Olympians compete in BMX Pro-Am in Oshkosh
Six Olympians were among the competitors for the Tangent Pro-Am BMX race on Sunday at Sunnyview Expo Center in Oshkosh.
“We bring the pro athletes together with the amateurs so it gives the amateurs a chance to race some of the top pros. To see where you stack up with these guys. You're the local fast guy. It's like okay let's see where you're really at,” Rich Pelton, Owner of Tangent Products said.
Competitors raced two qualifying rounds then a semifinal race and then a main event with $15,000 in total cash prizes.
“You kind of have to give it hell every time because somebody is -- the other guys are chasing you down so it's not easy. This is my 21st year racing. I grew up racing the Pro-Ams being an amateur racing, chasing the pros down so it's cool to see and I wish more kids did it,” Nic Long, U.S. Olympic BMX racer said.
Along with the Pro-AM, Sunday the youth divisions participated in the Wisconsin State Championships so kids as young as four competed for a BMX state title.
“it's for the community. It's for the sport. We are just trying to see this sport grow and get kids off the videogames and out here participating in sport," Pelton said.
Jenna Vonholzen of Oshkosh, has raced in the Wisconsin State Championships for the past six years.
“This has been my home track for eight years and it's cool to say that (the pros) rode this track before. It's cool to watch them and I really like meeting them and saying hi and they are always so nice and it's just cool to see them race and what they go through,” Vonholzen said.
Competitors in the Pro-Am were from as far as Australia and New Zealand.
"We don't get to see too many of the younger racing just even on the local, state level and these are going to be the guys who are going to take over our spots in years to come so it's cool to see,” Lauren Reynolds, Australian Olympic BMX Racer said.
The men’s Winnebagoland BMX 2018 race was won by Corben Sharrah of Tuscan, AZ. Sharrah brought home $3,500 for the win. In the women’s race, Brooke Crain of Visalia, CA took first and won $1,750.
“We all started when we were young and just because we love riding bikes so that's the grassroots right there and obviously there's a difference between a local level and a professional but that's our job. That's all we do. Day in and day out. We train. We race. We study everything we do and we just try and be a better athlete so we can come to these events and really put on a show,” Reynolds said.