BMX races (and balance bike races for the little ones) happen in multiple locations every week throughout the valley. This is a great activity for kids who like riding bikes.
$5 for balance bikes
$10 for other riders
$5 for practice days
$30 for a year membership to USA BMX
You can get can get a free 1-day trial membership at the track your first time
1799 Commons Way
Boulder City, NV 89005
1400 N Decatur Blvd
Las Vegas NV 89108
1575 Galleria Dr
Henderson, Nv 89014
4949 E Cheyenne Ave
Las Vegas, Nv 89115
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Each of the four tracks in the valley hold practice hours, clinics, and races each week. I have included the schedule below, but each track is active on Facebook and posts their schedule each week. It is important to check the updated weekly schedule before you go. Sometimes the tracks have to cancel for high winds or a wet track and some weeks races are cancelled because of National BMX events. Always check the Facebook page before you go (see links below).
Before the main races, the tracks let little kids on balance bikes race first. These are races for kids typically ages 1-3. However, there is no official age limit. The only requirement is that they are riding a balance bike (a bike without pedals).
When you show up you will check in and pay your entrance fee at the desk. You also need to have a USA BMX membership for insurance purposes. If it is your first race, you can get a 1-day trial for free.
Each track lists “signup” hours. During this time, you can sign up to race and then practice on the track until the end of the signup time. The race DOES NOT start immediately at the end of signups. They take some time to get ready and print out the lists of racers, etc. (in BMX, heats are called “motos”) Sometimes this takes a while. The motos do not apply to you if you’re just there for the balance bike races, but it is important to know that if you show up at the beginning of sign ups, it could be very long time until your balance bike rider actually has their race. We made that mistake and by the time it was race time, Kyler was tired and disinterested. For us, the best strategy is to show up just a little bit before signups close. Plan on waiting longer that you expect for the races to start.
For balance bike riders, I would start out at Boulder City. They have a small dirt track just for the balance bikes that is separate from the main track and is easily manageable for the little riders. I haven’t been to Nellis, but it is also a separate track and from photos it looks to be about the same difficulty as Boulder City.
The Ed Fountain track runs the balance bike races on the last two straights of the regular track. The hills aren’t too big, but that track is definitely longer than the “baby” track at Boulder.
At Whitney Mesa they also usually run the balance bikes on the last two straights, but the track is huge. I would say there was usually only 1 or 2 kids that could even make it up the hills without a boost from a parent. The Whitney Mesa track is paved and not dirt. When we were going, Whitney Mesa always had the smallest turnout of balance bike riders, I assume for these reasons. However, it’s the closest track to us and Kyler always had lots of fun so we still went.
UPDATE: As of June 2018, Whitney Mesa is rebuilding a new strider track … I’m so excited! I’ll keep this updated once we check it out!
A good way to judge if your child would enjoy/be able to ride in a race is to take them to the pump track at Arroyo Grande Bike Park. The small track in front near the gate is about the level of difficulty to expect (minus the height of the pump track starting ramp, the dirt races aren’t that high).
Usually your balance bike rider will get to race three times, then awards are given to the top three based on combined finishing places in each category. The categories depend on how many kids show up on a given day, but they will generally do a race for 1-year-olds, 2-year-olds, and 3-year olds. So the chances of getting a prize are pretty high. Even if they aren’t top 3, I’m fairly sure every track gives at least ribbons to everyone that participates.
Practice: Wednesdays (6:30 – 8:30pm)
Race: Fridays (Signups 6 – 7:30pm)
Practice: Tuesdays (6:30 – 8:30pm)
Race: Thursdays (Signups 6:30 – 7:30pm)
Practice: Monday, Tuesday, and Sunday (6:30 – 8:30pm)
Race: Saturday (Signups 6:30 – 7:30pm)
Practice Mondays (6:30 – 8:30pm)
Race: Wednesday (Signups 6:30 – 7:30)
WHAT TO TAKE
You will need a bike and a helmet for sure. For balance bike racers, that’s about it. I suggest pants in case they crash.
For the bigger racers, don’t worry about having full BMX gear if you’re just starting. I would wait on investing in that until you try out the races a time or two and make sure your kid is interested before fully outfitting them. While the dedicated participants have fancy bikes and special outfits and helmets, it’s not uncommon to see a new kid on a regular bike and with a regular helmet. Have your child wear pants and long sleeves in case of a crash.
Take lots of drinks or money to buy them there, as your child will get really thirsty from all the riding, especially in the summer months.
I would not recommend taking a stroller. I have done it a few times, but at Ed Fountain it’s so crowded there’s no room and at Whitney Ranch and Boulder city it’s all rugged dirt to get to where you need to be. If you do need to have a stroller at those venues, only my off-road jogger type stroller could really make it. If you have the option a baby carrier would be much easier.
We have been to Whitney Mesa, Boulder City, and Ed Fountain. We went to our first race at Boulder City when my youngest had just turned 2. He had been riding his balance bike really well for several months already. Boulder City is our favorite, and Whitney Mesa is closest, so those are our usuals. We only went to Ed Fountain once because it is farther away and the day we went it was insanely crowded. We have never tried Nellis because of distance.
I’ve found that some kids have the racing instinct and some just don’t … mine doesn’t! He likes to ride but isn’t really concerned with catching up to other kids, and that’s just fine! There are always kids like that. In general, someone always cries when they don’t win a race or when they get a medal instead of a trophy, etc.
We went pretty regularly for a while, as long as Kyler was interested. It isn’t something that I plan on having him continue to do as he gets older so we just go whenever he feels like it. He’s really proud of his trophy and medal collection on his dresser and just genuinely loves riding his bike. The last few times we went we took Korbin’s bike too and let him ride around during the practice, but we haven’t actually signed him up for a race yet.
WHAT WE LIKED
My boys have always loved riding bikes, and we like that’s it’s an “organized” outlet for that hobby. It was also the first organized sport we tried, before Kyler was even old enough for soccer or tball or anything.
BMX is a very “community” sport. We got to know some of the families that showed up every week and I’m always trying to get my friends to come out and try it with us.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE
It is hard to judge how the turnout will be. One time we were the only ones who showed up, so there was no race (at Whitney Mesa). It’s also sometimes difficult to plan around when the races will actually start, because you just never know.
WILL WE GO AGAIN
We haven’t been in about a year. When my oldest turned 4 he got his “big boy bike” for Christmas and has been riding that now. I don’t think he’s ready to do a big race at age 4 (although there are some 4-year-olds out there) and he isn’t interested in trying right now. Korbin is 2 now and we’re going to take him to his first race soon.
Here are the track websites, but the most accurate information is on their respective Facebook pages, linked above.
Boulder City BMX
Ed Fountain BMX
Whitney Mesa BMX