Article by Bill Baker
Originally posted at http://www.mycentraloregon.com
An entire season of BMX – 11 months worth of racing, all comes down to Thanksgiving weekend in Tulsa, OK – where over 5,000 entrants attend the USA BMX Grand National. On the line were four Championships for the Amateurs racers – and Bend’s Olivia Armstrong brought home the National No.1 Girls Cruiser title back to Oregon.
In BMX racing, there are two wheel sizes for BMX bikes – your standard 20” and then the larger 24” wheelers, known as a Cruiser. (“Cruiser” is a shortened term for the 26” beach-cruisers that were originally raced on when the class was first created in 1980). It’s said by many that the larger wheeled cruisers are faster, but at the same time – they are less maneuverable than the smaller 20” race bikes.
Olivia Armstrong is a dedicated local racer at the High Desert BMX track in Bend, OR – located at the Big Sky Sports Complex off Neff Road. Olivia has honed her skills on this competitive course, and is sponsored by the Oregon-based bike brand – BlackBox Industries, owned by pro racer Adam Treadwell. Ironically – Olivia got hooked on BMX Racing at a young age, when she first asked for Treadwell’s autograph. Now, riding for his company, she’s come full-circle, as Oregon’s new BMX superstar.
2014 could be considered Olivia’s “breakout” season, as she had a impressive season, scoring enough wins throughout the year at USA BMX National events that she was sitting in the No.2 spot in points coming in to Tulsa. One of those key victories was in April, when she scored two wins at the Great Northwest Nationals, back in April – held at the Bank of the Cascades Center.
The Grands is the largest BMX racing event in the World, and is held each year over Thanksgiving weekend in Tulsa, OK. With over 5,000 entrants, arriving from 48 states and over a dozen countries, it’s an amazing feat to just to make it in to your main event in your age class – let alone win it. Taking home the 7-foot tall 1st place trophy is an accomplishment of a lifetime – and Olivia Armstrong was up against 25 other riders, trying to qualify for the main event.
After qualifying through her motos and semi’s with ease – she joined seven other riders in the 13-14 year old Cruiser finale’. Her competition for the title were riders from Missouri, Nevada, California, Texas, Tennessee, Florida and Colorado.
Over the next 32 seconds, Armstrong went from virtual-unknown to instant BMX superstar after holding off the hard charge from the defending Champion – Las Vegas’ Jordy Scott.
13-14 GIRLS CRUISER
1st OLIVIA ARMSTRONG BLACK BOX IND~BASIC BIKES BEND, OR
2nd JAMMIN’ JORDAN SCOTT REDMAN BIKES HENDERSON, NV
3rd KAITLYN DETERS SSQUARED~ANSWER ST PETERS, MO
4th BAILEY BRANNEN ANSWER~RENNEN DUNEDIN, FL
5th SAMANTHA SORIANO PEDAL 2 THE METTLE/ANSWER LITTLETON, CO
6th CARLY JACOBS STAATS BICYCLES MT JULIET, TN
7th SUMIKO YUKI DAN’S COMP SACRAMENTO, CA
8th KASELYN ONDRIAS HOSTILE~ELITE SAN ANTONIO, TX
Olivia’s win, and the points that go along with it, boosted her to the top of the point standings – making her the newly crowned Cruiser Queen in all of BMX!
As she hoisted the big silver Cup above her head, in front of the packed arena, Armstrong had finally reached the goal she’d set at the beginning of the year.
She is now the No.1 ranked rider in the entire Nation.
The USA BMX Grands are presented by the Tulsa Sports Commission, and was the closest thing to actual Olympic-caliber BMX racing most people will ever get. The economic impact of this event will bring millions of dollars to Tulsa’s economy – as BMX racers fill local hotels, restaurants and shops. The success of this event would not be possible without the incredible support from the Tulsa Sports Commission and Tulsa CVB.
(Photos courtesy of Mike Albright)
Reprinted with permission from ©2014 MyCentralOregon.com