SportsEvents Magazine

JAN 2017

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January 2017 20 SPECIAL FEATURE: Awards & Recognition Issue The numbers for BMX participation are staggering and the envy of other sports, but for USA BMX COO John David, the foundation for success is as simple as, well, riding a bike. The annual study by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association reports that over the past three-year cycle, participation in BMX increased 45 percent, from 1.86 to 2.69 million. "As a sport, we've been doing outstanding," David said. "The Olympic integration in 2008 helped us onto a new plateau and we've been riding that wave since." USA BMX has 70,000 members and 370 local clubs, and it's that club foundation that has fostered such tremendous growth. "It's the best part of the way the sport evolved," David said. "It was founded in 1977 on a club structure. While it is an Olym- pic sport, and USA BMX fulfills the components for Olympics, at the end of the day it is USA Cycling's goal to go get gold medals. We help facilitate that but that isn't our mission. Our mission is supporting local, solid club structures." While Olympic gold glitters, like Connor Fields winning the gold medal in the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, David doesn't let that distract USA BMX from its core mission. "Our mission is to get kids on bicycles, period," David said. "We sanctioned 14,000 local BMX races in 2016. That is an astronomical number. We don't lose focus. We stay focused on the most important aspect of our sport." To that end, David sees clear skies ahead, thanks to its after-school enrichment program based on a Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum. "BMX is a niche sport, we know that, but it doesn't have to be forever," David said. "We are trying hard to capitalize through school systems. Where are kids? Where are our demo- graphics? Where are our customers? "We created the STEM curriculum program in 2013. We have 20,000 students active and we are literally just scratching the surface. You are talking engineering and math, the core principles. As they build the bikes from the ground up, they learn the basics of a bike. Then we have them interested." David also credits a strong relationship with destination marketing organizations (DMOs). "What we are seeing, which is so exciting, we are develop- ing these sound relationships with our DMO friends and seeing interest being driven from tourism," he said. "We have one DMO talking to the other about BMX. We see a lot of new venues being constructed with grant money from DMOs." It's all from creating partnerships. "I challenge our DMO partners to be involved and be advocates of the sport," David said. "I challenge them. I'll be meeting with a CVB and challenge them to actually go in and support local clubs. That gets up to the national level — that philosophy to tie everything back to grass-roots." The wave of momentum includes USA BMX hosting the 2017 World Championships in Rock Hill, SC, as well as recently landing the 2020 World Championships in Houston. "We're thrilled about getting the World Championships in 2020," David said. "That is monumental. Since that is an Olympic year, all the stars in BMX will be over here. That is enormous." n Catulatis! 2017 Readers' Choice Award Winners cont. GEORGIA cont. Columbus Sports Council See Ad On Page 33 Cumming - Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce See Ad On Page 38 LakePoint Sports Development Group, LLC HAWAII Hawaii Convention Center See Ad On Page 2 IDAHO Boise Convention & Visitors Bureau Visit Pocatello ID ILLINOIS Aurora Area CVB See Ad On Page 23 Meet Chicago Northwest Peoria Area CVB Visit Champaign County INDIANA Hamilton County Sports Authority Visit South Bend Mishawaka continued on page 24 John David COO USA BMX

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