The Pemberton BMX Club is up and running on its new, BMX Canada-sanctioned track and held a grand opening on Canada Day that featured a First Nations ceremony and a sanctioned double points race that included riders from as far away as Washington and Vernon.
But the icing on the cake was the fact that the club had been shortlisted in TSN's Kraft Canada Celebration Tour the day before, a promotion that awards $25,000 to 10 different recreation facilities or clubs that meet their criteria.
There are 20 finalists for the award who will compete against each other to select 10 official winners, out of a field of over 600 applicants. Pemberton is up against Invermere in the final round of voting, which takes place on Thursday, July 11 at 9 a.m. and lasts for 24 hours. Voting details are online at www.kraftcelebartiontour.ca.
Invermere's application through the local Rotary Club would help build a splash park at Kinsmen Beach, a project with a total price tag of $320,000. The club has already committed $50,000 and raised $20,000.
Pemberton BMX's application would put the money towards a new start gate and staging area for riders.
Invermere has a population advantage with 3,500 permanent residents, while Pemberton has a full-time population of 2,300. However, Pemberton has the BMX communities of Whistler and Squamish on its side, and a long-term goal to create three sanctioned tracks in the corridor to host events and a regional tour. So far Pemberton and Squamish have tracks, and the newly created Whistler BMX club is submitting its own paperwork to build a track in the community.
The Pemberton BMX Club has held four races so far this season, and hosts races every second Wednesday through the summer starting July 10. They also have three camps this year; the first was June 23. Additional camps will be on July 21 and Aug. 18.
The Canada Day race was a double points race, with two races at the tracks in Langley, Squamish and Pemberton. Because of the opportunity to earn additional tour points the event attracted a huge contingent of riders from across the province, as well as a rider from Washington.
"It was pretty cool for the kids to see the level of riding they could potentially get to," said Pemberton BMX president Jessica Turner.
"For the most part a lot of our riders are on the mellower side, and just out to have fun and try out the sport, but the chance is there to go forward with it and do all the travelling and racing that other families do. It's just an amazing community."
In the club's last single point race on June 19, the PBMX had 88 riders taking part. The club itself is over 100 riders at this point and still growing.
Memberships start at $60 for the season, and get cheaper with additional family members. There's also a run bike class membership for $30, and gold memberships for $30. Single point races have a fee of $5 per race.
For more information, visit www.pembertonBMX.com or the club's Facebook page.
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