2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup Quarterfinals- M&T Bank Stadium

With over 70,000 fans (mostly donned in El Salvador and Honduras blue) making their way into M&T Bank Stadium on a hot and humid Sunday afternoon, the hanging rain clouds looking to damper the two upcoming soccer matches didn’t stand a chance. For the unsuspecting soccer fan, the heavily favored United States Men’s National Team looked like they were playing a road game, with a few specs of red jerseys being seen in the crowd.  It was obvious that El Salvador and Honduras were the home favorites over the United States and Costa Rica.

The United States ultimately won their contest, with Honduras winning the later match.

The grass field at M&T Bank Stadium looked beautiful. The Ravens Grounds crew had been cultivating and watering the field for almost a week prior to the match to make sure that the field was in prime condition for the Gold Cup.  Never mind the field or game though- I think the most exciting experience to me was before the game! On my way into the stadium I saw thousands of fans wearing the jerseys of their team, waving the flag of their nation, chanting countless pre-game war songs and enjoying pre-game rituals that many of us enjoy before attending a game. The atmosphere was electric and the smell of food being grilled were something to experience in itself.

Baltimore and M&T Bank Stadium were one of six new venues chosen to host the CONCACAF Gold Cup this year and its staff and fans did not disappoint. Not only did Baltimore prove to be an excellent location for the Gold Cup Quarterfinals, but the atmosphere surrounding M&T Bank Stadium made the fan experience one to remember.

2013 Dew Tour- Ocean City

Imagine thousands and thousands of your closest friends all together on a beautiful afternoon in Ocean City, MD cheering on local Baltimore favorite Bucky Lasek as he skated his way to victory during the Dew Tour’s Skateboard Vert finals competition. That was exactly how my Saturday was! Seeing the competition up close and personal was more impressive and amazing than anything ever on television. I was able to see all of the athlete’s true skills first hand and every flip, twist and wipe out was more dramatic than the next. A few other events that were held throughout the weekend were the BMX Street Session, Skateboard Legends Bowl Final, the Skateboard Street Session, BMX Flatland Final, BMX Park Final and the Skateboard Bowl Final. Continue reading

2013 USA BMX East Coast Nationals- Severn-Danza Park

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This past weekend almost 800 BMX riders participated in the 2013 USA BMX East Coast Nationals hosted by Chesapeake BMX (Anne Arundel County). On hand to welcome the crowd of racers and spectators was our very own Terry Hasseltine, representatives from USA BMX, Rick Anthony (Director of Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks) and Kate Roth (Sports Manager for Annapolis and Anne Arundel County CVB). The event drew riders from numerous states including California, Texas, Tennessee and even a few from Canada.

Quick tip for BMX newbies like me: Races are organized in classes by age and skill levels. Each class races in a moto which is composed of a series of heat races. There are normally three (3) rounds to a moto. Each round consists of one lap around the track from start to finish. The overall winner of the moto is either determined by the aggregate finish in all three rounds or by winning a main event.

On Friday there were 68 registered motos, 185 on Saturday, and 165 on Sunday. This was the third time Chesapeake BMX has held a national event in 5 years, and it was also the largest race at Chesapeake BMX to date!

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While on a tour of the track I was given a look at the new spectator viewing area that was added around the track. Included in this viewing area were new bleachers- Chesapeake BMX was lucky to be chosen from a drawing to receive bleachers from the United States Naval Academy’s Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

I was able to see a few races including a group of 5 and under racers called ‘striders’. Racers can be as young as two years old and can continue in the sport late into adulthood. The youngest of racers who make up the 5 and under race group use bikes that don’t have pedals so they scoot along the track with their feet (imagine how many pairs of shoes they must go through in a single racing season!)

photohjkBMX proved to be a very family oriented sport, with many families having multiple members competing in different races throughout the weekend including parents. All throughout the park, large tents could be seen with families settled under them waiting for their race times to start. You also had to be careful navigating your way through the park, as there were riders in every direction you turned, either on their way to a race or heading for a little down time in between races. One thing proved to be certain; this community of racers are more than passionate and dedicated about what they do!

To find out more about Chesapeake BMX and upcoming races visit www.chesapeakebmx.com/.