Columbus BMX track hosting scholarship race

Every BMX track under the USA sanctioning body of BMX racing hosts a Warnicke Scholarship race each year.

The Warnicke Scholarship is named after former National Bicycle League vice president Bob Warnicke, who died in 1995. The Bob Warnicke Memorial Scholarship Program was established in 1995, and 50 percent the admission prices of each race go toward the scholarship fund.

The Columbus BMX track is hosting this year’s Warnicke race at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

The scholarship is awarded to college-bound BMX applicants across the nation to help finance their college expenses. The awards can range anywhere from $500 to $5,000, and 78 of 92 applicants split $47,500 last year. This will be the 15th year hosting the Warnicke Scholarship race for the Columbus BMX track.

About five Columbus BMX riders from the surrounding area have been awarded a Warnicke Scholarship in the past few years. Fourteen-year-old Jacob Clapp, who will be competing this weekend, has raced in the past seven Warnicke Scholarship races. Clapp will be a freshman at Columbus East and hopes to become a recipient of the Warnicke Scholarship in the near future.

Clapp has been BMX racing since he was 6 and will be competing in the world championships in South Carolina this month. He has competed in a number of different locations from Oklahoma to Canada for national competitions.

“The competition is always fun, getting to see everybody from out of state,” Clapp said.

Clapp plans on using the Warnicke scholarship to help him enroll at Marian University when the time comes for him apply in a few years.

Kris Lasure and Chris Clapp head the Columbus BMX, which hosts about 16 races a year. They are expecting between 80 to 100 riders between the 15 to 25 different classes.

“It’s awesome,” Chris Clapp said. “All the kids are super good kids. We don’t have any problems with any of them. It’s a great family sport, and I can’t talk enough about it.”

Saturday’s competition has two qualifying races for each division, with eight riders making it to the main event race.

There is a $10 entry fee on the day of the race and there is no limit to how many riders can participate. Also, there is no age limit for the Columbus BMX races. They have toddler riders race all the way up to 72-year-old riders.

“It doesn’t age at all,” Lasure said. “As long as you can ride a bike and do the jumps, which is basically roll over them, you can race. There is not very many sports where the kids, mom and dad can all do the same sport on the same track.”

If you go

Warnicke Scholarship Race

When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Columbus BMX track, 876 Spear St.

Registration: $10

Purpose: To raise money for the Bob Warnicke Memorial Scholarship Program

Author photo
Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at fbonner@therepublic.com or 812-379-5632.