There appears to be demand in Kamloops for more organized youth mountain biking programming.
“It’s starting to blow up in this town,” said Chris Martin, who runs DMB Mountain Bike Coaching and volunteers with the Kamloops Bike Riders Association Kids League.
The Kids League had room for 70 riders ages seven to 12 and sold out in three days.
“It’s nice to be able to fill that need and to, hopefully, grow it even more in the future,” said Catharine Pendrel, the Kids League director who helps out when she isn’t out of town racing against the world’s best cross-country mountain bikers.
“We definitely have lots of parents contacting us for the waitlist.”
This year, the Kids League consists of three race days and three skill clinics, with the season running from April 12 to May 31.
“We just wanted to recognize that while not every kid is competitive, some are, and we give them an introduction to what cross-country mountain biking is,” Pendrel said.
There was no cost to enter in its first two years of operation, 2017 and 2018, but a registration fee of $30 was established this year.
“We got jerseys for the kids, it covers insurance, prizes, makes things a little more official and provides us with a registration base,” Martin said. “Also, you’re not guessing every week if people will show up.”
Registration fees and a Kamloops Sports Legacy Fund grant of $17,599 to the KBRA are helping the Kids League improve in a few areas.
“Just simple stuff, like getting us a tent for shade, some instructor training, making sure more of our instructors are first-aid certified,” Pendrel said. “Little things that help drum up excitement and let kids know they are part of the cycling community and that it’s their league.”
Events are held in Lac Du Bois and at the Kamloops Bike Ranch.
The Kids League is run by 16 volunteers, 14 coaches and two folks in organizational roles.
“I would love to see it turn into something like the KYSA has with soccer, where the kids can have one practise and one game a week,” Martin said. “Our hands are a little bit tied by the number of qualified coaches we have.”
For more information, email email@example.com or find KBRA Kids League on Facebook.