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BMX racers reach new heights

Riders battle for position during the River Valley BMX State Qualifier event Sunday. There were 101 races, an event record.

NEW ULM – NEW ULM – Despite 3 1/2 inches of rain falling the day before, BMX racers set new records during the state qualifier at River Valley track Sunday.

The Mankato race held days before New Ulm’s had around 90 races. River Valley BMX had 101 races during their state qualifier event, crushing their previous record.

Without the quick thinking of River Valley volunteers, this feat could have never happened. Track operator and volunteer Brittany Nosbush said they hadn’t had a rain event before a race in decades. Volunteer Brittany Schmiesing said they jumped into action to give a chance at racing Sunday.

“On Friday night we tarped the track before it started raining,” Schmiesing said “We put poly[urethane] on the whole track so we could protect it from the rain. We checked it yesterday in the middle of the rain and it was still holding up pretty good so we could keep the race on today.”

Schmiesing said there were some wet spots in the track, but thanks to a very hot day they were able to start practices at 10:30 after an hour and thirty-minute rain delay.

Zach Dummer (right) talks to his son Mason Dummer (left) after his practice session. Mason Dummer would finish 4th in the Age 10 Expert section.

This year practice was especially vital, as a complete track remodel was done during the off-season. Nosbush said it was last changed seven years ago.

“We brought in fresh clay, lime, and sand,” she said. “We redid all of the obstacles. We wanted to make it more technical for our riders to better handle more technical tracks in the state. It’ll help them out in the long run.”

Nosbush said the new surfacing has received positive reviews citing its smoothness and obstacles.

Parents and volunteers Zach Dummer and Jason Engel know all about the obstacles riders and teams can face on and off the course. Dummer said the BMX community has become a very giving and supportive environment.

“One of the great things about BMX is there’s always another dad or family around to help throw something together and get a kid out on the track,” Dummer said. “I’ve handed off my bike for somebody to use and I know other people that have done that. It’s a pretty great community.”

James Conklin from Glencoe (left) and Earle Stoeckel from St. Cloud (right) talk before their practice time begins.

Both parents go to all the qualifier races across the state. Many factors go into getting every person and bike from one track to the next.

“Some families will bring campers and set up for the weekend,” Dummer said. Either they have camping out at the tracks or campgrounds nearby. Some families do hotels and some families have other family they stay with.”

Though the rain caused minor complications, Engel said the new track was a hit.

“The layouts are great but the weather’s been not cooperative by any means with the rain,” he said. “It hasn’t had a chance to dry out for the [track] glue to work.”

Each division of competition is determined by a person’s age and experience level, from novice to expert. New Ulm native Mason Dummer competes in the 10 Expert division and is one of the highest-ranked state competitors in his division.

After his practice session, Mason Dummer said there was plenty of decent competition and the track felt good. He said his secret to success is making sure his body is fully warmed up before competing.

“Stretch and warm up before you race,” Mason Dummer said. “Don’t back down or get scared. I do lunges and squats.”

A good bike is also a crucial piece. Mason Dummer said his bike felt fantastic, and he wouldn’t change any piece of it.

Above all, he said his favorite part of riding BMX is doing so for fun with his friends.

New Ulm rider results:

Tallak Rakowski 4th Place – Age 17-20 Expert

Mason Dummer 4th Place – Age 10 Expert

Thomas Gent 2nd Place – Age 17-20 Intermediate

Natalia Wald 4th Place – Age 11 Intermediate

Levi Nosbush 2nd Place – Age 9 Intermediate

Paxton Schmiesing 2nd Place – Age 8 Intermediate

Haakon Wald 2nd Place – Age 7 Intermediate

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