Brothers on bikes keep family connected
THESE brothers aren’t familiar with a leisurely bike ride through the park.
When it comes to fresh air, it has to do with how much they can put between their wheels and the ground.
Seventeen-year-old Joey Smith and his 13-year-old brother, Jonathon, are two of the top BMX riders at the Columbus track, and their 7-year-old brother, Jakob, is not far behind.
Joey got the BMX wheels turning when he was 10 years and his brothers followed along. He was the Indiana State Champion at the expert level in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, and he qualified for the 2013 World BMX Championship but didn’t attend because it was conducted in New Zealand.
“Everything I have learned so far about racing has come from him,” Jonathon Smith said about his older brother. “He gives me a lot of great advice and I would not be as good without it.”
Jonathon Smith, a three-time state champion (2012-14) in the intermediate division and a 2014 intermediate national champion, was ready to roll from his very first race at age 7.
“I was really nervous starting right out from the gate,” Jonathan Smith said. “Going down that first hill, I thought I was going to wreck. But I kept my feet up and just went straight and I eventually won the race.”
While the landings always haven’t been smooth, they have been fun.
“I don’t see myself quitting this anytime soon,” said Joey Smith, who will be a senior next semester at Columbus East. “I’m not doing it to be the best or to win national titles every year. I just like to do it for fun and, hopefully, I can pass it down to my kids someday. I would like to get them involved with the sport.”
By the time Jakob is a senior in high school, he will be an old veteran of BMX racing. He started at the age of 5.
He has some learning to do, though, before he can challenge his more established brothers.
“Those two (Joey and Jonathan Smith) are so close with each other and they share a special bond,” said their mom, Kelly Smith. “Even when they are not racing, they are always hanging out with each other all the time.”
All three brothers compete weekly at the local track and the Smith family travels to BMX events in places such as Indianapolis, Louisville and Cincinnati. The boys have competed in the BMX Grand National event in Tulsa.
“The most exciting trips are the ones that are farthest away,” said the boys’ father, Joseph Smith. “It is like a mini-vacation for all of us five or six times a year. It is a great way to bond with your kids because ours are spending time with us.”
It truly has become a family affair. Their father is the track announcer and their mom works race registration and is a member of the Columbus BMX board. When they are on the road, the parents even volunteer at other tracks to help things run smoother.
“It is always good to help out at other events because families that come out to race here in Columbus always help us out,” Joseph Smith said. “It is nice to give back to them. It is really a big family sport.”
“It’s great to have my parents support us through the wins and losses and through the bumps and bruises,” Joey Smith said. “They are always there by our side. Our whole family has been a part of Columbus BMX for years.”
Article published by The Republic on July 10, 2015