Yukon City Council backs Yukon BMX loan

Riders cheer after 3-2 vote; $98k to fund track upgrades

Yukon BMX riders attend Tuesday night’s Yukon City Council meeting inside the Centennial Building to encourage the council to guarantee repaying of a $98,000 loan that will be used for improvements to the Yukon BMX Raceway at Taylor Park, 410 S 11th. The item passed by a 3-2 vote. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

A large contingent of Yukon BMX riders cheered after coming to Yukon City Council chambers June 6 when the council approved a $98,000 loan guarantee.

By a 3-2 vote, council members OK’d a resolution and agreement authorizing the City of Yukon to guarantee repayment of debt should the Yukon BMX Parents and Riders Association default on the loan for track improvements at Lewis Carroll Taylor Park.

The association has operated the Yukon BMX Raceway at Taylor Park, 410 S 11th, for the past 21 years.

A resolution had failed at the May 16 city council meeting by a 2-2 vote.

“We received numerous, numerous letters from people that are in favor of the city council approving that,” City Manager Tammy Kretchmar said at last Tuesday morning’s Yukon Legislative Breakfast.

Ward 4 Council Member Aric Gilliland joined Mayor Shelli Selby and Ward 3 Council Member Donna Yanda at the June 6 council meeting to approve guaranteeing the city’s repayment of the Yukon BMX loan.

BMX rider Jamie Harwick, of Luther, is among five Yukon BMX members (and 11 from Oklahoma) who will travel to Scotland this summer for a major festival.

“If it wasn’t for your track, us five wouldn’t be going,” Harwick said. “We’re going to represent Yukon. We’re going to represent our state.”

She thanked Yukon city officials for opening the Taylor Park track in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, when other cities would not allow BMX riders to race.

“You have brought our sport back unbelievably,” Harwick added. “USA BMX ended up moving their headquarters to Oklahoma from Phoenix, Arizona.

“Our sport has grown so much. When I started, I was one of probably 10 female riders. My rider counts now sits at about 75 across the nation.”

The Yukon BMX Parents and Riders Association will combine the $98,000 loan with monies generated from hosting races to pay for track upgrades.

Priority projects include installing asphalt turns (to replace dirt), limestone track surface, new fencing, and a steel building awning.

Yukon BMX members believe these updates will attract more competitors – many from outside Oklahoma – to Yukon’s track for large tournament. This, in turn, will help increase the city’s sales tax base.

“So much money comes into your city from us,” Harwick told the Yukon City Council June 6. “I travel three times a week, 45 minutes one way, to race here. … I buy gas every single week at 7-Eleven. My kids eat at Chick-fil-A every night if we can get there.

“You have no idea how much money we have poured back into you that you have poured into our lives.”



In 2022, Yukon BMX Raceway hosted 4,873 riders from 129 cities and 16 states.

“This is a full family sport,” Harwick pointed out. “Most of our (youth) riders have parents that ride. This is one thing we can come in and do together.”

USA BMX national events typically attract 800-2,000 athletes per weekend with daily attendance totaling 3,300-7,500 riders and spectators.

“We’re not just a pile of dirt in the back of Taylor Park,” former Yukon BMX President Drea Shouse said at an April council meeting. “Right now, we’re ranked number three in the region of 91 tracks – and number six in the nation of almost 300. We’re a big deal and we bring a lot of value to the city.”

In 2004, the City of Yukon guaranteed repayment of a $25,000 bank loan to allow the Yukon BMX Riders and Parents Association to construct a concession stand, office and restroom facility.

Vice Mayor Jeff Wootton and Ward 1 Council Member Rodney Zimmerman have consistently opposed guaranteeing the BMX loan debt with City of Yukon taxpayer funds.

“I am for having the BMX track and helping them in any way the city can,” Zimmerman said. “I do not feel the city should cosign loans.”

The City of Yukon owns the Taylor Park property and was not asked to fund any of the BMX Raceway improvements.

“But if we cosign for one group then it’s hard, if not impossible, to say ‘no’ to other groups,” Zimmerman said.