In 1985, the American Bicycle Association (ABA), a national sanctioning body for BMX racing, started a BMX Hall of Fame to recognize the names and faces that pioneered the sport of BMX racing, from athletes to industry icons to freestylers. Throughout the years, the ABA morphed into USA BMX and moved the National BMX Hall of Fame to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.
Last year, USA BMX inducted five people: photographer Windy Osborn under the Women category, Mat Hoffman under the Freestyle category, Eric Carter under the Racer category, Steve Johnson under the Industry category, and John Palfreyman under the Pioneer category. Two freestyle riders, former GT flatland pro Martin Aparijo and 2hip Bikes creator Ron Wilkerson, were runner up and second runner up nominations in 2012. Because they were runner ups in 2012, USA BMX awarded both riders automatic nominations for the current year.
First generation street and flatland rider Pete Augustin, who rode for CW in the mid '80s, followed by a string of bike brands that included Dirt Brothers and soft good brands such as Airwalk and Life's a Beach, took to Facebook earlier this week to protest Aparijo's nomination.
"So Marin Aparijo is nominated to the BMX HOF. Are you kidding me? Nice guy but really, what the hell do he do? And when BMX dried up in the '80's where was he? Rollerblading! What a joke," said Augustin via Facebook.
Augustin went on to add other suggestions: "What about Kevin Jones? Brian Blyther? Hugo Gonzalez? Dave Vanderspek? Maurice Meyer? Chase Gouin? Craig Campbell? Mad Dog? Rick Moliterno?"
Eventually, Augustin's remarks sparked a bit of debate among BMX friends, some for Aparijo's nomination and some against. Augustin defended his remarks. "I just think there's a huge list of riders more deserving than Martin," said Augustin.
Augustin also compared to Wilkerson's nomination to Aparijo's: "Ron Wilkerson, Cover of first issue of Freestylin, Meet the Street contests, tons of touring, Came back from a major crash, owner of a bike company, been in it from day one, rode flat, vert, street. Now you put Martin next to him? Martin was good at flat, real smooth and I like his style. I watched him ride at the last OS BMX reunion and enjoyed his riding. But you can't put him next to Ron."
Nominations for 2013 National BMX Hall of Fame remain open to the the public despite Wilkerson and Aparijo's automatic nominations. All nomination forms will be reviewed by the National Hall of Fame Selection Committee and from that, the final list of five nominees will be created.
But perhaps it's time for someone to step up and establish a Freestyle BMX Hall of Fame? I believe there's room for both Martin Aparijo and Pete Augustin in such a place.