Jack Turner looked out at the course setup just before races began on Friday night at the BMX track at Cundiff Park and soaked it all in. It was a sight that he, and any longtime volunteer of the Durango BMX community, will remember for a long time.
Kids and bikes were everywhere, and while that is not an unusual site in Durango, Turner said that it was the energy that made the event special. The races, which officially kicked off the start to summer, were all part of Founders Night, which was set up by the city of Durango and Durango BMX to honor two of its founders, Danny and Sandy Myers, who were instrumental in helping the organization reach unprecedented heights back in the early 2000s.
“It started off in that Danny and Sandy hadn’t been here in a long time and we thought that it’d be really cool to come back and see the track and see what it’s turned into,” Turner said. “We realized that we wanted to recognize everybody that helped get this program started, and I went to the city and thought that it’d be great if we could do something to honor them. People really came from everywhere for this to help organize it with a picnic to the volunteers on the course, the plaques, all that sort of stuff. It’s a testament to how much we’ve grown since we’ve started.”
The course has been averaging well over 100 riders every Friday night throughout the summers, and it was well above that on Friday. Last Saturday, the course had its largest race day in history, with over 230 riders who competed.
The last few seasons, Durango BMX has been growing at a rapid rate, and those within the organization are eager to host the BMX state championships in the near future. With Friday night’s events, Cathy Metz, city of Durango Parks and Recreation director, said it’s easy to see why hosting such an event could become a reality.
“Oftentimes, we have community groups that are developing something to them, and when we started, we bought this land in 1997 and discussions started right after that to develop a track,” Metz said. “It did come online, and has done nothing but improve over the years, and now, as you can see, it’s quite popular. It provides a wonderful amenity for a lot of kids.”
Races were not the only thing that happened, as the event kicked off with a tribute to the Myers family, an opening ceremony lap and a potluck dinner. The Myers family rode out on a four-wheeler which was donated by Fun Center.
Jordan Rupe, also with Durango Parks and Recreation, has been the track operator for five years, and as a Durango native, seeing just how far the organization has grown made an impact on him.
“I grew up here in Durango racing on this track when it first opened 15 years ago, and we’re really fortunate that a lot of our founders could make it down here, including the Meyers,” Rupe said. “In terms of the growth, I think one reason why we’ve been able to see these numbers pick up is because it’s through the city of Durango. What’s unique about our track here is that it’s public. A lot of tracks are closed except for designated racing and practice times.
“There’s a lot of river path usage and families that use it for short periods of time, but what has really contributed to the growth in the last five years is the consistency and programming we’ve done with Durango Parks and Recreation. That is why we’re standing in an absolute sea of people here. It’s because of the Myers, who made it all possible, and every volunteer.
“Day after day, we’ve got something to offer everyone, and there’s people who are always contributing.”
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