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New BMX track No. 1 in state

By Jeanni Brosius

This article was published February 6, 2011 at 6:00 a.m.

Shawn Basinger shows off some of the BMX bikes at Basinger Bikes in Cabot.

— The Cabot BMX Complex, one of five in Arkansas, recently celebrated its first full year in operation.

The 1,150-foot BMX track was the dream of Shawn Basinger, and with the help of the city and the Advertising and Promotion Commission, the track became a reality. It is located off Willie Ray Drive at the Lonoke County Regional Park.

Basinger said he has been involved in BMX since he was 12, and his children are also involved. In fact, his son Jaggar is the 2010 Red Line Cup winner, which is a national title.

“I wanted the kids here to experience what I did,” Basinger said. “Not everyone likes baseball, basketball or football. And no one sits on the bench with BMX.”

Basinger puts in a good 40 or more hours of work per week at the track, all volunteer time. He was named 2010 Member of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce for his efforts to get the track in Cabot.

In the Cabot BMX Complex’s short life, the membership numbers exceed all the other tracks in Arkansas, Basinger said. Because it is the state’s No. 1 track, Cabot will host the state championship race.

On an average race night, Basinger said, there will be 40 to 50 riders between 3 and 67 years old.

“We bring in people from Conway, North Little Rock, Little Rock and other states,” Basinger said. “When we have the state finals here, it’ll bring people from all over into Cabot.”

Not only is the Cabot track the No. 1 track as far as membership, but the No. 1 places in the four race categories are held by Cabot BMX Complex members: Jaggar Basinger, 14; Kaleigh Basinger, 11; Gerald Grieve, 40; and Haven Henry, 9.

The track features a skyscraper starting gate; national-caliber obstacles; a decision-maker down the second straight, which is 32 feet wide; and monster asphalt turns. In 2008, BMX became an Olympic sport, and Basinger said BMX racer Dennison Smith comes to Cabot from Oklahoma, training to become a competitor in the 2012 Olympic London Games.

“I think it’s something that is great for kids, and it’s not mainstream,” Brian May said. “I did it when I was a kid.”

May and his family moved to Cabot from Conway, and after he visited the track, he said he got a bike and started riding again. “It’s just a first-class facility, and for a middle-aged adult like me, it’s a great way to stay fit,” May said.

Basinger said the crowd always cheers the riders on, and they help each other. After Basinger headed up the opening of the track, he said the natural progression was for him to open his own bike shop.

“I always wanted to own a bike shop,” Basinger said. “I’ve always worked on bikes, and we do repairs and custom BMX work.”

For more information on the track, visit www.cabotbmxcomplex.com.

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