ROCK HILL, S.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Hundreds of professional and amateur BMX racers worldwide have been in Rock Hill since Tuesday, practicing for the weekend’s national races.
The city has hosted the event every year since 2014.
“Every year, they continue to get bigger and bigger,” said David Linder, Rock Hill’s tourism division supervisor for Rock Hill’s Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. “What makes this so unique and really, really awesome is a true family event. So we have everybody from four-year-old kids to 60-year-old people out here competing.”
Linder said the event brings in millions of dollars in tourism, significantly impacting the city.
“So last year for this event, for example, we brought in about $3.2 million in economic impact,” Lindler said. “Now, I’m careful to say that it’s not money that comes directly to the city. It goes back to the retail stores, the grocery stores, and the restaurants.”
14-year-old Tristan Gormley has been on the bike since 2018, and already he’s considered an expert. He’s ranked 7th nationally and is a 3-time South Carolina State Champion in his age class.
Gormley says the feeling he gets on his bike is unmatched.
“It’s very exciting,” Gormley said. “You know, it gives you a bit of like, you know, a little bit of shock, you know. But it’s definitely, like, exciting to be on the bike.”
Two minutes before his race, he spoke with Queen City News.
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While Gormley gets warmed up for the race, he thinks about the adrenaline rush he’s about to experience.
“Just the thrill of jumping in the air and just racing. It’s all my friends,” he said. “It’s just fun riding all the time. Sometimes I have a little bit of a plan, but it always it’s always random. You never know what’s going to happen.”
Right after our interview, Gormley took first place in his heat and moved on to the semifinal.
“We’ll be hosting another one of these in October, but there are a lot of Olympic athletes that will be coming in October trying to get those final points for the world championships in Paris, France, in ’24,” Linder said. “Then in May of ’24, we’re hosting the world championships again for the second time.”