It’s almost time to drop the gate on a weekend of epic proportions for the Okotoks BMX Club.
The Okotoks track will be the site of a pair of massive events on the BMX circuit with the Provincial Cup Series 7 & 8 and Canada Cup events running simultaneously over a jam-packed two days on the Aug. 20-21 weekend.
“It’s a fairly large event, we’re looking at 500 or 600 riders from across the province,” said Jessie Smulders, vice-president of Okotoks BMX. “And that’s anywhere in age group, from our youngest riders in the five-year-old age category and that goes all the way up to 50-plus.
“We have some fast dads and a couple fast moms out there who are in their 50s and still racing. It’s really racing for the whole family.”
The Provincial Cup series is composed of nine weekend races hosted throughout Alberta where athletes compete towards the Alberta Championship race where BMX place for the season and the top-eight riders earn the AB-plate.
While the age range among the provincial series competitors runs the gamut across generations from young children to middle-aged adults, the Canada Cup event is for those over 14 in the junior development, junior and elite classes.
The Canada Cup series is an international event that will bring top-level BMX riders, including the likes of 2020 Olympian James Palmer, among 40 elite competitors on the circuit.
“We get mostly Canadian riders, some out from Quebec and Ontario,” Smulders said. “But because it is an international and UCI sanctioned event, it is open to international riders from Europe as well as the U.S.
“Our pro riders, those are the riders that are competing in Europe and a lot of them were at the worlds in France in July.”
This will be the first time the Okotoks club has hosted the Canada Cup event, four years removed from its opportunity as the site of the Alberta BMX Championships in 2018.
Smulders said there could be two local competitors in the junior development class competing in the Canada Cup event with upwards of 50 riders competing in their home track in the provincial races.
“And many of those riders will ride in all of the different races throughout the province in the series,” Smulders said. “We get about 35 travelling riders that do all of the provincials from our club.”
Okotoks BMX club member Lucas Thompson, 15, got a taste of the Canada Cup event in Warman, Sask. last month.
“It’s a lot of fast riders and tons of fun racing,” said Thompson, who competed in the 15 intermediate class. “It’s tons of fun to even watch so I’m going to be excited to see that.”
Teammate Austin Kingma, 14, is looking at the weekend as an opportunity to both learn and teach at the same time.
“I hope to have a lot of great riders come out,” he said. “And hope to show some of the littler kids the ways around the track and show them some of the techniques.”
The weekend will feature food trucks and the races kicking off at 11 a.m. on both days with the action typically wrapping up around 3 p.m. There is no cost to attend for spectators.
For more information on both events, visit okotoksbmx.com.