By Chuck Reherman
Racers from a four-state area will converge on Yukon this weekend for the Oklahoma State Championships.
Races begin on Friday and run through Sunday with more than 300 riders expected to compete.
Friday night will be a singles point race at the track, the annual Bob Warnicke Scholarship fund night. Money from that night goes to scholarships in college. There are three colleges that riders race BMX.
Friday night’s races begin at 7 p.m. (following a 6 p.m. sign-up).
Saturday is a double points night and is also the state pre-race and most of the riders competing in the state championships will ride that day. Track manager Steve Markcum expects over 100 racers to compete on Saturday.
Saturday’s races begin at 6 p.m. (with a 5 p.m. sign-up time.
Sunday’s state championships will get underway at noon. There is also a pro-am spectacular planned for Sunday.
“I am anticipating close to 300 riders for that day, it will be a big event,” Markcum said. “I myself have not run one of those (state championships) although we have hosted several at Yukon, so I am excited to see how things will go.
“It is open to all the BMX racers to race, you have to race two of the three qualifiers in Oklahoma to qualify for a chance to be the state champion in Oklahoma,” he said. “We don’t have another event go on near us, so we should pull riders from Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Arkansas for the event. It is a good size event and we will ramping up to be ready for the event.”
Admission is free to the event and Markcum said the group will have a lot of specialty foods in the concession area.
The state champions will win a No. 1 license plate that the rider will display on his bike over the coming year.
Markcum, who has been the track director for just over a year, said all the preparations are coming together and that improvements have been made to the track to make the racing more competitive.
“We have replaced our starting gate, have installed an awning to cover the back of the starting hill and staging area and we have remodeled our bathrooms to accomodate more than one person at a time,” Markcum said. “We have upgraded our concessions and have added a bicyle shop where we sell bicycle parts now.
“We rebuilt the track at the beginning of the season, so it is very competitive for the racers,” he added. “We have gotten a lot of good feedback from that.”
Markcum said there will be 75-80 local racers that compete regularly at the track and anticipates several of those competing this weekend.
With the number of racers coming in for the weekend, Markcum expects more than 500 fans attending the event. He said safety precautions will be in place with hand sanitizer units around the track area. They are requesting that fans social distance with families staying in a group. Racers are required to keep their helmets on while under the awning, but face masks won’t be required for the fans.