Eastern Wake News

ProTown BMX wheels into Wendell March 21

Mike Mancuso, founder of ProTown BMX will perform with four other pro riders in Wendell on March 21.
Mike Mancuso, founder of ProTown BMX will perform with four other pro riders in Wendell on March 21. Courtesy Mike Mancuso

On March 21, Main Street in downtown Wendell will transform into an extreme skate park, complete with plenty of ramps to launch the pros into flips and spins and food trucks to feed observers.

Five bikers with ProTown BMX will perform, including founder and ESPN Amateur champion Mike Mancuso who has ridden in 25 countries and most major U.S. cities for the Vans Warped Tour, Gravity Games, AST Dew Tour, and X games USA, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, and Dubai, among others.

The event is free and there are two 35-minute long shows at 12 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Riders that will demonstrate include Dan Foley, Rob Darden, Alex Johann, Keith Schmidt and Mancuso.

“Johann is known for going big,” Wendell Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Polaski said. “He goes big, he crashes a lot because he goes so hard.”

After the performances, the riders will sign autographs and offer clinics to teach children various biking tricks.

Event organizers are encouraging children to bring their bikes and helmets in order to participate. For those who don’t have bikes or helmets, Mancuso said there may be extras available.

Mancuso said that they might teach participants not only how to pedal standing up but also how to use basic jumps and ramps, depending on skill level.

Polaski brought the idea to Wendell after building relationships with BMXers in the Greenville area, the so-called BMX capital of the world. He hosted similar shows at the Farmville Dogwood Festival when he worked as recreation director for that town.

“We’re trying to increase foot traffic downtown and introduce a non-ball program into Wendell,” Polaski said. “There are so many kids in the town who aren’t interested in ball, but more extreme sports like biking and skating.”

The event is also unique, and organizers are hoping that it will attract people from surrounding towns.

The Wendell Parks and Recreation department submitted a master plan for the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant early last month that includes an extreme park for bikers and skaters.

Polaski said that if the town receives the grant, he would like to see it built in two or three years. An extreme park was popular in public surveys, he has noted in the past.

“My intention (for the show) is having a lot of people out there to show there’s interest for that kind of sport,” Polaski said. “People are using that kind of park, and coming out for this.”

Organizers have also set March 27 as a rain date if needed.