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BMX 'Big Bash' attracts enthusiasts

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Posted: Sunday, January 19, 2003 10:00 pm

Many of you have seen it on TV by now. The outlandish stunt-based, X-Games sport of BMX.

BMX, or bicycle motocross, conjures up the image of a dirt track and kids racing like maniacs, hell-bent to get to the finish first. But modern BMX incorporates stunts on a big-time basis, adding to the thrill of the sport.

Young and semi-old (depending on your point of view) came to Lodi on Saturday for BMX and the first ever "Big Bash" event held at Lodi Skate Park in Kofu Park.

Kenny Dovak of Lodi looks at his landing spot while in the midst of a backflip during the "Best Trick" portion of a BMX competition at Lodi Skate Park in Kofu Park on Saturday. (J. Paul Bruton/News-Sentinel)

Twenty-eight BMX-ers from near and far answered the call to assemble and participate in the Big Bash.

Riders from San Leandro, San Luis Obispo, San Francisco and several other locations traveled to Lodi for the event, said Josh Huckabee, manager of Lodi Skate Park.

"I'm really happy with the turnout," Huckabee said. "Considering the weather and all, we were expecting a lot less."

The weather Huckabee referred to is what seems to be an ever-present, damp and chilly Lodi fog these days. In fact,

Many of the participants commented Saturday on Lodi's foggy, damp and chilly conditions.

However, even with fog and temperatures dipping into the mid-40s, the riders seemed undaunted.

The Big Bash featured contests such as "Best Trick" and "Best Run" on the course.

Sponsors provided prizes such as backpacks and bike accessories for the winners, Huckabee said.

The riders were divided into beginning, intermediate and advanced classifications for the two competitions and given one minute for Best Trick, and two 45-second intervals to show their stuff for Best Run.

No age restriction was in place for the Big Bash event, which saw riders ranging in age from 14 to their 30s.

"We didn't place any age restrictions. We just wanted people to come participate," Huckabee said.

Justin Durstin of Lodi takes a mini-bicycle to new heights as he launches off a ramp at Lodi Skate Park in Kofu Park on Saturday. (J. Paul Bruton/News-Sentinel)

Participants enthusiastically zipped from end to end of the stunt course catching air and doing tricks. Occasionally, they had to even be verbally chased from the course to allow other contestants to have their turn. But it was obvious the riders were just enjoying the park and the camaraderie that such sports can generate.

Cheers often erupted for riders in all categories, whether beginner or advanced, as long as the riders were giving it a good go.

Several riders were nonchalantly pulling 360 degree back flips on the ramps - a sight that had many parents and spectators gasping.

"I have to keep myself busy, read magazines and stuff. He's killing me," said Cheri Olsen, a BMX mom from Stockton, turning away as her son launched into the air off the lip of yet another ramp.

The riders seemed especially cool about it all as they careened about the course going for prizes and just enjoying the ride.

The bikers cheered each other, encouraged each other and also thoroughly gave each other a hard time when they would mess up - all in good fun.

Many of the riders said they thought the first-ever Big Bash was a good time, but one theme seemed to resound among those asked about the event.

"Could use some music. It's nice to have music when we ride," said Dale Ollison, of San Leandro. "Other than that, it's pretty cool. It's a nice park."

Lodi's Kenny Dovak won the Best Trick contest.

The Best Run contest winners in each division:


Chris Alexander, of Pittsburg


Joey Hiscox, of Concord


Marco Torres, of Oakley.

Lodi Skate Park is open every day for afternoon and evening sessions. The park offers both BMX and skate sessions. For more information, call 339-8300.

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