LAGUNA HILLS, CA (BRAIN)--The National BMX Hall of Fame will add four new inductees for the class of 2011 including Donny Atherton, John Purse, Mike Dominguez and Russ Okawa.
Pioneer BMX Racer - Donny Atherton
As Schwinn's marketing poster-boy throughout the late '70s and early '80s, Donny Atherton was one of the sport's best-known amateur riders with a string of No. 1 plates and titles in the NBA. In 1979, he was the NBA/Jag World Champion in 15 Expert, and he became the NBA's No. 1 Amateur in 1980. After turning professional, Atherton was named BMX Plus' Rookie of the Year and in 1983 was ranked No. 3 Pro in the American Bicycle Association. Riding for Schwinn throughout most of his career, Atherton also represented classic brands such as Vector, Redline, Champion and ProFit. With constant coverage in the top magazines-including BMX Plus!, BMX Action and Super BMX-the name Atherton was always in the spotlight, representing the sport in a positive and professional manner.
BMX Racer - John Purse
John "The Jackal" Purse started racing in 1981 at Armadillo Downs in Conroe, Texas. Little did he know from that day forward he would go on to be one of our sports all-time greatest. The Jackal has over 30 years racing experience, with 17 of those years racing at the professional level. After turning pro at the ripe age of 17 (forging his mother's signature in the process to do so), he won in his A-pro debut and jumped up to the AA-pro ranks in four months time. Purse has never been one to back down from anyone, at anytime, and his riding style reflected this as well. He would scrap for everything he got on and off the track. This led a fellow competitor Eric Carter to nickname him "The Jackal." After struggling on the circuit for a few years, Purse began to win more steadily and won his first two No. 1 Pro titles in the NBL in ‘95 and '96. The following year, The Jackal would have his best year yet, claiming the UCI World Championships (in Canada), as well as the ABA National No. 1 Pro title. Following that season, with full support from Redline, Purse had the confidence and determination in 1998 to break the ABA record for "Most Wins in a Single Season," standing on top of the podium 25 times in a single season. It's one of his many career records that will be hard to beat.
Freestyler - Mike Dominguez
Without argument, SoCal ramp-God Mike Dominguez would always go bigger than anybody else in BMX Freestyle. In total, Dominguez's career spanned 10 years, and during that time he won all of the major titles--as both an amateur and then as the sport's highest paid pro. His resume includes everything from King of the Skateparks overall titles (as a 16x in 1983 and pro in 1985); making him the youngest rider to ever win the KoS series. Riding for Hutch and then later on for Diamondback, he also took the AFA Masters title in 1987 in the ramp category.
BMX Industry - Russ Okawa
Russ Okawa was originally introduced to BMX when he was hired as the manager of Canoga Schwinn bike shop. He formed the first Factory Schwinn team and as team manager, Okawa picked up future National BMX Hall of Famers Kevin Jackson and Eric Rupe. With camera in hand, he was also a contributing photographer for Bicycle Motocross News, BMX ACTION and BMX Plus! magazines in their early days. He crossed over to Mongoose/BMX Products in 1980, under the title of advertising and promotions manager, helping form the unstoppable Mongoose team; starring No. 1 NBL Pro Eric Rupe. Okawa put together freestyle team/promotions and mountain bike team/promotions for Mongoose throughout the 80's and played a key part in the mountain bike success of John Tomac. In 1989, Okawa left Mongoose to work for Sachs/Sedis, in charge of sales/marketing, which later led to a job with KMC chains. In 1997, Okawa teamed back up with his old friend from Mongoose, Skip Hess Jr., who was president at Giant Bicycles. At Giant, he worked alongside BMX Hall of Famers Dave Clinton, Perry Kramer and Travis Chipres--and was influential in Giant Bicycles' rise to becoming the leading brand of bikes in the world. Sadly, in January of this year, the sport of BMX lost one of its greats when Okawa passed away. His induction this year will forever place his name and reputation in the history books.
A select number of tickets are being offered to the public for the 27th annual induction ceremony at the San Diego Hall of Champions (San Diego, CA) on Thursday, September 29. Visit the above link below for more information and to purchase tickets.