By Mickey Winfield: PNT staff writer
Engines were humming and bikes were catching big air Saturday night, as the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds’ Special Events Arena played host to the annual Cycle City Arenacross.
Nearly 300 riders from all around the region competed in 18 classes. According to Tod Hammock, manager of Cycle City Promotions, that number is up about 30 percent from last year.
Hammock also said it took about two days and five workers to transform the tame, level red dirt of the arena into the wild, unforgiving terrain of Arenacross, and the riders loved every square inch of it.
Amateur rider Justin Serowiez, 17, is from Alamogordo, and has been riding since he was 8 years old.
“(It’s) just the adrenaline rush it gives you just knowing that you’re on the line with like 40 other guys all wanting the same place,” Serowiez said. “I’ve won trophies as big as me.”
“My mom doesn’t like it at all,” Serowiez said. “My dad is the only one that really supports me. He buys me new bikes every year and buys me gear.”
Serowiez says his mom never tries to stop him from racing; she just never watches him.
“It’s OK because she gets scared,” Serowiez said. “Even when she does come, she just never watches me.”
Saturday’s Fair Arenacross was Portales 12-year-old Blane Knuckles’ first time on his bike in competition, and his mom and grandma were sitting anxiously in the stands.
“It’s exciting, but I’m a little nervous because this is the first time he’s ever raced,” Knuckles’ mom, Suzy Knuckles, said. “If this is what he enjoys doing, I’ll support him.”
“I just hope he doesn’t break anything,” Blane’s grandma, Joann, quipped.
Sophia Finch, 16, hails from El Paso, Texas, and has been riding for about a year.
“I like the adrenaline,” Finch said. “I got hurt once so bad — I hurt my back.”
Finch’s dad supports his girl in a sport dominated by boys.
“My dad’s all for it,” she said. “I just like the adrenaline and going out on the line racing guys.”
Lane Brown, 21, is a novice rider from Artesia and has been riding bikes for about two years.
“(I like) everything about it. It’s something fun to do,” Lane said.
Brown says he knows his parents worry about him racing.
“I’m sure (they worry),” Brown said. “It’s dangerous.”
Tanner Faver, 12, Jay Faust, 10, and James Kratzer, 12, all from Portales, were just three of hundreds of Roosevelt County fairgoers who attended the event.
“It’s exciting, lots of noise,” Faver said.
“It’s fun and I’ve been thinking about doing it, so it’s nice to come out and see what they’re doing,” Kratzer said.