“The best part is seeing the kids’ progress, but they also see the true faces of riders. Sometimes we are learning tricks for the first time with campers, and they see us crashing and practicing too. There’s no sugar coating the story of pros and the kids have a better understanding of the discipline required of being a pro.”
Woodward West BMX Director and Pro BMX rider Shawn Dorton was a Woodward camper and remembers how important it was for him to see the pros, whom he looked up to like heroes, at camp. He said he still has some of the autographed pictures he got from pros 13 years ago. “Pros have the ability to liven things up by riding and doing some of the big tricks for everyone to watch. Many of the riders who come here are great people with super funny personalities, which reflect upon the kids in a positive way,” Dorton said. “Kids’ eyes get wider and they are immediately all smiles. It’s the best.”
During the past few years, some of the pro BMX riders who have visited Woodward include Ruben Alcantara, Jesse Puente, Koji Kraft, Shaun Arata, Chris Arriaga, Jamie Bestwick, Robin Fenlon, Reuel Erickson, and Sandy Carson. This summer, Adam Banton, Mike Saavedra, Ben Snowden, Cory Nastazio, Joe Rich, Coco Zurita, Ryan Guettler, Aaron Bostrom, Taj Mihelich, Nate Wessel, Ryan Corrigan, Ron Kimler, Ricardo Laguna, Mike “Hollywood” Miranda, Ron Wilkerson, Jarrod Allen, and Austin Coleman have confirmed they will be coming to Woodward West.
According to Woodward West Action Sports Director Neal Hendrix, all pros like to interact with kids because it reminds them of when they were young. In addition, Woodward West’s camp environment and activities allows kids feel like they connect and get to know the pros. Pros take an active role in the daily camp schedule from helping judge contests to putting on demos, and instruction to just relaxing and having fun or enjoying meals with campers. “I like to think we’re pretty cool with anyone who walks through our door and try to be as supportive of their goals and what they want to achieve in BMX. I really want that to continue outside of camp. Maybe pros will see what we’re doing here and what Woodward is all about and carry that out into the real world,” Dorton said. “If we treat pros, campers, and everyone else at camp with respect, people will see you can’t go wrong with our philosophy. Times are changing in BMX, but I would really like to see the good vibes and good times stay the same.”
For more information about Woodward West, visit www.woodwardwest.com.