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400 take part in BMX state qualifier

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Over 400 riders competed in 80 moto classes as River Valley BMX’s State Qualifier Sunday. The qualifier brought many riders from across the state to New Ulm.

NEW ULM — Over 400 BMX riders took part in Sunday’s State Qualifier races at River Valley BMX.

The state qualifier drew a large crowd from across Minnesota. Many of the race participants and spectators spent the weekend in New Ulm. Camping was allowed in South German Park for the event. A state qualifier race was held in Mankato on Saturday. Many of Sunday’s racers had traveled to that event before racing in New Ulm.

Brent Frederick said each BMX track in Minnesota hosts a state qualifier. Riders gain points to determine who can compete in the State Finale in August. It was exciting to hold a qualifier in New Ulm this year. In 2020, the COVID pandemic forced New Ulm’s qualifier tournament to be held in Brainerd.

Frederick said this was an example of “Minnesota Strong”. BMX tracks across the state came together to support each other last year and continue to do so this year.

Riders came from all over the state to take part in the qualifier, but many were local riders. Cole Frederickson of New Ulm was a celebrity rider at the qualifier. In 2020, he competed in the USA BMX Grand Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Cole Frederick earned the most points of any amateur male in BMX last season. This means he holds the title National No. 1 Amateur Boy. Cole signed several BMX shirts for fans over the weekend.

Frederick has been riding BMX for nine years, ever since he was 4-years-old. He credits his title to a lot of training. Asked what he liked best about BMX, Frederick said he liked chasing people on the bike. The sport also allows him to travel around the country and bike.

“What could be better than that,” he said.

The BMX tournament was not only for youths. The sport allows a wide range of competitors. Riders as young as 2 and as old as 70 were riding Sunday. Several veteran motos were run on Sunday.

At age 50, Jim Klein continues to compete in the veterans expert BMX class. Klein said started competing back in 2014. He originally got into the sport through his sons, who also compete in the sport. It is not unusual for parents and their children to ride in the same tournament.

River Valley BMX’s recently saw new upgrades. The starting hill and bank turn on the track were reconstructed and paved. This was a significant improvement as the track no longer needs as much pavement and it improves track safety.

Cole Frederick said he loved the new improvements. It made riding the track better and it decreased the chance of slipping in the turns.

A special open house and ribbon-cutting event will be held to celebrate the improvements at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, June 17. After the ribbon-cutting registration for a free race will begin. The race will start at 7 p.m.

River Valley BMX holds district qualifying races every Monday, 7 p.m.

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