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BMX Hall of Fame - Class of 2024

Filed under General on June 17, 2024 | Comment(s)

After a ton of new nominations, added to the Nominees from the past eight years, then narrowed down by the Selection Committees to the Top-8 in each categroy, followed by hundreds of votes cast for the ultimate Inductee - USA BMX is beyond stoked to introduce you to this year's inductees into the BMX Hall of Fame ::


EARLY RACER :: Bobby Woods


Starting his BMX career at the Valley Teen Center in Van Nuys, CA - BOBBY WOODS was one of the earliest amateurs to use a two pedal start in a BMX race. In 1979, at Renny Roker's JAG BMX World Championships, Woods won 16x and the Trophy Dash - making him the 2nd ever BMX World Champion.
Racing for Robinson and Mongoose, Woods turned Pro in 1979, winning in his Pro debut at the NBA Chicago Great Race. He’d go on to become Western States Champion in Pro Class, and was featured in advertisements for Robinson, Mongoose, GoPro leathers and Vans shoes, along with prominent features in all of the major BMX publications. 

Still to this day, Bobby has remained in the bicycle business, as owner of Studio Cycle Co. and Adventure E-Bike Company in SoCal.


MODERN ERA RACER :: Maris Strombergs

First and foremost, MARIS STROMBERGS is the first 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist - winning the Beijing games in 2008 and London 2012. While we could just end his bio with those stats alone - there is much more to this BMX Cinderella story.
Born in March 1987 in a land known as Latvia, Maris discovered BMX during the 90's and climbed ‘n clawed his way up the European ladder of success. Hard work and training would pay off, and 2008 was The Year of The Machine. 

After winning everything there was in Europe, Maris set his sights on the American circuit. Now representing Free Agent Bicycles, he'd become NBL No.1 Pro back-to-back, in 2009 and 2010. That same year, he'd also earn his second UCI World Championship. Fans had began calling Strombergs "The Machine" - as he continued to effortlessly crank out win after win, wherever he went over the next decade. 

Once he won the Grands and finally became No.1 PRO in USA BMX (2018), Maris had won every BMX title possible - and in most cases, more than once. The BMX World will never forget the Latvian legend, who left a lasting impression on the American BMX scene.


INDUSTRY :: FREESTYLIN' staff 

 

In a rare "group" induction, this year's Industry category goes to the Staff of FREESTYLIN' Magazine. This crew created one of the industry's all-time most influential media voices thru the Wizard Publication's iconic FREESTYLIN' magazine. 

This new title was born from the mind of Hall of Famer BOB OSBORN in 1984, to capture the energy of this emerging sport known as Freestyle. ANDY JENKINS, an Art student and BMX / skating fanatic from Wyoming, was hired as Editor with former Bicycle Sport mag's DON TOSHACH handling Managing Editor duties. The quarterly publication quickly picked up speed and went bi-monthly in 1985 - to keep up with the rapidly forming F/S industry. As the publication continued to grow VALERIE ADLAM handled Advertisers, while DIAN HARLAN took on everything from production in the Art Department and darkroom, developing B&W film.
By '86, FREESTYLIN' doubled in size, bringing on new staff members to cover the white-hot scenes sprouting up all over the world. MARK LEWMAN - aka "LEW" from Kalamazoo, Michigan, was hired as Assistant Editor and Andy's talented and artistic sister, JANICE JENKINS, became full-time Art Director. Circulation and page count had doubled by ‘87; partly thanks to the addition of skateboarding coverage to the content, bridging together both extreme sports.
Rockville BMX’s SPIKE JONZE was hired fresh out of high school, as Associate Editor and photography assistant - and in a very short time, would share Photography credit with Hall of Famer WINDY OSBORN.
From capturing the visual look, to prompting the attitude and reckless abandon of its community, Freestylin' magazine was a groundbreaking publication that made a huge impact on all.


WOMAN :: Kim Hayashi

A Chandler BMX local since 1998, KIM HAYASHI would leave a huge foot print on the sport in the new millennium - amassing multiple No.1 titles, boosting the jumping skills for girls to all new heights, and inspiring the current generation of Women Pros who dreamt of Olympic glory.

As a young Amateur, Lil' Kim won the National No.1 Girl Cruiser title, back-to-back, in 2000 & 2001. It was that success that caught the eye of Redline Bicycles - a sponsor that would last nearly a decade. While donning the red, white ‘n black, Kim would go on to win an incredible five consecutive NBL No.1 Elite Women titles (from 2003 to 2007). Her winning ways and “Go Big” jumping style would inspire every young girl who raced BMX - inspiring future Olympians such as Alise Post and Brooke Crain. 

Following her retirement from the Pro circuit, Kim remained involved in the sport as a Coach and Team Manager for Supercross and currently with ReMix components. Her eye for talent and ability to relate with younger riders has made Kim a valuable and respected asset.


EARLY FREESTYLE :: Hugo Gonzalez

Way back in 1977, in San Jose, California - the Gonzalez brothers of Hugo and Oscar, discovered BMX. And by the early 80's when the sport of freestyle was taking off, HUGO GONZALEZ go-for-it, dare-devil style of riding was a perfect fit for the times.

If there was big air involved, Hugo was all over it. Quarter pipes, half pipes or skateparks were his thing. So when the AFA began putting on King of the Skatepark comps, Hugo was one of the first Pros to sign up. From 1983 through 1986, Hugo was a King of Skateparks finalist, famous for always attempting the impossible. He was by far, one of the most progressive riders in his era - riding for GT BMX in the early days and then becoming a star of the Skyway freestyle program.

In 1986, Hugo attended the IBMXF World Freestyle Championships; in which he won. With his reputation as a wildman, Hugo appeared in every American and Foreign BMX publication there was, and deservingly so - adorned quite a few covers and pull-out posters.


EARLY FREESTYLE :: Jeff Watson

JEFF WATSON is probably the most mysterious rider to ever be inducted into the BMX HoF. Even though his notoriety in the BMX realm might have been brief, during the earliest days of skatepark riding, Watson’s inspiration and influence on the BMX World is immeasurable. His aerial antics in the concrete pools of Southern California laid the groundwork for what would become known as The King of the Skateparks. He was a BMX racer who’d become a true pioneer of the early skatepark scene - frequently riding at Rancho, Colton, Lakewood, and Pipeline skateparks, while working part-time wrenching at Moos’ Motocross Bicycles shop in Riverside, California. Word quickly spread to the BMX publications and photographers about this kid who was blasting huge aerials; unheard of at the time.

Jeff was pushing the limits of both the parks and his bike, often obliterating both simultaneously. Teaming up with Jeff Bottema, they built the most indestructible BMX fork ever. Featured on the cover of Bicycle Motocross Action in May 1981 - with a photo-feature inside, as well as appearing on the cover of ACTION NOW in December of 1980 and ‘81, Action Now would run a feature article on the Kid from Riverside who was pushing the boundaries on a BMX bike. 

Watson was way ahead of his time, but he did inspire and influence the entire first generation of skatepark and ramp riders of the mid-80's first saw the potential of pushing the limits, by watching Jeff Watson.


MODERN ERA FREESTYLE :: Jay Miron

 

Known world-wide as the “CANADIAN BEAST,” JAY MIRON would become one of the most versatile freestyle riders on the scene - competing in Flatland, Vert, Dirt, and Street events. His time in freestyle spanned from the early outlaw contests, like Hoffman’s CFB series and BS events, up to the televised superstar era of X-Games, Gravity Games and Dew Tours. And thanks to his technical riding style, Jay was always one to watch.

In the end, Jay won nine X-Games medals in Vert and Park, with a Gold medal in the first ever X-Games dirt event. He won multiple Gravity Games medals and is a multi-time World BMX Champion. But most of all, he was the first to land a Double Backflip on a BMX bike and first to land a 540 tail whip on vert. In all, Miron is credited with inventing more than 30 tricks. 

Following his retirement from competition, Jay founded his own Canadian BMX brand - MacNeil Bikes, and started his own distribution company named Ten Pack. He’d publish his own magazine - CHASE BMX, and would also take on the role of event promoter, organizing his own Canadian contest series - the Metro Jam. But perhaps his most influential and long-lasting contribution to the BMX industry would be co-creating the Pivotal saddle; eliminating once and for all the inferior 70’s seat guts. 

From his riding to manufacturing to putting on contests, Miron has done it all - and done it at the highest level. His achievements and contributions to our sport are immeasurable!


A new BMX Hall of Fame category for 2024 is the Track Operator plaque; where USA BMX will honor and induct those deserving TO's who have dedicated much of their lives to serving their BMX community. And quite appropriately, our first TO Inductee since 2008, is long-time Black Mountain BMX operator DEBBIE KELLEY - who retired at the beginning of 2024, after running the Top track in Phoenix since 1985. 

TRACK OPERATOR :: Debbie Kelley | Black Mountain BMX

Debbie and her Hall of Famer husband Pete (inducted in 1995), took over the reigns of Road Runner BMX in the mid 80's - renaming it Black Mountain, and quickly made it the go-to track that would host the annual Winter Nationals year after year. Their record-setting support of the Race for Life series was a shining example for tracks all over the country, on how to raise funds for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. 

Debbie's contagious enthusiasm, generosity, love and deep down dedication to her racers and their families, has kept her and Black Mountain going strong for more than five decades. Throughout all those years, she has been the surrogate Mom to THOUSANDS of kids - encouraging them to take on challenges beyond the BMX track. And now, she has experienced second and third generations of kids, bringing out their own family to enjoy the same thrills and spills that they did growing up. 

After hosting over 30 Winter nationals and just as many Arizona State Championships, Debbie Kelley finally made the tough decision last year, to retire from the BMX track operator position - selling the track to last year's BMX Hall of Fame inductee Bubba Harris and his good friend Karl Clark. Debbie will be the first to tell someone - while operating a BMX track can be challenging at times, the rewards of friendships that will last a lifetime are worth every minute you put into it. 


HALL OF FAME WEEKEND - SEPT. 20-22

With the BMX Hall of Fame process now complete, all that is left is the official HoF Induction ceremony that will be held in Tulsa, Ok at the home of the BMX Hall of Fame. Save the date - September 20-22! Tickets for the Hall of Fame ceremony will go on sale in July - and there will be a celebration of BMX History all three days. 

We hope you can make plans to join us for the induction of the Class of 2024!

Image Gallery

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