Saturday, April 29, 2017

BMX Trophies - Those That I Kept

 Most people that have been around BMX racing know that a good rider ends up with lots and lots of trophies.  It's not like other sports where you get a trophy at the end of the season - they give out trophies at every race...if you place.  At some point, every parent of every BMX racer says "enough!!" and the kid has to give them away or, as in my case, sell them back to trophy shops for literally pennies on the dollar.  Hundreds and hundreds of trophies gone, I kept a few.  This first one is but a humble little thing.  It is powerful, however.  It's my first trophy.  I had won a few motos in my first couple months of racing, but this was the first trophy.  2nd place at Plantation Raceway.
Good old Dad.  He used a pencil and scratched in the date on the bottom.  May 3rd, 1980. Still there, 37 years later.
 I kept this monster from the NBL Grand National that was held in St. Charles in 1981.  National trophies were not every day trophies.  Most of them were bigger than the kids that won them.  This one is 5 feet tall and made of some pretty nice wood.
 Schwinn was a powerhouse in the early days of BMX racing.  They sponsored the NBL Grands for a few years.
 Really nice details on this one.
 It's hard to see, but it says "2nd Place", enough to give me National #4 for 1981.
This metal and wood trophy is particularly special.  By the middle of 1982, I had won a few national races.  But on June 19, 1982 I won the National in Lawrencburg, Tennessee...the first time I ever beat the legend Richie Anderson.  That's equivalent today to beating Serena Williams as a second year pro.
 It's also significant because the weekend also included a race in Nashville, where I was 2nd in a very competitive open class to Don Johle, another legend.
 Fast forward a bit.  Another very tame little trophy.  Four marble bases, lots of gold plating.
Tame, but one of the most powerful trophies I have.  This was from the World Championship race in Burbank, California from 1983.  An incredible race with the most incredible competition concentrated in one building.  And, as a 16 year old, I was racing the fastest amateurs in the world in every moto.
 3rd Place.  Believe it or not I was disappointed.  Over the entirety of the weekend, I was on fire and didn't lose but a couple of motos.  I still believe I could have won, but truly being there in the main event after countless semi-finals was a victory anyway.  Richie Anderson won and went on to win another incredible overall World Championship trohpy.  How can I feel bad about 3rd??
 Much more impressive looking is a trophy from that same World Championship weekend.  ESPN was televising the race and dubbed the World's Pre-Race the 'Pro Spectacular'.  Awesome chance to race on the World's course the day before the big show.
 Maybe the trophies were cooler since ESPN was paying for them instead of ol' Renny Roker??  Regardless, they were beautiful.
 I went 2nd, which made me even more sure I could win the big show the next day...but Richie Anderson won this, too.  You can't call me a quitter, I kept trying to beat that dude.
Funway was an amusement park of sorts near Chicago.  The NBL hosted a National there in the middle of 1984 and had some darn cool trophies.
 Killer anodized look.  It's actually pretty cheap feeling and lightweight but I kept it for other reasons.
 I couldn't get the shot with my camera, but the crazy colors on the face plate are awesome.
 I kept the Funway trophy because I doubled...that's what you call two wins on a race day.  That helped to get me into BMXA magazine in the "Sharpshootin" section.  Wild track with an over and under and a magazine interview.  That's a keeper.
This is a most impressive piece of work.  Sold wood base, marble top, machined alloy stanchions, metal eagles on top. This is from Indianapolis in August of 1984. 
 It's a cool trophy, for sure.  But of course I kept it for another reason.
This is the closest I ever came to Double-Doubling on a National weekend.  The day before was in Fort Wayne and I doubled there, and this was one 1st place from Indy...one more first, that's all I needed for my Double-Double.  But, nope.  Mahlon Abrams beat me into 2nd place.  So 1-1-1-2 is the best I ever came up with.
Ah, the clock trophy.  The 1984 Grand National in Louisville, Kentucky was a wild ride.  I could have, would have, should have.  But....
 The clock still works, but the second hand is gone.  It served me well over the years, as I used the second hand to time my roller and trainer sprints.  I can't tell you how many hours I spent staring at this clock face.
.....I didn't.  I got 3rd place in the main event.  I needed 2nd to be the top amateur rider in the country for 1984.  Instead, I was #2.  Call me crazy, but that's still not a great feeling.  And I don't have to tell you who won the race.

There are a few more that I kept but none that have great stories.  They are still in fair condition.  There were times when they sat in damp basements so they are not perfect.  But they still hold together.  I cleaned them tonight and tightened the bolts.  The killer Indianapolis trophy, as solid as it is, had a little malfunction and one of the little metal eagles snapped off.  Part of me wants to fix it but part of me wants to let all of them be.  It's fun to remember them and they don't have to be perfect to take that little trip with each of them.

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