BMX team heads for nationals

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If there's ever a group that's removing the stereotypes of BMX riders, the Demon Racing Team is it.

The sport in which bicycle riders participate in motocross-style racing, isn't exactly known as a family-oriented activity or even as an event in which adults participate. But nothing resembles a family atmosphere more than the Demon Racing Team.

The team based in Northern Nevada will compete Friday through Sunday at the Spring Nationals at Cal Expo in Sacramento. Demon's bike shop team is ranked 13th in the nation and looking to move up to the top 10 in this weekend's event. The team consists of several families with racers ranging from ages 5 to 39.

Carson City's Dean and Joy Hexberg are the team owners. "We're looking to detract from the bad boy image," Joy said. "BMXing is actually a family-oriented sport and a team sport."

Joy said BMX racing is on the rise again for two reasons. One is that those who began involvement in the sport 30 years ago are now adults who are involving their children in the sport as well.

The increased popularity in X-treme sports is the other factor, Joy said.

"We feel the extreme sport of BMXing is coming back into the spotlight," she said.

The Hexberg family represents the generational popularity of the sport. Dean was once a top rider in California. When he returned to the sport 3 1/2 years ago, he got his sons, David, 13, Dane, 12, and Dak, 8, involved as well. Another Carson City racer on the team include 10-year-old Kenny Edlessen.

The Hexbergs saw the need to form a team when they observed individual riders from Northern Nevada looking at how well other teams worked together at events. In three years, the team has grown from basically the Hexberg family to 25 members.

In Nevada, the team is the only one affiliated with the American Bicycle Association and is sponsored by the Reno Wheelman Association and Mt. Rose Bicycles.

The team has climbed up the rankings, moving up from No. 32 in the nation to No. 13 this year. The has two riders ranked in the top 10 in the nation -- South Tahoe's Jenna Kramer, 21, who is ranked No. 3, and 31-year-old Joe Tippit. The team has two professional riders in Reno's Tom Brown and Steve Hill.

Demon Racing also has a trophy team designed to develop young riders. Joy said the team tries to teach its younger riders about "self esteem, confidence, friendship, the friendly competition and the hard work" needed to compete in BMX racing.

"We have a lot of parents who work together to make this work for the kids," she said.

While there will be no racing this weekend because of the Spring Nationals, Demon Racing does hosts events every Sunday at the Edmonds Sports Complex track and everyone is welcome. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. For more information about the team, call 883-2395.

Charles Whisnand is the Nevada Appeal Sports Editor.


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