Tuesday, October 02, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Cabot wins many titles

Leader sports editor

The Cabot BMX track held the state championships on Sunday for the third consecutive year. Eighty-seven riders took part on Sunday with several competitors from the local track winning state championships in their respective age divisions.

It’s the first year for Cabot to hold the state races since the city took over the track, and track manager Jeff Gray says the event went very well.

“We were very surprised we pulled it off with the rain in the forecast and it looking like rain all day long,” Gray said. “We no more than got the races finished and gave out the awards, and 20 minutes later it started raining.”

Despite the threat of rain, several competitors from all over the state and even out of state took part in the event. Ages of participants ranged from 4 to 56 with 28 new state champions crowned.

“We were expecting a little more than 87 but I think the threat of rain kept some of the people from far off from making the trip,” Gray said. “Nobody wants to drive a long ways and not even get to compete. There was right at 100 here last year so even with the rain we came really close to that. Most of the competitors come with families of three of four at least, so I’m going to say there were close to 300 people here. We were able to pay all our bills and put a little back into the track to keep things running and get our 501-C3 non-profit stuff going.”

It was actually a two-race weekend with a double points night of racing on Saturday. BMX points systems accumulates points over the course of the season and Saturday’s races counted for twice as many points as other races. There were 67 competitors on Saturday.

Seven different Cabot track regulars won nine state championships. Faith Douglas won the girls 6-year old cruiser championship and Rylan Light won the same title in the 8-year-old boys division. Nathan Worrell won the boys 12-year-old championship. Cole Stracener won the boys 13-year-old title. Jaggar Basinger won the 16-year-old championship in standard and cruiser division. Rick Worrell, Nathan’s dad, won the 36-up division and Gerald Grieve won the over-40 division.

“We have a lot of riders in this area,” Gray said. “We had a father-son team each win their divisions so you can see what a family sport this is. We have different teams, but that doesn’t matter when it comes to helping each other out with parts or fixing bikes and getting a track ready. It’s a really friendly atmosphere and everybody has a great time.”

Sunday’s competition also featured a dash for the cash with three of the state’s fastest riders plus one rider from Texas competing for a cash pot that each donated to. Chris Bradley won the race with Benton’s Brandon Rutherford finishing second.

“That’s just something we did so some of these younger kids can see just how fast these top riders can really go,” Gray said. “It’s one thing to see them in a regular race against people that aren’t all on their level. To get all those guys out there together and watch them compete like that was really fun. They were really moving.”

All of the winners from Saturday, as well as the top four in the points standings qualify for the Grand Nationals in Tulsa on Thanksgiving weekend.

“That’s our super bowl and it’s a really huge event,” Gray said. “It’s four straight days of racing, Thursday through Sunday. It’s a lot of fun for those that get to go.”