SK BMX needs a boost

South Kitsap BMX is halfway through its 2002 race season, having successfully negotiated a lease last fall with South Kitsap Community Park’s commissioners.

All is not perfect, however.

“Because of many factors, including a general downturn in the economy and paying rent for the first time ever, South Kitsap BMX is having a tough time making ends meet,” said track operator Reed Muller.

To participate in races, riders must be members of the American Bicycle Association.

Although riders are continuing to renew their memberships, many track operators in Washington State are experiencing a decline in the number of people actually paying for and participating in individual races.

SK BMX, like all other tracks, relies on having a certain number of paid riders in order to cover the costs of operating the facility.

And just like other tracks across the country, when the number of riders is down, the SK BMX loses money.

“Although SK BMX is a non-profit organization, we still need to make at least a small amount of money to remain viable,” Muller said.

Officials with the organization are looking at ways of increasing interest in BMX and expanding the number of riders participating in the races.

Some options being considered include doing more aggressive word-of-mouth marketing and having special nights when racers can get a free bag of chips and a beverage when they sign up to race.

Muller says that a large number of people ride the track when races aren’t scheduled.

As a result, volunteers spend countless hours every week maintaining and repairing the track.

In addition, volunteers bring out weedeaters and even do improvements to the road and parking area.

“It’s a terrific track and lots of kids and adults from throughout Kitsap County enjoy using it,” Muller said. “It would be great if we could entice those casual riders to become BMX racers so we can continue to afford renting equipment, paying the water bills, and covering other expenses necessary to maintain the track.”

Overall, Muller is optimistic.

“BMX is a great sport for people who like the thrill of a race,” he said. “The more people hear about how fun and rewarding the sport is, the more people will want to experience it first-hand.”

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