek to be a solace from RUM RIVER BMX all of that.
Q: Obviously, every track makes improvements, but what stands out on your latest?
Oak Creek is unique as it’s one of the remaining all dirt tracks in BMX, lots of hours with brooms, shovels, and rakes to keep the track itself groomed and ready to ride. We cleaned up and continue to clean up the surrounding area of the track to constantly improve the overall aesthetics. We purchased a new air RAM and a new air compressor; we purchased new lights and added a second light so we had one on each side of the starting hill; new speakers for the cadence; and we ensured we had extras of all of these things so we wouldn’t miss a beat when equipment inevitably breaks down. With the help of Kent Elliott and a local vendor Ruffstuff Specialties, we installed a new gate built by our friend Eric Simpson of Metro BMX in Bakersfield, CA.
Kent spent hours experimenting with the materials under the gate to minimize the bounce and the noise. We upgraded the PA system (and continue working on it). We replaced all of the light bulbs, installed ad- ditional LED lighting, and re-pointed some of the lights to get things in the best possible light. With the help of key sponsors and volunteers, we poured concrete and extended the staging area, replaced and extended a canopy over staging and the entire starting hill, and built a new gate box.
Just recently, we upgraded the electrical and leased a new mobile office with two windows for registration and a window for the snack bar, track swag, and some bike parts. We will couple that with a new deck in front of it, soon a new elevated scoring table, and new canopies for the surrounding area. We are also taking steps to use rock and other materials to minimize the amount of dust that whirls around, especially in the summer.
Q: While you take a deep breath, let’s hear about the racing experience at Oak Creek?
One of the keys here was ensuring foremost we kept a consistent racing sched- ule, even through the rainy season. We use absorbent and a lot of hand work to get the track race ready after the rain, and when we are inevitably forced to cancel due to weather, we do our best to reschedule those races as soon as the weather improves.
Q: We have seen tracks do very cool series and promotions. What is up your sleeves?
Our first promotion was a gear bag series called “Sactown Sundays” that paired us with our local track Elkhorn BMX in Rio Linda, CA. In November we partnered with Tangent and put up $2500 to host a one-off Pro-AM where our community got to see riders like Nick Adams, Riley House, Anthony Bu- cardo, and Nic Long throw it down. The following day we hosted our hugely popular “40 and Over Not So Pro Pro/AM” where the likes of Rick Lowry, Eric Dyer, Jim Nelson, Terry Tenette, and Brent “pee wee” Lee came out to battle for cash and bragging rights. The event blew up to over 50 riders who had to have the stamina to make it through Quarters, Semis, and finally the Main where local rider and cancer sur- vivor Jimmy Nelson took home the inaugural 40 and over “Masters” Crown, as well as a nice cash purse that was made up entirely of rider and sponsor dona- tions. The event was such a success USABMX even came out to cover it.
Q: Do you partner with the local tracks sur- rounding you?
We always wanted to build a rapport with our neigh- boring tracks. In addition to the race series with Elkhorn BMX, our friends at North Bay BMX in Napa, CA helped us run our state qualifier last summer and we look forward to return- ing that favor when they open back up in full swing. Recently, a large contin- gent of Oak Creek locals traveled to Silver Dollar BMX in Chico, CA to race their track shortly after reopening and show our support. We even had the track operator and some key riders from Bend BMX in Bend, OR come down for the “40 and Over” and throw some money into the pot.
Q: Any last words?
We realized as we talked thru this that we have come a long way in a short time, but we are just getting started and there is still so much more to do. As we start to turn the corner out of this Covid dark- ness, there is a silver lining ... the sport of BMX has undergone a new renais- sance, we have seen re- cord numbers over the last few months not only at Oak Creek BMX, but all over the BMX community. The rider count for the first Nationals at Black Mountain BMX was record setting and we just returned from a state qualifier in Lemoore, CA that boasted 160+ motos and broke records. BMX is back ladies and gentlemen. Fasten your seatbelts!