TULSA, Okla. — Thousands of people are in Tulsa for the BMX Grand Nationals this week where the best of the best all battle it out for the championship trophies.
Fifteen thousand people are expected to head to the BMX grand nationals to see four thousand competitors.
The event is underway at Expo Square in Tulsa.
BMX bosses say competitors range in ages from two to late 70′s and they’re all battling it out for trophies that are 7ft. tall.
All the people at the event say they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else at Thanksgiving because this is their big BMX family get-together.
Thousands of BMX riders from 50 states and 25 countries are in Tulsa for the BMX Grand National championships. 14-year-old Avery Jones came from Florida.
“There’s definitely a lot of people here that you don’t see at an average national,” Jones said. “Yeah, it’s definitely a very big race.”
It might not be turkey with all the trimmings, but Race Lee, from Full Tilt Bike Co., who has been in the sport for 17 years says the Tulsa BMX Grand Nationals are a Thanksgiving tradition that brings the whole BMX family together.
“It doesn’t feel right to sit at home and eat Turkey with other people. I would rather be here with all my friends and it’s like a tradition almost, you know, like that family camping trip you go on,” Lee said. “Well we just family camp all together for 7ft. trophies at the grand national.”
Officials say it’s the biggest BMX racing event of the season and this is the 25th time it has been held in Tulsa.
John David from Tulsa BMX says it’s because Tulsa is special.
“This is the Super Bowl, I mean this is the one that you come to, this is the one that you work to all year long,” David said.
David said this event being on a national holiday makes it all the more special.
“This is 25 consecutive years of hosting this major event and it’s really because of the hospitality we find in Tulsa,” David said. “Our competitors, our families love to be here. It’s Thanksgiving. This is a major holiday and, really, within the world of BMX racing in the United States and when everyone thinks of Thanksgiving, it’s Tulsa.”
But it’s not just about the racing, BMX bosses say the event also gives a massive economic boost to the city.
There are around 100 vendors selling everything from clothes to accessories to bikes.
Lee’s store travelled from Minnesota to be at the Tulsa championships and he says they’ve done it for 10 years now and its really important to be at the grand nationals.
“It’s almost like a prestigious thing for the shop to be here and have our brand name here because not only is it good for business, but as far as all the different international travelers, we also run an online store so it helps drive customer base and kinda brand awareness to all kids of different avenues that come to be here at the grand nationals,” Lee said.
BMX bosses say the event brings big bucks to Tulsa.
“It’s millions and millions of dollars of economic impact,” David said. ”This weekend during Thanksgiving, purely from a tourism standpoint, it’s a very slow season nationwide but not in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We’re selling out all the hotels, we’re selling out the eateries, we’re really injecting millions and millions of dollars. It’s estimated over a million dollars in economic impact that our event brings to the community.”
Racing starts Thursday, Nov. 24 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 27.
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