Kali Streeter is just 12 years old, but has been able to see all parts of the United States because of the sport she loves doing. Streeter, who lives in Blaine, got into BMX racing when she was around six, and has quickly elevated to a top racer in her age group.
She has qualified for the UCI World Championships in South Carolina at the end of July. The state is just another stop for Streeter, who last year traveled to 12 national events from Oregon to Texas to Louisiana to Kentucky and more.
Streeter’s father, Jim, rac
ed when he was younger. He volunteered at area tracks and introduced Kali to the sport. At first, she just watched and didn’t want any part of it. After deciding to give it a shot, she’s been hooked ever since.
“For this sport you meet a lot of new friends,” Kali said. “It’s fun to meet them and race them. I really like racing other people.”
Kali practices at Rum River BMX in Isanti around five times a week. She gets some of the best training in the U.S., as the track has been ranked No. 1 in the nation two years in a row.
“I’m mostly focusing on gates and getting out of the gate and getting to top speed as quick as possible,” Kali said.
The races are just like you’d see in motocross, except on bikes. The difference is the start is on an elevated hill with a gate. But all the jumps and turns on the track are similar in BMX racing, which is an Olympic sport.
“If you look at some of the pictures and see the look on her face, it’s sheer determination,” Jim said. “It’s not an easy sport. It’s not just speed and endurance, it’s balance. They are clipped into their pedals. So when they crash, a lot of the times the bikes go with them.”
Between 3,000-4,000 riders from all across the world are expected to be at the World Championships. The sport has a wide age range, from three years old to a 72-year-old who still races at the national level.
“It’s hard to tell right now,” Kali said on how she feels leading up to the big event. “Most likely it will be just another race for me once I get out there … I’m looking forward to actually experiencing my first time at worlds. I’m both excited and nervous I’d say.”
Right now, she is No. 7 in the nation on her class bike and No. 9 on her cruiser. Class bikes have 20-inch wheels and cruisers have 24-inch.
The sport continues to grow, especially at the youth level. More than 40 racers, ranging from ages 6-40, will represent Minnesota at the World Championships.
“It’s growing, no doubt,” Jim said. “There’s a lot of programs around here. We’re promoting it in schools and everything.”
With all the travel involved, Jim said they are still looking for sponsors to support Kali and her trip. Entry fees for the world races are much more expensive than national races, along with official jersey and pants costs. Interest in sponsoring Kali can be emailed to Jim at [email protected]