Kim Dominick recalls the time her son, Colin, received a Mongoose bicycle for his eighth birthday. With the bike came a special offer for a free 30-day membership to a local track, which happened to be Cedar BMX in Clarks Summit.
When they got to the track, Kim saw how long it was and didn’t think Colin would enjoy it. But three hours later, she said she and her husband, Nick, couldn’t get their son off of the bike, something they still haven’t been able to do to this day.
Colin, a 14-year-old freshman at Lackawanna Trail, is a four-time Pennsylvania state BMX champion. Last year, he took his talents to the national circuit, and his success there has resulted in a No. 15 national ranking by USABMX.com for his age group.
“I just started doing it for the fun of it and hanging out with my friends at the track,” Colin said. “But as I was getting better, I liked competing more and more.”
Growing up, Colin participated in and enjoyed multiple sports, including baseball, football and soccer. But after he got his Mongoose and started getting more interested in BMX, Kim noticed his son’s sports priorities begin to change.
“He started with that bike we got him for his birthday, and he started winning,” she said. “He fell in love with the sport — he found his passion.”
Colin started racing at local events when he was nine. After finding success in that circuit, he moved on to state competition. But the results didn’t change.
As he progressed in each age group over the last four years, Colin kept ending each season as state champion, which is determined by points accumulated throughout the year from competing in a certain amount of races.
While he was dominating the state circuit, he also competed in some national races. But in 2009 Colin was faced with a dilemma.
He was a member of the minor league Christy Mathewson all-star baseball team. At the same, the First State Nationals were being held in Delaware.
“I told him he had to go to his baseball game because it’s a team thing,” Kim said. “The following year, he told me he didn’t want to do baseball (anymore).”
With his focus solely on BMX, Colin competed in 10 national events last year and made the finals in each one. He reached the podium six times, finishing in second and third place three times each.
But his hard work didn’t come to fruition until his final event of the season. Over Thanksgiving weekend, Colin competed in the USA BMX Grand National in Tulsa, Okla.
With a solid performance over the two-day event, Colin earned the No. 15 ranking among 14-year-olds in the country.
“It was just a huge race, there were so many kids and I did really well,” he recalled. “It was a great feeling (when I found out my ranking).”
The BMX season runs Jan. 1 through Dec. 15. But living in Northeast Pennsylvania has its disadvantages. There are national races every week, but Colin likely won’t start his season until April or May because of the cold weather. By that time, his main competition — those who live in warmer climates — will have had a three- or four-month head start.
But it doesn’t bother him that much. In fact, he said that makes him take more pride in his national standing.
“I do feel a little bit of a disadvantage because they get to race all year,” he said. “I kind of get out of the racing mode a little bit, and then I have to work a little bit harder to get back into my skills.
“But I think (my ranking) shows that I work harder because they have an advantage, and I have to work for my position in there.”
When he can, Colin, a National Junior Honor Society member, said he will find a way to keep active on the bike. He recently made a trip to Cranx Indoor and Outdoor Bike and Sports Park in Syracuse to practice.
Colin has competed in Ohio, Pittsburgh, Delaware and Maryland. He said he hopes to return to those places and also compete in new venues, including a race in Canada.
Although it’ll be a new season, succeeding at the highest level and the thrill that BMX provides him doesn’t get old.
“(This season) I hope I get another national position,” he said. “I hope to do this as long as I can. “I love it.