A few short months ago I, Eric Jones, owner/team manager of A&E Racing, received a phone call from Tilda Philpot, executive director of the Shelby County Historical Society. She had a crazy idea in her head and asked me to come to a meeting. That meeting contained several other people with the same question: what are we doing here? As Tilda begin to explain her plan, ideas from some of the rest of the committee started to fly around and a plan started to take place. Fast forward a little bit, and I am in charge of putting on a bike rodeo/demonstration in the park.
I did what any good leader would do and started calling some friends. I called Dave Nagel, owner operator of Nagel Excavating, and told him what we were planning. He said, “Count me in. I will donate some dirt and equipment.” I called Josh Smith, Pro BMX racer and team manager of Schooled U BMX team. He said, “Get the dirt and I will help you build a small track.” I then called Officer Mike McRill of the Sidney Police Department (SPD) and he said he would send some bike officers down. On Monday afternoon, June 25, Nagel Excavating dropped off some equipment and started hauling in some dirt. Approximately 30 truck loads and 600 tons later, we had a huge pile of dirt to work with. Unfortunately, on Tuesday it became a down pour and continued to rain on Wednesday, turning our pile of dirt into a pile of mud. Late Thursday afternoon, Josh Smith and I began to work with the dirt and mud to form a track. Josh operated the skid loader, while I operated the roller. With the dirt still being wet, we called upon Nagel Excavating again to bring in some dry dirt. When we arrived Friday afternoon, the dirt had begun to dry and Nagel Excavating had dropped off a couple loads of dry dirt. By the end of late Friday evening we had moved, shoveled and rolled the dirt into a small BMX track.
Early Saturday morning I went down to the park to see many others starting to set up displays. With the help of my wife, Amy Jones, my dad, Jim Jones, and my two sons, Ethan and Eli Jones, we began to set up the A&E Racing canopies, bike racks, etc. Josh Smith, his wife Chelsea, and his two sons, Brayden and Devan, showed up and started setting up the Schooled U camp. At 10 a.m. it began. Families started to show up, people were asking questions, kids and adults were riding the track, and the smiles and laughter could be heard and seen on everyone’s faces. We had all ages of boys, girls and adults on the track. SPD showed up on their bikes with handfuls of certificates for anyone who made a lap on the track. It wasn’t long before the officers took some laps. We also got Sidney Park Ranger Justin Aselage and Duane Gaier, director of Sidney Parks & Recreation, on the track. Josh Smith, his wife Chelsea, and my wife Amy all played a huge part in helping all the kids with bikes and helmets all day long. I even saw our children helping other children throughout the day. It was great to see the community come together and have such an awesome time.
Lastly, I would like to thank everyone that made this possible: Tilda Philpot, Dave Nagel, Josh Smith, Chelsea Smith, Amy Jones, Jim Jones, Duane Gaier, Justin Aselage, Sidney Police Department, 70th Anniversary Tawawa Park Committee.
Eric Jones is the owner and team manager of A&E Racing. He resides in Sidney.