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Nebraska Becomes Part of NICA, Expanding Youth Cycling Programs

race start

Start of a local race at Tranquility Park. Photo Credit: Karen Nelsen

Contact: Kari Ramsey | kari@nebraskamtb.org | (402) 881-5900

Omaha, Nebraska – New trails are blazing in youth sports and Nebraska is ready for the adventure. Nebraska has become one of the newest state leagues in the growing National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), the national program for interscholastic mountain biking in the United States.

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Ella Vraspir and Elise Choquette of the Westside club team. Photo Credit: Tara Seng

A projected Fall 2020 start date for racing in Nebraska is scheduled. Nebraska League founding member Ryan Feagan said, “When you think of hotbeds for mountain biking, Nebraska is certainly not a state that typically comes to mind. However, Nebraska has a solid history of mountain bike racing and camaraderie dating back to 1990 with the Psycowpath Mountain Bike Race Series. In 2014, with a spirit of service to youth and a grassroots DIY sensibility, local teachers and mountain bike enthusiasts formed high school mountain bike teams and began offering races in the fall just for kids. Within a few years, the folks behind Psycowpath Racing and local high school teams came together to raise the level of marketing, programming and race operations for the growing group of kids. After a 2019 season of over 100 kids and 5 events in our grassroots series, we are eager to leverage NICA resources, frameworks, and expertise to exponentially improve the way we serve families and develop youth through mountain biking. To that end, we’re excited to launch the Nebraska Interscholastic Cycling League in 2020!”

"We are thrilled to welcome Nebraska to the NICA community!” said NICA President, Steve Matous. “The Nebraska Interscholastic Cycling League team brings with them extensive youth development leadership, experience and cycling talent that will enable them to grow strong and successful NICA program in Nebraska, building on an already successful youth cycling program. Our experienced team from NICA National is ready and excited to train and support the Nebraska League as they prepare for their inaugural season. The addition of Nebraska to the NICA community enables us to strengthen our mission of providing every youth the opportunity to build strong mind, body, and character through interscholastic cycling."

Through its growing number of national leagues, NICA provides quality youth development and sport enrichment opportunities to nearly 1,000 school based teams, over 22,000 student-athletes, and nearly 10,000 volunteer coaches. The organization has been growing steadily since 2009. The Nebraska Interscholastic Cycling League will provide youth-specific events and focus on educational opportunities for coaches in the upcoming year and will commence its first race series in the Fall of 2020. Beyond 2020 the Nebraska League is planning on running trail maintenance programs, skills clinics for students and launching GRiT (Girls Riding Together), NICA’s focused effort to bring more girls and women into the cycling community.

Nebraska League Interim League Director, Ken Theis, said “I am honored to lead an already energized cycling community into the next phase of organization. Our NICA league will provide more opportunities for young cyclists to grow not just competitively, but also through the Teen Trail Corps, Adventure, and GRiT, programs that foster inclusivity. We have already received an outpouring of support from our local communities and even extending into Western Iowa and Southern South Dakota. I look forward to seeing what 2020 holds for the Nebraska Interscholastic Cycling League!”

The addition of Nebraska to the NICA network greatly increases opportunities for young cyclists in both the Midwest region and across the U.S. NICA’s growing network includes the established leagues in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Northern California, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Southern California, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as just-announced leagues in Kansas, Kentucky and Ohio.

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Maizy Seng of the Millard West club team. Photo Credit: Joseph Brinkman

Nebraska League co-founding member, Roxzanne Feagan, said "We are so stoked about being a part of NICA. Kids and their parents all over Nebraska will know they have a new and amazing option to be part of a school club and all the benefits that come with it: friends, community and fun! NICA also will allow us to bring a national level of organization, structure and event presentation to the league level. No longer will we be playing sandlot baseball. This is the big leagues! And with 10 years of assisting leagues across the country NICA brings hard data to tell the story of how cycling is impacting the lives of its coaches, athletes, schools and communities. Many of the biggest brands in cycling have been backing this effort for years. They see the impact it's making. We want kids and their families to be lifelong cyclists. NICA has the road map for that. And the more we get kids and their families on bikes, the demand for trails will follow. Where there are trails, there are users and those users form communities. It's a win win for everyone."

In addition to the efforts of the founding committee, NICA Nebraska needs individuals passionate about creating quality opportunities for youth. Volunteer opportunities exist for coaching, event and logistical support, fundraising, and more. Interested individuals are invited to contact Communications Coordinator, Kari Ramsey at kari@nebraskamtb.org for more information. NICA Nebraska is also seeking donations to launch programming in 2020. If you would like to contribute, please click here.

About the Nebraska Interscholastic Cycling League
The Nebraska Interscholastic Cycling League was founded in 2019 as a non-profit (501(c)3) Emergent League of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). We facilitate the development of high school and middle school teams/clubs for grades 6-12 and provide the education, training, licensing, and insurance for coaches and volunteers. We also produce high-quality mountain bike events and races that emphasize the value of participation, camaraderie, positive sporting behavior, and well-being over competition.

For more information about the Nebraska Interscholastic Cycling League, visit www.nebraskamtb.org

Check us out on social media!
Facebook: @nebraskamtb
Instagram: @nebraskamtb
Twitter: @nebraskamtb

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About The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA)
The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA)’s mission is to build strong minds, bodies, character, and communities through cycling. Founded in 2009 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, NICA develops interscholastic and community-based cycling programs for student-athletes and coaches across the United States. NICA provides leadership services and governance for local leagues to produce quality mountain bike events. NICA has served more than 40,000 student-athletes since 2009. Currently, NICA has 31 state and regional leagues and over 10,000 registered volunteer coaches who are working annually with over 22,000 student-athletes from nearly 1,000 high schools and middle schools in the USA.

For more information on NICA visit www.nationalmtb.org, follow @nationalMTB on Instagram and Twitter

NICA exists by virtue of generous sponsors, donors, and partners, including our Lead sponsor Trek Bicycles; Platinum level sponsors Shimano, Clif Bar & Company, Specialized Bicycles, and Salsa Cycles; Gold level sponsors Giro, Podiumwear, and Quality Bicycle Products; and major sponsors CamelBak, Yakima, Maxxis, REI Co-Op, GU Energy Labs, People for Bikes, SRAM, Strike Visuals, DeFeet and Feedback Sports. NICA National Foundation partners include The Walton Family Foundation, Rapha Foundation, and Wells Fargo.

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