The ABA claims that 20% of all BMXers are female; still, it is very much a boy's world. The magazine BMX Action, founded in 1976, continues to refer to its readers as "dudes." BMX's top female, three-time national champion Cheri Elliott, recently quit the sport because her sponsor, Skyway Recreation, stopped backing her team in order to finance a squad of male freestylers.
The freestyle stunt-bike, a BMX mutation, is the hot bike of the '80s. Freestylers perform medleys of "endoes" (balancing on a single wheel), "pogos" (jumps done while balancing on either the front or back wheel) and "tabletops" (jumps in which the rider becomes parallel to the ground). BMX purists scoff at freestyling as just an exhibitionist fad. Nevertheless, freestyle exhibitions drew big crowds at the Grandnationals.
A gypsy encampment of RVs fanned out around Myriad like an automotive flea market. A couple of divorced fathers and their sons rolled up in a motor home with the words TERMITE, RAD and NO WIMPS splashed on its windows in red, yellow and green paint. " 'No Wimps' is one of my mottoes," explained six-year-old Termite Clelland. "The other is 'No Fat Chicks.' "
Inside, Termite and his pal C-Bone Trawick played old maid and ate Fritos. Termite was the one with the brown ducktail; C-Bone, the blond rattail. They're neighbors back home in Arlington, Texas, and race together every weekend at a track in Fort Worth.
While most of the other BMX families were having an ABA-organized communal Thanksgiving feed at a Holiday Inn, the boys and their dads carved up a turkey in their motorized bunkhouse. "We made Termite and C-Bone a deal," said Tom Clelland, Termite's dad, "If they qualified for the semis, they could split a Coors Light."
But the victory beer was still on ice after Termite blew his first two motos. "I get off so much watching Termite," said Tom, consoling his sobbing son. "I'm not only his father, I'm his coach and his buddy. Sometimes I feel like I'm out there on the bike with him."
Termite just brushed aside some tears and said, "Get real, Dad."