published Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Race for Life at Bradley County BMX open to riders of all skill levels

IF YOU GO

• What: BMX Race for Life.

• When: 8 p.m. Saturday (registration 6:30-7:30 p.m.).

• Where: Bradley County Recreational Park, 234 Urbane Road, Cleveland, Tenn.

• Directions: From I-75, take Cleveland Exit 27 and go east on Paul Huff Parkway. Turn left at Urbane Road, passing YMCA. Turn right at Bradley County Recreational Park. BMX track is at top of hill.

• Registration fee: $20 donation.

• Note: A riding clinic is scheduled 4-6 p.m., with registration starting at 3:30 p.m. Cost is $20.

• Phone: 423-559-9562 or 423-728-7035.

• Websites: www.ababmx.com, http://bradleybmx.com.

DRESS CODE

Participants in the BMX Race for Life must have:

• Helmet (full face helmet recommended).

• Long-sleeve shirt.

• Long pants.

• Enclosed shoes.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Officials with Bradley County BMX want both expert and rookie riders to take to the bicycle dirt track Saturday for the 32nd annual BMX Race for Life.

The event, which is dedicated to fighting blood-related cancers, will be held at the Bradley County Recreational Park on Urbane Road in Cleveland.

Registration is from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and costs a $20 donation. Racing will start around 8 p.m.

A two-hour riding clinic will be offered before registration.

"We are hoping to have a large turnout for our Race for Life and do very well in our fundraising efforts," said track operator Tammy Finnell. "We've got a lot of new riders this year, and everyone seems to be on board."

Last year, local rider Austin Veach contributed more than $1,500 in donations, earning him third rank in the nation for USA BMX Race for Life fundraising in 2011, said Finnell.

"He's a good rider," said Finnell. "He and his family are very enthusiastic about the sport and helping out."

However, she said, Race for Life is also a great opportunity for anyone to try out the sport while also helping a worthy cause. It is one of only two BMX events this year that does not require a season license to participate; the other event will be Olympic Race Day on June 23.

The event will offer a number of prizes for top fundraisers, including tickets to Dollywood's Splash Country and Lake Winnepesaukah.

Race for Life also will offer double points for BMX riders racking up cumulative seasonal scores, according to event organizers.

Race for Life is part of the USA BMX initiative to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at BMX tracks across the nation. The first event, held in 1981, was dedicated to 12-year old dirt-bike cyclist Todd Kingsbury of Michigan, who lost his life to cancer.

Lymphoma rates increased by more than 70 percent in the last quarter of the 20th century, and today 454,000 Americans have the disease, according to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society statements on the USA BMX website. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cases are rising by 1.1 percent a year, while the death rate is rising by 1.8 percent.

Black Crown BMX of Rossville will host the riding clinic, providing on-track training and instruction with its factory team cyclists. The clinic costs $20 and lasts from 4 to 6 p.m. Registration for the clinic starts at 3:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Bradley BMX at 423-559-9562 or Bradley County Parks & Recreation at 423-728-7035.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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