TULSA, Okla. — A Tulsa Thanksgiving tradition returned to Expo Square this year. This weekend marks 24 years of the BMX Grand Nationals here in town. The event brings in thousands of families, including Olympic athletes.
“I am most thankful for the sport of BMX,” Felicia Stancil, Elite Women Professional BMX racer said.
Thousands of people from all around the world traded their thanksgiving dinner for a rush of adrenaline on the racetrack. The Grand Nationals bring in more than 3,600 athletes from all 50 states and 25 different countries, from amateurs to Olympic-level athletes like Felicia Stancil.
“We came to race our BMX bikes,” Adaire Crane, a young BMX racer, said.
“Tokyo was an amazing experience, to represent the United States of America at the Olympics was a dream come true,” Stancil said.
Thousands of families come to Tulsa every year to attend the BMX Grand Nationals. The five-day event is a culmination of a 30-day series that goes across the United States.
“That’s what’s so special about this sport, is that family unit coming together and just having a great time so come out and check it out. It’s an incredibly packed family sport. It’s just a ton of fun,” John David said.
Organizers said this year's event is one of the largest in the country. For Tulsa, BMX is more than just a family fun sporting event, it's also a significant economic boost to the area.
“This event is incredible, with over 15,000 people a day and all of the hotel room nights that we consume and everything that we do with the eateries and the local shopping. It's about an 11 MILLION dollar economic impact for the city of Tulsa. Honestly too, it’s one of the biggest events that happen in all Thanksgiving week anywhere in the United States," John David, Chief Strategy Officer for USA BMX said.
The impact of BMX USA goes beyond Thanksgiving weekend. Through Vision Funding and local support, they are building a multi-billion dollar BMX facility, which is set to open in February.
BMX Grand Nationals event is free and open to the public. The pro-championship Race is Friday at 6:30 p.m. and it's a ten-dollar fee at the gate.
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