Ever since the three BMX parks Scott Sonnier grew up racing at in the Lafayette area were shut down, he has been contemplating opening his own, and early next year his dream will become a reality.
With the backing of Cajun BMX, a nonprofit organization Sonnier serves as president for, and the Parks and Recreation Department in Lafayette, Lafayette’s new BMX park is set to open early next year.
“I could have done this on my personal property, but I never wanted this to be Scott’s park, I always wanted this to be Lafayette’s BMX Park, that way if and when I move on, the park can live on” said Sonnier.
Sonnier wants to provide a physically active outlet for kids who may not excel at more traditional sports.
“You look at the Michael Phelps of the world, and that’s not a stick and ball sport, but you need a swimming pool to do it,” said Sonnier. “Lance Armstrong was great on a bicycle, but he always talks about how he was never good at more traditional sports.”
While Sonnier is keen on bringing BMX back to the community, it is a passion that runs throughout every part of his life.
“I’m not one of those guys who watches TV on the weekend, I travel with my family to races,” said Sonnier. “I have a nine-year-old named Tyler and a 13-year-old named Jacques, and we all race in our age group at these competitions, it has always been a passion of mine.”
The sport is very physically engaging and according to Sonnier, the calorie burn is comparable to a 1200-meter sprint on a bike.
“It’s the same mentality you would have when doing a 100-meter dash exercise,” said Sonnier. “It’s very quick and it’s 40-60 seconds in duration, but it’s a high level of frequency.”
The organization operates under the regulations of USA BMX, and those who want to use the track will pay a $60 annual membership fee, $10 per race and a few dollars per practice.
Training clinics will be offered at the track, and new members are encouraged to go through a new member training which includes learning the fundamentals of the track, such as getting into the gate, how to start, taking turns, making jumps and other safe riding basics.
While the opening of the track will remain on schedule there are some needs the park has that will limit its operations in the beginning.
Currently the park does not have lights so it will operate on a limited schedule until they are acquired or donated
“Right now, we don’t have any lights so we’re going to be limited to the winter months especially when the time changes,” said Sonnier. “We will be racing on Sundays at this point and when the time changes back we’re going to race twice a week and practice two to three times a week as well.”
Every rider will be required to wear a helmet and cover their elbows and knees at all times on the track.
Sonnier’s goal is not only to open a local park where he can practice his passion, but to create a place for kids who may not feel like they fit in because they don’t play more traditional sports.
“I want to bring back an active sport that the community hasn’t seen in a while, and introduce something I think is fun and physically active,” said Sonnier. “My ultimate goal is to give a place to the kids who don’t feel part of the community because they don’t play stick and ball sports.”