WEST PORTSMOUTH — The weather could not keep people home when it came to the opening of the new Velosolutions Red Bull Pump Track opening at Earl Thomas Conley Park Saturday.
Despite the rain, residents and riders attended the grand opening to either enjoy watching people try out the track or try the track out themselves. Young and old, local people and people from far away came to Scioto County for the opening event.
“It’s just a cool track,” Chamber Bohannan said after a bike ride on the new track. “It’s fun to get out here and ride and have fun. I live in Kentucky and we drove over here. I will come back again.”
“Awe, sweet, for sure, most definitely,” Brandon Corey said who rode down to the track from Washington Courthouse. His friend Tyler Schaeffer also drove down with him and he said, “The closest one before this was five hours away in Johnson City and we’ve driven to St. Louis to do the Red Bull Ball of Fire too. We’ve been to the Charlotte area qualifier and to Tallahassee, we’ve traveled everywhere. They can hold an event here because it’s qualified, there is a sign posted at top of the track that states they are qualified.”
Speaking with Shannon Wilson, parent of one of the riders Boyce Jordan who is 13 from Lucasville, said she brought her son here and she said, “Oh yes, he loves to ride and couldn’t wait. We go to an inside track in Dayton, but it’s not like this. Sean Mefford who was also with Boyce said, “We’ve been here since 10. He loves this, he’s got a dirt bike, but he would rather do this.”
He also said that he has porta-potties and he is down at the park all the time. “I’ve actually seen this thing in progress. They have been working hard to get it done and the weather has not been very cooperative with them. I think it’s awesome, it’s great!”
“I work for Velosolutions and we just travel around building the tracks. Your city (Scioto County Commissioners) and Somba and everyone got together and we just come and build them,” James Stevenson, one of the builders of the track said. “It’s awesome, and I love to ride on them. We have to test them beforehand, each crew of the people who work for us all ride. And they are really good at riding, so they know what’s supposed to be and what isn’t supposed to be. We have a plan that the cities pick and we make that plan and if we can make it better, we make it better. This one we made better. This is a really nice one. This is the first Red Bull certified built in Ohio.”
Tommy Zulla who was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio is the 2019 World Pump Track Champion. He said that his parents grew up at the roller skating rink, “I grew up at the rink and I think it has a little to do with my leg strength nowadays. I am an ambassador for Velasolutions and Pump for Peace, these tracks are made for pumping for the kids to learn skills by pumping. We raise funds for Pump for Peace for third world countries where they can’t raise any money, we put some in Africa and other countries and it’s really fun to be a part of that. In 2019, I was lucky enough to go to Switzerland to the World Championship and I became the World Champion.”
Zulla talked about how he got started in pumping, “My dad fished, hunted, did motocross, four-wheelers, so we did just a little bit of everything. In the winter in Ohio, we did indoor BMX track and I would go there to practice in the winter. I remember being a young kid and telling him I really like this, this is fun and here I am, this is my job and I’m pretty lucky. They put a little bit of love into this track, so it’s really cool. Look at the kids and parents out here smiling. They would probably be inside playing video games, let’s get them outside being active.”
Scottie Powell, Scioto County Commissioner talked about the track opening.
“Saturday beat all of our expectations, we knew we had something special, we knew it was something that the community would embrace, even if they didn’t know what it was while it was being built, people were curious and excited. We knew it was big because we had people from Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati asking, ‘hey when is this going to be done?’ But on the day of the event, to see all the kids and the parents literally just stand around this track circle and just watch and enjoy it, I don’t know if I’ve seen that many kids on bicycles anywhere in Scioto County in my 38 years of living here,” Powell said. “It was something awesome to see and yesterday, Sunday, it was still packed. I think we have a real jewel there. What was heartbreaking, was watching the parents making their kids leave after three or four hours out there. We saw a couple of tears, they were happy tears, but sad that they had to go home eventually.”
Powell said they saw one little one who was three and he was out there from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We did this for the kids, we did this for recreation. the biggest takeaway was there were people of all ages out there from three years old to someone who was up in their 70’s. It was nice just to see the community come together for something so positive, so pure, that we’re gonna get a lot of use out of it,” Powell said. “It’s one of the many things that we’re working on at the Commissioners to expand recreation to enhance the lifestyle of our citizens.” He also said that with Somba building the mountain bike paths and with this track,it only builds on the momentum. “We were so thrilled to see people come out even in a little bit of drizzle it didn’t deter anybody.”
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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