Aug 9, 2012 12:25 PM

Local BMX riders hope Olympic fever brings bigger events to Tucson

TUCSON- Thousands of people traveled to London for the Olympic Games and each one is contributing to that city's economy by eating at local restaurants and staying at hotels. It is business many cities would love to have. Tucson may not be on the short list to host the Olympics, but there is a push to bring more sporting events to the area.

At Desert Sunset BMX you are never too old or young to start, and Tucson is full of some talented BMX riders.

"We've got some other riders in town that are now elite or junior elite level racers," said Desert Sunset BMX Owner Benjamin Chandler.

Those riders include Corben Sarrah, an alternate in the Olympic Games. If he gets a chance, you can bet his Tucson family will be cheering him on like they do at nationals.

"They say 'Tucson' and we are always louder than entire states, just our city sitting together," said Chandler.

With that enthusiasm the Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau is working with local organizers to bring national events to the area.

"In the case of the USA BMX National Championships, we create a venue where not only our local athletes can play and compete in a national championship, but we also bring in out-of-town visitors as well," said Vincent Trinidad, director of Tucson Sports with the Tucson Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

Those visitors will spend money on Tucson businesses.

"Every year we do at least $20 million of business in amateur athletics," said Trinidad. "This year we did about $26 million."

That's millions pumped back into the economy and more importantly, giving recognition to some very talented athletes.

"You take the desires and what the local organizers are doing, give them a national championship, these kids can do a lot just having that vision," Trinidad said. "Not only saying 'I want to do this championship,' but 'I want to do the next one and the next one, and maybe even the Olympics.'"

A possibility you cannot put a price on.

Tucson will host the BMX Championships this weekend, featuring some of the best riders in the country.


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