Dan Rumple is grinning ear to ear as he sits down to discuss the upcoming events at Hire Park.
“BMX is the newest sport in the Olympics,” says the park’s operator. “Colleges are starting to give full-ride scholarships to BMX riders. We’re a part of history. Hire Park held the first BMXUSA national in 2011. We dropped our gate first”
Despite its rich history, Hire Park, located slightly north of downtown Warsaw on Arthur Street, has been one of the city’s best kept secrets for many years. International pros like Natasha Williams and Tommy Vallejo have pedaled its dirt, but many Kosciusko county locals don’t even know it’s there. “It’s a little, local program that we’re trying to build up,” says Rumple.
Every Tuesday and Thursday Hire Park has open practice from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. If you don’t already ride, Rumple says the first practice is free. They’ll give you a one-day license, loan you a bike and gear, and let you try it out.
If you have some experience riding BMX you may want to compete in one of the upcoming local races. Hire Park is hosting competitions on Saturdays, Aug. 3, 10 and 24. Registration for these events is from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
On Saturday, Aug 17, Hire Park will host one of its biggest races – the Warnicke Scholarship Race. Rumple says all classes will race. All it takes is a $10 donation to compete. No license is require. Registration for the Warnicke race is from noon to 1:30 p.m.
The Warnicke Scholarship Race supports the Bob Warnicke Scholarship Fund, which helps young BMXers pay for college. Rumple says they provide financial scholarships up to $10,000. Last year, the Warnicke Scholarship fund provided 20 students with a total of $27,000 in financial aid.
“BMX is studying other sports, and learning how to coach and train to improve the riders experience,” says Rumple. “Out of 350 plus around the country, we’re the first to have a coach.” Michelle Marquis, who also handles PR for the track, is the coach at Hire Park.
Marquis teaches clinics throughout the year. A rider development clinic, which will cover the fundamentals of BMX, will be held on Sun. Aug. 7. Registration starts at 11 a.m. and the clinic runs from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $10.
If the park isn’t putting on a race or clinic, it is available to host private events. “Anything from birthdays to team building,” says Marquis, who can coach beginners to safely ride the track in less than a day.
Maybe you’re not interested in riding, but would like to check out the park anyway. Rumple says there’s no spectator fee. A concession stand, bleachers and picnic tables are set up next to the track.
Whether you ride or not, Hire Park offers a fun, family-friendly place to hang out.