By: Sarah Snyder
MIDLAND - It all started with a few big piles of dirt, but it's shaping up to be a one-of-a-kind park for anyone wanting a wild ride. The first BMX park to open in Midland in a decade is just about finished and city park officials say it's all because of the volunteers who helped out.
"This is such a neat movement because there are so many people around here who are willing to put their time and effort into it and see the need and benefit it has for the entire community," Ben Telesca, with the Midland Parks and Recreation Department, said.
One of those volunteers is Ray Lopez. He works for UPS, but spends his days off, helping finish up work at the track.
"The track operator he needs help - every little bit he can get," Ray Lopez, BMX Rider/Volunteer said. "So we're just helping out. We've been without for maybe 10 years. It's long overdue."
Midland's only BMX track sits on Reyes Mashburn Park, just off Fairgrounds, and riders say, volunteers and local businesses hand-built every course, mound, and jump.
"Packing it down, maintaining it, teaching other people who come out here how to be safe on it, so it's been a really neat thing," Telesca said.
"Heart throbbing," 14-year-old Rider, Alex Munoz, said. "You're just thinking of what to do, peddling as fast as you can - a rush - the thrill of it."
"I'll be out here 3-4 days, a week maybe," Lopez said.
It's been four months in the making and drawing in everyone from a five-year-old rider to cyclists in their 60's.
"We used to go out of town a lot to races, now we get to do our thing here," Lopez said.
And even with a few wipe-outs, the riders say this park is creating a new type of adventure for West Texas families.
"The number of parents that have been coming out with their kids, individuals my age or older, who perhaps raced in another life, are bringing their kids out here and riding with them," Telesca said.
These cyclists have already formed the West Texas BMX Association. They say right now they're still looking for donations and volunteers. The group is planning their first race on February 13th. It will be a free event open to anyone.