In this undated photo, (from left) siblings Elizabeth, Charles and Joshua Hoffert celebrate after a BMX racing tournament in Tulsa, Okla. The family enjoys the sport together. (Photo submitted)
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- “Riders, watch the gates.”
This familiar phrase is for BMX racers who are lined up in position on top of a hill waiting for the race to begin. Once it drops, racers begin a journey down a course which covers between 900 and 1,300 feet and includes a variety of berm turns, rollers and straights as they try to reach the finish line.
For a trio of Murfreesboro siblings, the Hofferts, it has been a quick learning experience.
During the Thanksgiving holiday, 7-year-old Charles, 10-year-old Elizabeth and 14-year-old Joshua, along with their father John Hoffert, made the long trip to Tulsa, Okla., for the 2013 Race of Champions and BMX Grand Nationals.
It is one of the top BMX racing events in the nation every year. By the end of the weekend, the family brought back several trophies from both events.
“It has been fun because all of the family is at the track,” John Hoffert said. “We get along so well, and everyone helps each other at the races.”
By the end of the weekend, Joshua Hoffert finished first in both races racing in the 14 Novice class, while Charles Hoffert was fourth in both races in the 7 Novice class. Elizabeth Hoffert competed in the 10 Novice class, but she missed making the final round.
“I was so proud of them and to watch them do so good was amazing,” he said.
The trio has become fast learners of the sport.
Each of them only started in June.
Joshua Hoffert was the first one who wanted to get involved, and then his younger brother and sister decided to join the sport also after watching him race.
“It is fun, and I like doing it,” he said. “My family loves doing it. It’s just cool to watch other people, so you can learn from them.”
Besides the Grand Nationals, the Hofferts has also competed in BMX racing events in Jackson, Tenn., and their home track in Nashville.
During the Tennessee state series this season, Charlie Hoffert placed first in his division, while his older placed fourth in his division.
Each week during the season, which just ended for the year, the family heads to the Music City BMX track to practice.
They work on every part of the race, including getting out of the gates first and working on mastering the different parts of the track.
“You just got to snap out of the gates fast and get out front so you do not get behind everybody,” Joshua Hoffert said.
Even though the trio has been racing for a short time, two of them have already earned nicknames Charles Hoffert is known as “In Charge,” and Elizabeth Hoffert is referred to as “Bizy Lizzy” by the Music City BMX announcer.
“We liked it, so we kept it,” John Hoffert said. “I told them you cannot make your own nickname. Someone has to give it to you. They really like them.”
They family is now taking the next couple of months off before heading to their next race, the Bluegrass
Nationals in Louisville in February.