By Charles Whisnand
Appeal Sports Editor
There's always plenty of enthusiasm in the Carson City BMX Club, but now one can sense a little extra excitment among the local riders.
That's because for the first time bicycle motocross racing is an Olympic sport and the BMX competition will be held August 20 and 21 in Beijing, China. Along with looking forward to the Olympic competition, many Carson City BMX riders are also looking forward to the Blackjack Nationals to be held in Reno on Labor Day weekend.
Carson City's BMX Club has been well-represented in the various national events that have been held in the Western Region, with many of the local riders finishing high in national events.
"We have a lot of rider that will go," said Carson BMX track operator Mary Leaming about the Blackjack Nationals.
Among them will be 14-year-old Keith Anderson of Carson City, who will be a freshman at Manogue. Anderson has risen through the three levels of amateur racing in novice, intermediate and expert and is one of the top expert riders on the West Coast.
"You have to have so man wins i neach category to move," up said Leaming about how riders progress through the ranks.
Anderson is coming off a fourth place finish at the Salt Lake Nationals held in Salt Lake City. He's also in first place in the current state standings and along with going to the Blackjack Nationals would like to go to Las Vegas on August 23 for the State Championships to secure his state title.
Among his other top finishes waas a fourth place finish in a 13-14 open expert national event.
"The ultimate goal is to eventually turn prowhich is in the very, very distant future," said Anderson, who's been racing for five years.
And Anderson is looking forward to watching BMX in the Olympics. "It's awesome," he said. "I'm very excited for it.
"It's always been kind of the sport that nobody really looks at. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication."
Another rider looking forward to watching BMX in the Olympics is 16-year-old Brandon Patterson, who will be a junior at Carson High.
"I've been always talking to my family about it, that I can't wait because I want to see it in the Olympics pretty bad," Patterson said.
Patterson will also race at the Blackjack Nationals. He's been racing for two years and his highlight has been winning a novice race at a national event in Tulare, Calif., which qualified him for the intermediate level.
He said his goal is "just to keep doing good in intermediate and work his way up to expert."
Thirteen-year-old Caleb Price, who will be an eighth grader at Eagle Valley Middle School, is another rider looking forward to BMX in the Olympics.
"I'm pretty excited," said Price, who will also race at the Blackjack Nationals. "It's just fun to watch the best people."
"We have a lot of great kids," said Leaming about the Carson BMX club. But it's just not kids as entire families ride and the ages in the club have ranged from three to 53. Leaming also said the Carson BMX club receives plenty of support from all those involved.
"In the past BMX has been the bad boy sport," Leaming said. "Now it's become a family sport."
"We're just very excited about BMX being in the Olympics," Leaming also said. "We'll see how this all pans out."