Some kids play baseball or softball, some basketball, football or soccer.
Seven-year-old Lincoln County native Odin Dolph has taken to a different kind of sport: BMX.
BMX, which is bicycle racing on a mostly dirt track, isn’t usually a sport that comes to most parents minds when searching out activities for their kids.
But Odin’s parents, being involved in racing off-road motorbikes already, came across a perfect opportunity to get involved when Odin’s mom Kelly learned about St. Peters BMX.
“We found it because of a friend of ours. My husband is involved with motocross. Through that process of him racing, we found people that do other racing,” Kelly said.
Odin was only six at the time and really enjoyed biking, and at St. Peters BMX the first time riding is free, so Kelly thought there was no real waste in at least seeing if Odin enjoyed BMX.
Odin, a year later, has won first place in nine races and is one win away from moving up a level, from novice to intermediate: Levels set by the American Bicycle Association.
The races are on the weekends and are designed for all levels of riders.
“Usually we just go to the local race, so Fridays and Sundays you go race and it’s just everybody from around town,” Kelly said. “That’s pretty cheap: $7 or $10 depending on what day it is. You can choose to just do that; you can choose to just practice. If you want to move it up a notch and spend a little bit more money and travel then you can go to some of the state races.”
She saw how successful Odin was in the local races, and she figured they’d see how he fared in one of the state races.
“Our first state race was in Blue Springs: he got first place. We thought, ‘well that was kind of fun.’ The second state race was actually in St. Peters and he got first place again so we thought ‘we can’t stop now,’” Kelly said.
After that, they went to another state race in Springfield where Odin finished second place.
On Sunday, Aug. 18, Odin won first again at Blue Springs, Missouri.
Thinking back to that first time Odin took to the BMX track, with its uphills, downhills, ramps and sharp curves, he said, “It was kind of scary because I didn’t know much about it, but it was kind of fun at the same time.”
The words of a true thrill seeker.
“I like going up the hills and I like going around the turns because you can go sideways,” Odin said.
Odin has a lot of confidence when he races, even if the other racers are ranked higher than him, he only thinks about the fact that he is faster and that he can beat them.
To practice for BMX, it’s a lot of balance training.
“Normally, for the first few minutes, they keep the gate down for us to roll. Then a few minutes later they make the gate go up and down. You have to balance,” Odin said.
And as with any extreme sport, there’s always room for a crash or two, which doesn’t seem to deter Odin.
“Sometimes you crash on the curves because there are little dents in the ground on the bottom so sometimes you fall over, but it doesn’t hurt that bad,” Odin said.
Kelly said that it’s a perfect sport for someone just looking for something to get into because it really isn’t expensive – while it can be made as expensive a hobby as desired, St. Peters BMX provides the opportunity for introduction without too much investment – and anyone at any age can participate.
“Little kids who can roll on a balance bike to men and women 70 and older can do it too,” Kelly said.
In fact, Odin’s passion for BMX inspired his family members to take up the sport.
“I never win the races. I’m always in last because I have to race people that are half my age. It’s a lot of fun and a lot of sweat,” Kelly said.
Odin’s brother, who is 15, races too.
“We always have to have goals and we are pretty competitive as a family. We’re kind of like thrill seekers,” Kelly said.
She also said an aspect of BMX that she’s really enjoyed is the fact that it gives her family a chance to travel.
“We actually used it as an excuse for a family trip when we went to Springfield. We went to Branson for a day. It was a busy weekend,” Kelly said.
More info about St. Peters BMX can be found at stpbmx.org or on their Facebook page.
“It’s so weird because it is so close to us but, I’ve lived here forever, we never really knew about it. And they have good popsicles there,” Kelly said.