The first weekend of March saw the BMX Union Cycliste Internationale Lone Star Nationals races take place in Houston.
One Bowie resident did well enough to qualify for the nationals race event in May, 16-year-old Jacelyn Reno. The Bowie High School student finished among the top eight racers in the United States in the 17-24 age range.
It is her second time qualifying for the national race, her first time coming two years ago in 2017 when it was in America for the first time in 20 years. She got knocked out in the quaterfinals and finished among the top 32 riders in her age division in the world.
Jacelyn likes to say she was born into the sport of BMX.
“Well my dad actually raced when he was younger and he got my older siblings into it so ever since I was two weeks old I have been going out to the track,” Jacelyn said.
Besides being born into the sport, she was also born into her team. The team her father Sean started, Reno Racing, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. While it started with just riders, it from the Fort Worth area now includes riders from not only different states, but riders from England and Ireland as well.
“When her brothers and sisters started, there were local teams and national teams, but none of them had any spots for my kids or wasn’t interested in them,” Sean said. “I said well, I’ll start my own team.”
One older sibling, sister Shealen, makes her living as a professional BMX racer after a distinguished amateur record filled with multiple national titles. She has been a huge factor in helping Jacelyn within the sport.
“She kind of led the way for me,” Jacelyn said. “She has helped me. Everything I have achieved, she has definitely been my mentor through it all. I’ve been kind of her mini-me since I was itty-bitty. She practically trained me into a prodigy of her because she is pretty good.”
One of Jacelyn’s top accomplishments recently came at a local pro-am race, where professional riders raced with the amateurs. There Jacelyn beat Shealen for the first time in front of everyone.
“It definitely didn’t make her too happy, but it really helped me a lot to gain some confidence and learned nothing is impossible.”
Right now Jacelyn is enjoying her continued ascension in the world of BMX racing. If it can one day lead to a professional career and even an Olympic medal like her sister Shaelen is pursuing, that would be great, but Jacelyn is carving her own path.
“The whole school is backing me in this journey and I think it’s really cool that my high school is proud and that my town will be proud to have a world championship qualifier coming from Bowie,” Jacelyn said.
To read the full story, pick up a copy of the weekend edition of the Bowie News.