Race for Life series raises nearly $18K
Spokane BMX Track Operator Kory Bartel, left, Columbia Basin BMX Track Operator Sam McPeak, center left, Moses Lake BMX Track Operator Jeff Niehenke, center right, and Walla Walla BMX Track Operator Alex Forss smile at the Walla Walla BMX track on Sunday. The Eastern Washington Race for Life Series raised nearly $18,000 between the four tracks.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/JEFF NIEHENKE
Moses Lake kicked off the Eastern Washington Race for Life Series on Friday, with Spokane BMX and Columbia Basin BMX in Richland following on Saturday. Walla Walla BMX closed the weekend on Sunday morning.
Sports Reporter | August 29, 2023 4:34 PM
MOSES LAKE — More than 100 BMX riders traveled to Moses Lake for the first night of the Eastern Washington Race for Life Series, part of a four-track series in collaboration with tracks in Spokane, Richland and Walla Walla.
The Race for Life raises money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, with the Moses Lake track raising $5,500.
“The event was awesome,” Moses Lake BMX track operator Jeff Niehenke said. “We had more riders than we’ve ever had before at the event; we had 106 riders and 29 motos.”
Altogether, the four tracks in the series raised nearly $18,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
“The biggest win was we brought together communities from three other tracks, and it was a great community-building race,” Niehenke said. “We continued the series at those three other tracks, and all four tracks jumped in numbers and raised more money than before.”
With the strong interest in tracks throughout the weekend, three of the tracks in the Eastern Washington Race for Life Series jumped into the top ten of track fundraising around the country. Altogether, Washington has five of those tracks according to Niehenke; Moses Lake BMX, Spokane BMX, Columbia Basin BMX (Richland), SeaTac BMX and Lincoln Park BMX.
“I was expecting it to do what it did,” Niehenke said. “Now that we have it established, I’m expecting it to grow another 20% next year.”
Many of the riders who traveled to Moses Lake also competed at the other tracks in the series, and a handful came from out of town. After first-year success, Niehenke said added benefits in next year’s Race for Life should draw out more west-side riders.
“We didn’t draw over the west siders just because of how the race was sequenced and it being the first year, but now we’re set up,” Niehenke said. “All four tracks will have double points, so it’ll be an 800-point weekend next year and we will resequence it to better accommodate the travelers.”
The Race for Life has been an annual event for all USA BMX tracks, and the Moses Lake track has been participating since it opened in 2004. With the achievements made in 2023, Niehenke said he’s looking forward to next year’s Race for Life.
“It’s a building year with phenomenal success and a ton of growth potential,” Niehenke said.
Columbia Basin BMX raised the most money in the Eastern Washington Race for Life Series, and the track earned a trophy as a reward.
Ian Bivona may be reached at email@example.com.
CORRECTION: The photo credits on this story have been changed.