Getting back to competition in Redmond has been a long time coming for around 1,200 BMX racers.
Friday marked the start of the USA BMX Great Northwest Nationals, a weekend-long event at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center.
The competition has been an annual event in Redmond for close to a decade, but was put on pause during the pandemic.
West coast athletes like Seth Smothers, a Beaverton resident, seem to be the most excited about the return.
“Coming down this far and seeing a lot of friends I haven’t seen in a good two to three years because of COVID,” Smothers said. “It’s really nice.”
Boise, Idaho racer Andy Andree says there are not a lot of events like this one available in the Northwest.
“Just excited to be back here in the Northwest racing,” Andree said. “The ones [competitions] we do get, we like to take advantage of and see all of our friends and family.”
USA BMX chief strategy officer John David says the event will draw in racers of all ages from 35 states across the United States.
“We’ve got riders believe it or not as young as 2 years old on little balance bikes,” David said. “And our oldest rider this weekend will be in their 70s.”
The ultimate goal is to earn ranking points towards the 2022 year-end rankings.
Since the pressure is on, pre-race rituals are a must.
“Trying not to psyche yourself out,” Smothers said. “Just telling yourself that you’re going to do good and have a good gate.”
Competition will continue Saturday, April 9th at 9 a.m. and Sunday, April 10th at 8 a.m.