EVANSVILLE, In. (WEHT) — “I did my first BMX race on Mother’s Day in 1988. Our son, who is now 42, was 11 at the time. And he said, ‘you know, Mom? You’re out here telling me what I need to do. If you think this is so easy, why don’t you do it?!”
So that is exactly what Kittie Weston-Knauer did.
“I’ve been riding now going on 31 years!”
That makes Kittie 71, and the oldest female BMX rider in the United States.
“When I got into this sport, I was racing with men. It’s not that women didn’t want to race. It’s just that there weren’t any classes for women.”
Blazing trails on her bike, Kittie navigated the obstacles.
“I said look. We women, we would like to have our own cruiser class.”
Because of Kittie and the women who ride beside her, there is a new generation of trailblazers.
“I always liked competing against the boys, and beating the boys,” said Factory Velocity BMX rider Ashley Drinkard. “It’s a boy-dominated sport, and I had to come dominate the boys.”
“For me, it was beating the men,” says Weston-Knauer. “My husband used to race also, okay? And at the end of the year… my number for the year was smaller than his number. Which is what you want. A smaller number.”
But, she says, men that she raced were also some of her biggest supporters off the track.
“There are men who come to me and say … ‘I love what you’re doing.’ […] “I gained the utmost respect from those men. And they worked with us, so we could now have a women’s class.”
That’s why it’s possible for women like Ashley to say “Game On!”
“You should definitely ride a bike and beat the boys, because it makes them upset and we’re better at it.”
As for Kittie, well, she’s got her own fan club.
“Miss Kittie! You’re an inspiration!”
And she will always be on track, keeping the competition on their toes.
“You best be believing that they’re gonna make sure that I finish behind them. And every now and then, if they blow it! I do finish in front of ’em!”