Jerrick Decker is eight years old. That means he’s been riding and racing BMX bikes for six years.
“I remember winning one of the Nationals (races) in Canada and got a trophy that was bigger than me,” said Jerrick, a 3rd grader at C.R. Weeks.
Jerrick’s older brother Deemer didn’t get quite the head start of the sport Jerrick did.
“I started riding a bike when I was three and started racing around seven,” said Deemer, a junior at Windsor Central High School.
The years of riding keep paying off for Jerrick, Deemer and their family as Deemer placed number on in the state in 16-year-old 24" cruiser class and third in 16-year-old expert class at the New York championships in Shoreham, Long Island on September 24.
Jerrick placed 2nd in 8-year-old cruiser class and 5th in 8-year-old expert class. Their brother Garrison Calta, a 7th grader at Windsor Central Middle School, finished second in New York State in the 24" 12-year-old cruiser class and sixth in 12-year-old expert. The three brothers race on the Ridin’ Revolutions team with their cousin, Corbin Evans, and their dad, Rick Decker.
The family connections to racing run deep. Rick and Margaret Decker own the Champion BMX track in Owego. Aliceon Calta, a 2018 Windsor CHS graduate, raced throughout her childhood. Garrison has been racing since he was eight years old.
“When the gate drops and you fly down, it’s one of the best feelings,” said Calta. “The people that you meet and the excitement that you have is just awesome.”
Deemer agrees that the people on the BMX circuit help make the experience rewarding.
“BMX is more like a whole family. Everyone knows each other, even if you’re not a track operator’s kid. They’ll hold the gate for you if they know you’re going to be late,” said Deemer.
So, as the older brother on his own team, does he give advice to Garrison and Jerrick?
“Sometimes, but they don’t normally listen,” said Deemer. “The new riders and even some of the older ones are more open. I’ll say, ‘Hey, maybe you should have your pedal up a little bit more.’”
Deemer, who missed five months of the season with a broken collarbone last year, wants to improve on his 2017 16th-place finish at the Grand Nationals.
“I want to get at least 12th. If I could have gotten 12th last year, I would have moved on to the semis,” said Deemer.
This year’s Grand Nationals are November 22-25 in Tulsa, OK.