Hire Park BMX, tucked into the Pike Lake neighborhood on Arthur Street just north of downtown Warsaw, has had time to adjust to getting the name out. But those invested in BMX have known of Hire Park for some time, even drawing in world champions and major riders in the game – Bubba Harris, Tommy Vallejo, Natarsha Williams – and Olympians Kyle Bennett, Cristian Becerene, Luke Madill, Tanya Baily, Ivo Lukocs, Roger Rinderkinect and Artus Matisons.
Hire Park will host several major events this year, beginning with June 23 and an Olympic Race Day. The ORD is a national event, which Hire hopes will be a big thing for the park and the local riders.
Dan Rumple, who has been with Hire Park as long as anyone in the area, emphasized the importance of what the Olympic series actually represents.
“It’s something that is a local thing that the sport is trying to promote,” Rumple said. “With kids, you never know. This isn’t a qualifying for the Olympics deal, its more for kids to develop against other kids in similar skill levels. The USA BMX group provides trophies to winners at the end of the season, and they want to ultimately promote BMX at the Olympic level.”
Rumple noted the July 14 Race For Life event is one that Hire is happy to promote, which is a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Every penny of the money raised goes right back to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Pro BMX riders Tommy Zula, of DK BMX Factory Team, and Weston Pope, of Dan’s Competition Factory Team, will be on hand July 26-27 for a BMX Pro Camp. The event, which will allow area riders to hone their skills with two of the best in the business, is one of the crown jewels of the Hire calendar this year.
“It’s not every day that a kid can ride with pros, and they come out to share the track,” Rumple said. “It’s an opportunity to meet world class riders. Younger riders can work on their base skills. More skilled riders can still learn. I’m 44 years old and considered an expert, at least that is what my card says, but I can still learn. Should be a great time.”
The Redline Cup Qualifier on Aug. 11 is another event singled out on the Hire summer schedule, which will also host several pros. The annual Bob Warnike Memorial Scholarship event will take place the following day, which is a fun day for everyone involved and brings in scholarship money for kids hoping to go to college.
Hire Park is also getting into the community, hosting events at several dining establishments and appearing at First Fridays in downtown Warsaw to perform exhibitions.
“If you have a track and its not exciting to ride, the kids won’t talk to their friends about it,” Rumple said. “The kids are really the best network. We have a website (hireparkbmx.com) and get the word around, but the kids really are the ones that promote the sport.
“A lot of the old guard now have kids that are riding,” continued Rumple. “Those kids are the legacy. They are the ones that continue to come to the track, promoting the sport. The exposure has really grown, and it’s word of mouth on the street from the kids that make this go round.”
Open practices are every Tuesday and Thursday from 5-8 p.m. and races take place every Saturday. The first ride is always free, and the Hire Park staff will help you from there.
“Nobody sits on the bench,” Rumple stated. “It’s not like basketball or baseball, where you are reliant on someone else. You come out and ride, it’s all about you out here.”