ABOUT ROCKFORD BMX
Rockford BMX was started in 1977 by the Jaycees of Rockford.
Some of their kids wanted to try this rather new sport of bicycle racing, so they petitioned the Park District for some land and were given a place on Safford because if flooded when it rained and had no other use for it. In 1980 it was taken over by one of their members and ran solely for profit. During that time, the starting gate, which was donated by Kegel's Bike Shop, was run by hand and only about 2 feet high. It was in 1982 that Jake and Candy Karau became involved when their son started racing. In 1984 they stepped in when the current operator wanted to retire.
During this time Jake and Candy started making numerous upgrades to the program and facility. Every year since 1982, Rockford BMX has hosted a Race for Life. To date, our riders have donated over $172,000 to the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society of America.
In 1987 Rockford hosted one day of a two day National event, sharing with a track in Janesville which is now closed. Rockford BMX has since become the home of the Midwest Nationals, bringing thousands of racers and families from all over the world. In 1999 we hosted the ABA's World Cup, making us the first organization to bring a world class event to our city.
For many years now, after each and every Midwest National event, a Boy Scout troop from Belvidere has generously helped us with our clean up chores after the weekend. We have donated approximately $15,000 to their organization in appreciation. We continue with this co-operative effort to this day.
In 1995, we initiated a Race Against Hunger. For every non-perishable food item brought in by a racer, he/she received $1 off their racing fees. Rockford BMX covered all racing expenses and gave our our usual awards, while all the food items were donated to the Rock River Valley Food Pantry. In the 8 years we held this event, we reached donations equaling over $20,000. According to the Pantry that was approx. 14,000 food items. We no longer hold this event because of other charitable races that have been introduced by our sanctioning body, USABMX.
In 1998, we covered our staging area making waiting to race much more comfortable for our riders. Rockford BMX was one of the first outdoor bmx tracks to do this.
In 2002, we black-topped our berms (high banked corners) making racing a lot faster and more fun. That job was hardly finished, when we started getting calls from all over the U.S. on the "how to." We are still to this day upgrading and tweaking our berms.
Over the years Jake and Candy have been paramount in holding Rockford BMX to the highest standard possible. With the changes and upgrades made over the years, we now have a track that is unique, fast, and fun. In recent years we have added a camera and timing system. We have various events like the famous Underwear Race, bunnyhop contest, and jumping contents. Our Pie Day tops the list for fun, when top contributors (racers) to our Leukemia Race get to throw a pie at their "favorite" track official, a willing family member, or friend. The Halloween Costume Contest and race are a big hit with the kids and parents alike! We also hold an annual Ladies Night event when mothers and sisters who are non racers get fitted with bikes and gear so they can try our sport first hand. This event holds a raffle, with proceeds benefiting the Rock House Kids organization here in Rockford.
All in all, we have a lot of fun! We will continue giving back to our racers, families, and local community as best we can for years to come. Welcome to Rockford BMX!!!