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Sprockids Turn Thousands Of Kids On To Mountain Biking
Sprockids Turn Thousands Of Kids On To Mountain BikingOver the course of ten days the Sprockids/IMBA group presented the world of mountain biking to thousands of young people at the International Boy Scouts Jamboree held at Fort AP Hill Virginia. The Jamboree is held every four years bringing together 40,000 young people from around the world.

So how does one from the West Coast of Canada end up being invited to such an extravaganza? Never having been a scout, and when it comes right down to it I was never very good at tying fancy knots, it was rather strange to find myself catapulted into the land of merit badges, and the three fingered salute. All this came about when the US Bureau of Land Management contacted Judd de Vall of IMBA about getting IMBA and Sprockids involved in their exhibit. So there we were, four mountain bikers among the dinosaur bones, the adobe brick building exhibit, plant display, and burning house exhibit. Laurie Short and myself traveled from the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia to Washington D.C. where we met Mike Synder and Josh Stevenson, two trials riders from Denver and Boulder, Colorado.

Now that our merry troupe was complete we were off to Fredericksberg Virginia for the jamboree. Setting up in 97 degree weather and humidity thick enough that you became claustrophobic was not an easy task for four riders from the west. The crew from the BLM were great, supplying us with the building materials necessary to construct an awesome trials course. Each day Mike and Josh put together three awe inspiring shows to the sound of high energy music backed by Laurie and myself's commentary on the mike. Each show drew hundreds of scouts into the bike area to witness the wizardry of these riders. After each show all of us had the opportunity to talk to the scouts about the biking lifestyle and how to get get it happening in their community.

The highlight of the jamboree had to be when the Sprockids/IMBA riders were asked to perform in front of the main stage of the jamboree. All week the crowds had been building and the buzz around the jamboree was that this was one show that shouldn't be missed. The itinerary for the main stage had been set long before our group arrived on the scene, but they fit us in anyway. As we started building the course the scouts gathered and by show time there were over 1100 scouts present, with hundreds more watching from the surrounding areas. Mike and Josh laid down one of their best shows of the jamboree. The crowds were totally into it and the cheers and clapping paid tribute to their efforts. The daily jamboree newspaper did a major feature on the riders as did the local T.V. outlet.

So what does all of this mean for the mountain biking community? Well, for one this event definitely turned a lot of young people on to biking. The message was clear, all forms of biking are cool. As a young person you can make a positive difference in your community by getting out there and getting involved in trailbuilding and maintenance. Responsible riding, in all its forms is crucial if we want to continue to enjoy continued access to our forests. We shared a lot of ideas and thoughts with the crew from the BLM and hopefully these will materialize into future joint projects. The BLM has already asked us if we would return in four years to do it all over again. From the reactions of the participants it is clear that we need to do more of these kinds of presentations. Cycling appeals to such an enormous cross section of our younger generation, we just need to let them know what's out there and how to go about getting involved!

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