ST. GEORGE — After years of planning, securing land and donations, shoveling dirt and building track, Santa Clara BMX is ready to race into the BMX arena with a grand opening featuring Olympic gold medalist Connor Fields.
What was once just an unused hillside behind Canyon View Park in Santa Clara is now a fully-fledged BMX track sanctioned by USA BMX, the sport’s governing body in the United States.
And it all began with one Southern Utah family who decided to take on the project of building a local track.
Santa Clara BMX track operators Mike and Brooke Seely said they got into the sport when their oldest daughter decided to try it out at the Virgin BMX track.
“Our oldest daughter went out and raced one time and absolutely loved it and said ‘this is what I want to do,'” Brooke Seely said, adding that now all of their kids race.
For a long time, BMX riders could only race in Washington County at the Virgin BMX track and the Seelys said that it was that track and those races that inspired them and ignited their passion for the sport.
“If it wasn’t for Virgin BMX, Santa Clara BMX wouldn’t be here because that race, we did that every single Wednesday night for years,” she said.
As area interest in the sport grew, it became clear to the Seelys that just as Salt Lake City and Las Vegas have multiple tracks for people to race, there needed to be a second track in the St. George area to provide more opportunities to racers.
“We were like, ‘hey, somebody needs to build a track,'” Brooke Seely said, adding that she and her husband started toying with the idea of doing it.
Once they decided to go for it, Mike Seely said they hit the ground running securing the land, permits, donations and volunteers to make it come to fruition.
The City of Santa Clara land where the track now sits was basically an unused hillside the Seelys described as a “hole.” It sits near the skate park and not far from the Snake Hollow Bike Park, making it a fitting place for the sport of BMX to grow, the Seelys said.
Though the land looked rough, Brooke Seely said that USA BMX, which they had to get approval from, saw its potential and said that if a track could be built there, it would be one of the coolest tracks in the nation.
The track’s completion represents hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations and services, city and county tourism cooperation and funding as well as hours and hours of volunteer efforts for the nonprofit.
It is a track which Santa Clara City Council member Jarrett Waite said in a previous St. George News report would bring added vibrancy to the city.
Races, which are typically held every Thursday, have begun on the new track as they prepare for the grand opening, which will take place Aug. 21. The grand opening will feature a ribbon-cutting ceremony, races and a guest appearance by 2016 BMX Olympic Gold Medalist Connor Fields, who will be signing autographs.
Fields will also be hosting a morning clinic on Aug. 21. Information about registering for the clinic will be posted on the Santa Clara BMX Facebook page.
Race registration and activities will begin at approximately 7 p.m. Racing will continue into Aug. 22 with a gold cup and state qualifying race being held that evening.
The community is invited to come to the grand opening and get excited about the sport that the Seelys said is the perfect family-friendly activity for every age and skill level and a great way to unplug from videos and screens.
Regular races will be held weekly on Thursday evenings with practices being held Monday evenings.
Admission to the track is free for spectators. Regular race registration is $10. Racers must purchase a USA BMX license either online or in person to race and practice.
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- What: Grand opening of Santa Clara BMX.
- When: Friday, Aug. 21, registration and activities begin at 7 p.m.
- Where: Santa Clara BMX at Canyon View Park, 1400 Canyon View Drive, Santa Clara.
- Cost: Admission is free; race entrances are $10. A USA BMX license is required for practicing and racing.
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