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Pro Gate Free Clinic: Rockford

June 9, 2015 by · Comments Off 

2015 Rockford Pro Gate Clinic

With the 2015 USA BMX Midwest Nationals in Rockford, IL coming up next week, Pro Gate has announced a free gate clinic for the first 40 riders to sign up. The Pro Gate clinics are an always-awesome addition to the big race, wherever they pop-up, and we are stoked to bring you Read more

A-Protest

April 29, 2015 by · Comments Off 

A-Pro Protest at the 2015 USA BMX Dixieland Nationals

The topic of pro payouts is one that rings the alert bell here at the BMX News Global Command center every once in a while. Almost everyone, in almost every field of endeavor, can make a case on why they should be paid more for what they do on a day-to-day basis, and the A-Pros in BMX Racing are no different.

Last weekend, at the 2015 Dixieland Nationals, they decided to take a stand. They would protest their pay by staging what, in labor circles, would be called a “work stoppage (second main) and work slowdown (third main)” during Sunday’s main events.

As Carl Lein reported in our recap of the race, the first of three main events went off as-normal, with Kenneth Gustafson winning a full-on, “well-contested lap,” as Carl put it.

The second main gate was seven men lite, only Factory Ssquared local hero, Chandler Denton was in the gate, and easily won the ghost-lap. On the third go-round, all eight showed up, but slow-rolled the lap with, again quoting Carl’s recap, “Chandler rolling a little faster,” and scoring the round three slow-win.

Later, several A-Pros met with USA BMX officials behind the trailer to air their greivances, and try to talk the thing through.

But the real heat of this issue was yet to come, as social media lit up on the way home, ultimately reaching more than 300 comments on the personal Facebook page of Doublecross Bikes team manager, Doran Bradshaw. These comments were highly contentious, and from all-corners of the BMX map. From riders, to bike company owners, to team managers, to retired pros to USA BMX staffers on their own time and, yes, guys like me.

Like most Internet debates, the opinions covered the gamut and were a little more plussed-up than they might have been if all parties were sitting ’round the dinner table at Olive Garden. Still, it was an awesome display of the passion, politics and position of the people posting.

But, after three days of watching this drama unfold on “teh Interwebs,” the reasons for the protest and underlying facts were still very murky, and usually spun in the direction of whomever had the cyber mic at the time.

So, to try and separate some of the sensationalism from the realism, BMX News reached out to Olijuwon Davis, the A-Pro who was doing most of the talking on behalf of the riders, and USA BMX for their respective statements on the core of the protest, and how the league sees it, respectively. First, Olijuwon:

When was the first discussion about a protest?
The first discussion took place on Saturday morning as there were jokes going on from one guy to another about how stiff the competition has been thus far in the season. Being that the scene is as strong as it is and the fact that we race 3 main events, we were reminiscing on this same race from years past; what the rider count looked like/how thick the competition was and how much was awarded to the winner at that time. As a matter of fact, two of the gentlemen involved in the conversation were winners of the race in years past: Mike Caldwell and myself. Therefore, we knew what the compensation looked like then compared to now.

What, exactly, was the reason for the protest?
The reason for the protest was simply to make a statement that we are aware of our drop in pay (dating back to Louisiana 2014, Day 1) and that we were upset because there was never an explanation as to why that drop occurred. They simply handed the check to the race winner that day and the value of that check was $400 (even though there were 17+ riders which gives us semis and prior to that, a win for a semi race was $500).

So, on that day in 2014, as young men do, we heckled the race winner and told him that the organization owed him an additional $100 for his win or that they owed us all an explanation as to why the $100 was taken off (for which we were never given a definitive answer). Another reason is due to the lack of consistency in pay prior to that date.

I can only speak on personal experience: at Disney Cup 2012, I crashed and finished 6th in the final, and was paid x-amount of dollars for that finish.

The next day, I did worse and got 6th place in the semi and didn’t make the main but somehow, my check amount that day was more than the check from the day before when I made the main. That should be impossible. And at that point in time, I was given no explanation when I asked why as I stood at the trailer. Others have gone through these types of things as well, but I can only speak on my personal experience. So, this protest didn’t happen in a vacuum, there have been several instances over the years that have led up to us taking a stand.

Sure they have the pay scale printed out now but prior to questions being asked within the last couple years, I never saw anything like that. Payment for finishing in a particular position didn’t match up with pay from that same finish with the same “general rider count” from one day to the next: the pay scale was all over the place and seemed as if it was just decided and then written on the check right before they handed them out. I could be completely wrong, but that seems to be the case considering the inconsistencies.

Was the pay situation discussed with USA BMX officials before the protest went into effect?
The pay situation was not directly discussed with the USA BMX officials prior to the protest, although several of us have voiced our concerns about our compensation on several occasions. With that being said, I would like to apologize for all of us involved for not having an actual proposal in place prior to acting upon this. We felt like this was, “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” and that is what sparked our discussion and actions.

What was the result you were hoping to achieve by way of the protest?
The result that we were hoping to achieve from our protest was to get USA BMX officials to speak with us and give us some actual answers and/or allow us to voice our concern to them, which was the ultimate result of our actions.

We weren’t looking to be paid more that very day; that is absolutely absurd and almost completely unlikely. It had been going on long enough and we needed to take a stand. Unfortunately, if more people witness an event and are made aware of the reason behind it, the powers-that-be are somewhat more compelled to act upon the problem, if you will. That is why we decided to roll the third main: so that the people could see that we were taking a stance on something rather than just wondering why were weren’t on the track. That would have been the case had we not coasted around in our respective order when it was time for the third main.

With all of that being said, that stance was just the spark. For this “fire” is to continue, us A Pros who were present, as well as other A Pros who feel the same way about the situation, are going to have to come together and create a proposal of some sort, then come up with something quantifiable as to why we deserve more compensation. This is only a beginning.

Do you feel you have accomplished that objective, now that the protest has occurred?
I do feel that our objective was accomplished by our protest: we wanted to have the opportunity to speak with USA BMX and have our concerns heard and we accomplished that. We wanted the people to know that we felt an injustice was being done toward us, and I feel we accomplished that as well. Whether or not each person on the outside agrees with our actions or not is up to them. We were the ones involved, we made a decision as a collective unit, and acted as we felt necessary.

Any additional comments?
Long story short, every athlete that is highly competitive and/or successful in A Pro, these days, dedicates time to perfecting their craft. Lots of those athletes have the desire to take their efforts to the next level—not all, but a lot of us—and I happen to be one of those athletes. The class isn’t what it used to be years back when my 17-18x class could horse every A Pro down the first straight and around the track (look up who was “my generation” of amateurs: David Herman, Nic Long, Jeff Upshaw, Lee Lewis, Kris Fox, etc.). The class now consists of athletes who are racing A Pro as well as Elite and some of us are able to compete at the next level, we just simply haven’t been able to reach that full-time AA/Elite status, as yet, for whatever reason.

Even when we do reach that level, there is no guarantee that anyone will be one of the final 8 guys in the main event at each race. That is the beauty of our sport: I truly believe it is the most challenging sports to be highly successful at, and I’ve played lots of sports, a couple at a high level. That’s fine, it builds persistence and other great characteristics that help us succeed in our sport, and every other aspect of our lives. With that being said, we do dedicate time to the gym, to our sprints, and to the track. Lots of us make sacrifices everyday. Some of us have hired coaches to help provide us with the proper training necessary to be highly competitive at the top of our sport.

The class isn’t just a bunch of weekend warriors who are trying to race for a couple of dollars. We are in this because we love it and we want to do the best at it. Who doesn’t dream of playing their sport at the highest level? I did as a child, and still do. And so do other kids out there. Should those same kids work their butts off year after year to earn the right to turn pro just to make nothing, in some cases? I don’t think so. There is a level of dedication that goes into this sport if one wants to be successful. Truth is, the racing aspect, meaning being paid for your results, isn’t going to be sufficient for one to make a living. That’s why we must be professional: so that companies want to support us due to our marketing capabilities.

Many of us take different avenues to benefit financially from the sport. Personally, I have been hosting clinics and private training sessions in which I coach and mentor riders of all ages and skill levels. I have done this for 8 years now. So, this wasn’t a cry for USA BMX to “pay our bills for us.” It was an attempt to state that we feel like we’re putting in more work than we’re being compensated for.

For everyone out there: if you were offended by this, myself, as well as every A Pro present, apologizes for the way we made you feel. For everyone who was in support of us, thank you. We felt we needed to stand up for what we felt and that is what we do.

“If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.”

Josh Smith, brother to Dixieland main-maker Jeremy Smith, and an A-Pro himself, posted the following on Doran’s Facebook megathread:

After looking, based on the 17-25 (rider) count, here’s the difference, so it’s clear. It’s still a $1,500 payout, but since they now pay 5/6th in each semi, the $260 (5th=$70×2 and 6th=$60×2) that was removed from the main event pay all came out of the pay the top 3 riders receive (which is what makes it so drastic and why it looks so bad).

USA BMX sent News the following on the pay scale question:

The pro athletes were sent a detailed payout sheet this year that explained all payouts, qualifications, and other items pertaining to pro racing. There were no changes made to the A-Pro payout in 2015, and it remains the same as it was in 2014. We offer the A-Pro class at every USA BMX National throughout the year and as long as five riders are registered, a purse is offered at all of the 60+ events on the schedule (Editor’s Note: Fri, Sat and Sun of national weekends). As with any purse that is determined by the number of entries, the purse will vary from location to location and often from day to day.

The A Pro class is unique in that a rider can be an A-Pro their entire professional life. We have always supported the A-Pro class and look at the class as a stepping-stone to “AA.” While we realize that many will not make that step, the privilege of racing as a professional has still been offered. In 2015, the $4,000 earnings cap was removed from A-Pro and riders can hone and develop their skills in A-Pro the entire year if they so desire. This change was made in conjunction with our changes for younger riders competing in the Junior class and to assist in developing younger riders and preparing them for the “elite” class. This change has brought younger riders into the A-Pro class in 2015 and will hopefully prepare more riders for the elite level of racing.

The changes in 2015 have prompted much discussion and additional changes and improvements are planned for 2016 based on rider and team feedback. As always, we are happy to hear from our membership and constantly looking for ways to evolve and grow our programs.

Those are the facts, as each side sees them. From that, you can form your own opinion of how it should ultimately end up.

Meanwhile, with this weekend’s Seaside Nationals coming up in just a few days, we are not aware of any rumblings of a similar protest on the West Coast by A-Pros. BMX News will be on-scene there as well, and will report any haps on the starting hill that tilt in this direction.

—Mike Carruth

Links

2015 Dixieland Nationals Recap and Photos

Free Pro Gate Clinics Friday in Rockford

June 23, 2014 by · Comments Off 

Pro Gate Midwest Nationals Clinics

After a pair of very successful clinics at the Grands last year, Pro Gate is back on the schedule with two free gate clinics at this week’s Midwest Nationals in Rockford.

Pro Gate has lined up some awesome instructors for the sessions, all of whom get props for the work they do with up & coming riders on an on-going basis.

It just so happens that Rockford is Pro Gate’s home town, so they will be around all weekend with the UCI Gate trailer, so you can sharpen up your gate at Friday’s clinic, then keep it dialed til the EZ-ups come down.

So, before motos are posted on Saturday, get in on one of these two free clinics.

Friday, June 27 – Morning Session
10:00AM – 11:00AM
Instructors:
Olijuwon Davis – Factory Doublecross
Tyler Whitfield – Factory Ssquared-Answer
Justin Richmond – Factor Ssquared-Answer

Friday, June 27 – Afternoon Session
12:30PM – 1:30PM
Instructors:
Donny Robinson – Factory SE Bikes / Pedals 2 Medals
Lauren Reynolds – Factory Ssquared
John Paul Pfeiffer – Factory Hyper

Both clinics will definitely fill up, so enter your info below and join the fun.

**You must pre-sign in order to participate. Use the link below**

Sign Up Now

Free Pro Gate 2014 Midwest Nationals Gate Clinic

Vote Now in the Cajun Nats Photo Trophy Dash

March 13, 2014 by · Comments Off 

Vote in the 2014 Cajun National Photo Trophy Dash

Its been a while since we have run a BMX News Photo Trophy Dash. But the photos from the Cajun Nationals were especially well-received by the fans, so we just had to gate-up the top eight images from the weekend, and have a sprint-to-the-finish of Facebook likes, to see who gets the coveted people’s choice award.

Of the eight images in the group, the one that gets the most Facebook likes by 5PM Central Time on Monday, March 17 will win a 30×20 canvas print of the winning image for the rider named in the caption.

Also, one luck liker of the winning image will receive a $50 gift card to Dan’s Comp.

So, take a gander at the top shots below, click the link at the bottom to vote for your favorites, and ring up some friends to do the same.

John Anderson of ORP in the Cajun Nationals Photo Trophy Dash

John Anderson of ORP/Rickard Bikes

Olijuwon Davis of Doublecross Bikes in the Cajun Nationals Photo Trophy Dash

Olijuwon Davis of Doublecross Bikes

Ashlee Hill of CCH Bicycles in the Cajun Nationals Photo Trophy Dash

Ashlee Hill of CCH Bicycles

Vote Derrik Blackmore in the 2014 Cajun National Photo Trophy Dash

Derrik Blackmore of Phoenix/Box

Vote Tyler Whitfield in the 2014 Cajun National Photo Trophy Dash

Tyler Whitfield of Ssquared/Answer

Vote Brandon Ceslok in the 2014 Cajun National Photo Trophy Dash

Walker Finch of Haro/Promax

Vote Brandon Ceslok in the 2014 Cajun National Photo Trophy Dash

Brandon Ceslok of Ssquared/Answer

Vote Alec Nesbitt in the 2014 Cajun National Photo Trophy Dash

Alec Nesbitt of Lindsey Wilson Cycling

While you’re at it, we would sure appreciate if you could like the BMX News Fan Page, and follow @bmxnews on Twitter. If you do it now, it will be real quick-like. Links below will open in new windows for easy escapage.

Links

Vote Now in the 2014 Cajun Nationals Photo Trophy Dash

Like the BMX News Facebook Page

Follow BMX News On Twitter






BMX News Promax Top Story, Presented by Promax Components

Brandon Elmore Doubles-Up in First Pro Outing

January 27, 2014 by · Comments Off 

Brandon Elmore Doubles Up in First Pro Outing

Stop number two of the 2014 USA BMX National Series in in the books, after a great weekend of racing in Tulsa. With 195 motos on Saturday, the race drew entries from all corners of the map, and the USA BMX team built a fun and fast track in the Ford Trucks arena.

A-Pro was the top-class attraction of the weekend and was topped, both days, by pro class first-timer, Brandon Elmore of Ssquared Answer.

A great kick-off to his pro career, Brandon was both stoked and humble about his twin wins in Tulsa Town, telling News

Going in to the race, I really didn’t know what to think or what to expect. But I did know I was confident in the training I have been doing.

When I was up there for my first main I was a little nervous. But after it happened, I realized there’s nothing to be nervous about, it was just another race.

As the weekend went on, I felt like I was getting better and better on the track. When I got that big check on Saturday, I couldnt stop smiling– I was so happy! I couldn’t wait for day two! All I could think about was “this is my pro debut and I wanna win two days in row and get another check!”

Day two came and suddenly, it was main time. A good friend told me “I saw you win your first main. Then I saw you win it again– might have been luck.” So, the third main came around, and he said “now let me see if your a champion!” When I won, I was so proud of myself–I couldn’t have been happier!

That was a very cool retelling of how the weekend went down for the Sooner Nationals top pro. We have been a big fan of Brandon’s for a while now, and it’s great to see him stepping into the next phase of his career with purpose and poise.

His next race will be the Bluegrass Nationals in Louisville in two weeks. We’ll look forward to seeing him there!

Videos courtesy of Jonathan Hoag, via YouTube


Day Two Main 1

Day Two Main 2

Day Two Main 3




Top: Saturday Podium: Brandon Elmore (middle), Lee Lewis (Left) and Beau Richards (Right, for Factory Doublecross). Via Facebook.

Sunday Podium (not pictured): Brandon Elmore, Lee Lewis and Olijuwon Davis (Factory Doublecross)

Links

Ssquared Bicycles Website

Answer BMX Website

Ssquared Answer Factory Team Facebook Page




Speedco Top Story, Presented by Speedco Bicycles

Podcast: Olijuwon Davis on Pro Gate Clinics

December 24, 2013 by · Comments Off 

Pro Gate Grands Clinic Podcast

The free clinics promoted by Pro Gate as last month’s USA BMX Grand National were very popular, with over 250 riders signed up for the two sessions. In the morning session, Mariana Pajon, German Medina and Greg Hill spent more than an hour with the kids, coaching them as they gated up on their form and other things that go in to getting rippin holeshots consistently.

In the afternoon, Tyler Whitfield and Olijuwon Davis rocked the house, Rockford style, with serious tips & tricks for over 100 attendees.

We caught up with OD to talk a little about how the clinics went, and get some tips on how you can give your self a gate clinic every day (both mentally, and on the bike).

Since recording the Podcast over the weekend, we learned that Olijuwon finished at the top of the A-Pro points chase for 2013. There is no title in that class, but we’re very happy for our buddy, nonetheless. Congrats, OD!

Here are some photos from the clinics



Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Listen To The Podcast Now:
Link
iPhone users: paste the link below in your phone’s browser
http://www.bmxnews.com/podcasts/at-086-olijuwon-davis-progate.mp3

Links

Pro Gate Junior Info Page

Doublecross Bikes website





Speedco Top Story, Presented by Speedco Bicycles

Team News: Bradshaw and Davis to Doublecross

September 20, 2013 by · Comments Off 

Doran Bradshaw and Olijuwon Davis to Doublecross Bikes

More team news from the show floor at Interbike 2013. Long-time Morphine Industries stars Olijuwon Davis and Doran Bradshaw will trade the pink & black for Orange & Black as the join Bob Deily’s Doublecross Bike Factory Team. The change will happen immediatey, with OD and DB likely suited up in time for the Disney Cup.

Doran told news:

I’m really excited about joining Doublecross Bikes! Bob is an awesome guy that has done great things in such a short amount of time. I am looking forward to helping Doublecross take it to the next level!

Olijuwon texted us the following:

I want to thank Morphine Industries for everything they did for me over our five seasons together. I look forward to continuing to chase my dreams with Factory Doublecross Bicycles and would like to thank Bob Deily for the opportunity to represent them.

Related

Just before we hit “publish” on this post, we also learned that Charlie Hunt and Ryan DeRoche will be out of their Morphine kit, and into BlackCrown colors at Disney.

Photos by Ben Hogan and Delores Whitfield, via Facebook

Links

Doublecross Bike Website





Speedco Top Story, Presented by Speedco Bicycles

Morphine Industries Tar Heel Nationals Report

May 17, 2013 by · Comments Off 

Doran Bradshaw of Morphine Industries 2013 Tar Heel Nationals

Submitted by Jonathan Reeves, Photos by Carl Lein

With a solid crew of riders equipped with the stealthy Haro Blackout frame, Morphine descended upon Charlotte, NC and Hornet’s Nest BMX for a weekend of racing and hangin’ “wit” the boys.

Here’s how it went on the track:

A Pro – Olijuwon Davis, in usual fashion started off the weekend as usually hittin’ the Friday night race. With the PRO series in the house, Friday was stacked with AA and A pros. OD started by warming up the rubber with a solid 4th.

Saturday and Sunday showed off ODs hard work and style as he rolled to the same podium spot with double deuces.

Vet PRO – Tim Dinger was welcomed back by all to his first race at his hometown after a long hiatus due to double injury setbacks. He wasted no time to let the class know he is back with a sloid 4th place just off the podium.

Sunday, going for it in true Dinger fashion, Tim went down in the motos to take a bar-end to the stomach. However, he continued on to make the main but was hindered by the injury and rolled to take the 8th place at the line.

36-40 Expert/Cruiser – Doran Bradshaw, strapped on both bikes for the weekend and did them both with style as usual. In class, Doran rode to a podium spot both days with a 3rd and a 3rd. In cruiser, He stepped up the game and took a top spot, 1st, on Saturday and a 3rd on Sunday.

In between, his riding Doran took the whip for a photo shoot for a bike check in PULL. Be sure to check it and see what a NAG #1 drives.

17-18X – Ryan DeRoche, showed what grit he is made of during the weekend riding with shoulder injury. Putting determination over pain, Ryan rode to the podium both days with doubling up on the deuces.

17-18X Jared Johnson, Showing the same determination has is partner in 17/18X, Jared continued his come back with a solid podium spot taking a 3rd on Saturday. Jared was on track to repeat looking solid in the semi on Sunday but got caught up with another rider in turn 1 and went down to end his day.

Noah Reeves of Morphine Industries
16X – Noah Reeves, staged up on the gate Saturday with a stacked class and rode his way to the main taking a solid 5th at the line. Sunday proved to be better as Noah was headed toward the podium but getting a little loose on the final straight keep him just shy with a solid 4th.

11X – Dylan “Dweazey” Shipley, showed of his style for miles riding making his way thru class and ending the day just off the podium with a 4th. Dylan strapped it on again for day 2 with a repeat at the line and adding a 4th to his weekend.

Overall a great weekend for the team and our sponsors with a solid weekend of 9 podiums out of 16 gate drops. The next stop for the team will be NashVegas and the Music City Nationals.

Be sure to stop by or catch the riders on the track to check out the new “5 Star” Chromo forks. Our new Chromo fork designed in true Morphine style with custom dropouts/steer tube and coming in under 800 grams. Coming to you soon!

Factory Team Sponsors: Haro Bikes, Fly Racing, Alienation, Hawk Racing, Rennen, DNA Energy, HRP Designs

Links added by the editors to highlight BMX News advertisers

Morphine Industries laying it down, baby! – ABA Dixieland Nationals

April 27, 2010 by · Comments Off 

Olijuwon Davis At the 2010 ABA Dixieland Nationals
By Jonathan Reeves, Photos: Mike Carruth/bmxnews.com

THE ABA DIXIELAND NATIONALS— what comes to mind when you hear that? RAIN, rain, and more rain. But, for the first time in about 8 years, we had absolutely perfect weather, sun shining and highs in the 70′s, we couldn’t have asked for anything more. So with the weather finally on our side, and the track being better than at any time in the history of Powder Springs BMX, we knew this weekend was gonna be a good one.

Morphine Industries hit the Dixieland Nationals with only 3 riders, while the rest of the team was in Florida and Cali taking the weekend off from a gnarly spring racing schedule, DB100, OD, and J-Rev took it to the mean streets, the Burbs of Atlanta, to handle business.

Jason LaRev leads the Pro main on Saturday at the 2010 ABA Dixieland Nationals.  Photo by Mike Carruth, bmxnow.com
A PRO – Jason LaRev made the 30-minute journey to the race track, still a little sore from Saturday nights activities down in Tampa the previous weekend. Jason didn’t know if he was going to be able to race or not. But after taping up the hand, he got his TCB on and topped the podium with a first place finish in A Pro on Saturday. Sunday, he hoped to follow it up with another victory, but a solid bonk down the first straight kept him off the box with a fourth place finish.

Doran Bradshaw ignites the afterburners in the fourth straight at the 2010 ABA Dixieland Nationals.  Photo by Mike Carruth, bmxnow.com
36-40X – Doran Bradshaw had a killer weekend of racing by getting two third place finishes in one of the hardest classes of the weekend, 36-40 cruiser, then pulling a fourth place finish Saturday in the super stacked 36-40X. Unfortunately Sunday in 36-40X he wanted to get his freestyle on by doing a Front-Flip in the rhythm section, mid race. It didn’t turn out as planned, and ended up with the snowman, 8th place.

Olijuwon Davis rails into the last turn in the 19-27 Expert Main Event at the 2010 ABA Dixieland Nationals.  Photo by Mike Carruth, bmxnow.com
19-27X – Olijuwon Davis made the long trek down from Chicago to show some of these East coast boys what Midwest pull is all about. And, in typical OD fashion, he didn’t disappoint. OD horsed the comp on his Haro race LT, and rode across the finish line victorious both days in 19-27x, bumping him up a few more spots in the 19-27x NAG standings. If you haven’t seen OD in action get to a track and check it out.

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