BMX racing is a sport unique and different than that of basketball, football, etc., and it’s an action sport which has brought one family together.
The Wergin family has been connected to BMX for years. It’s a family tradition which started with JJ Wergin.
Wergin started BMX racing when he was eight or nine years old. He did it with his family for three or four years and now he wants his kids to do the same. His two kids, Jackson and James, both raced Friday in Rhinelander.
“Once I had kids, I realized that the Rhinelander track was right here,” JJ Wergin said. “We’re more of a racing family, so I was looking for an action sport, something close that we could do. Kids are having a blast.”
One thing Wergin likes about BMX racing is all the competition it creates for his family, as well as keeping them close together.
“Competition is fun because it’s a good trainer for the kids for the real world. If they have the desire to win, then they have to practice and everything that comes along with it,” Wergin said. “When we do come to the races, we’re here as a family. We all get to race on the same race track, same event, same day, so it keeps the family close.”
But no one becomes a professional overnight. It’s all about practice and getting better, getting on the bike and having that experience.
“It’s practice. It’s seat time riding your bike,” Wergin said. “That’s all I did as a kid, that’s all I tell the kids nowadays. Just ride your bike, and have fun. Do bunny hops and try bar spins and go build a dirt jump and just hit it. Just experience.”
Not only has it been passed down through the family, but it’s also a possible future as it grows in popularity.
“It’s for sure a fun hobby. The Wergin family were racers,” Wergin said. “My dad was a racer and raced snowmobiles. He’s in the snowmobile Hall of Fame, raced at Eagle River. It’s kind of been passed down. Now we’re in it for the long haul. BMX is a college sport and it’s an Olympic sport. It’s growing in popularity and it’s a nice thing to do as a unit. All your family is involved.”
Even with all the racing and a potential future in BMX, it’s about being a part of a community of racers, always learning.
“It’s being around our friends in the community. To watch the kids progress and watch them always do their best, always pedal to the finish and having fun,” Wergin said. “No matter what, they have to learn sportsmanship, learn how to lose, learn new kills and new techniques. It’s the same thing. It’s always a family atmosphere. BMX is a family sport.”
More than anything, Wergin wants this sport to grow and get the word out there so more people can see how much learning is in this sport.
“It’s very low cost to get started. It’s having fun on their bikes, it teaches balance and coordination, you learn, you get strength. It keeps your mind sharp, it’s racing it’s competition and for me personally the kids learn responsibility. If they’ve done their best, that’s what you need to be happy with,” Wergin said. “I try to teach them that you either gonna win or learn. There’s always a learning experience and this is a great teacher. Sometimes you’re going to have to learn to be tough.”
When it comes to racing, the Wergin family will be on that track, getting faster, learning on the fly and being around family.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]