Neelans a BMX racing family

The Neelans live by the Lakes Area BMX track in Barrows, which is one of the reasons why the family got into the sport.

Kenadie (left) and James Neelan hold their BMX trophies from the 2020 state championship race at Rum River BMX in Isanti. Contributed Photo.
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For a 13-year-old, Kenadie Neelan can race BMX bikes better than some adults.

Neelan raced in the USA BMX Grand Nationals competition Nov. 24-28 and finished third in the 11-12 girls cruiser division. She was also eighth in the 12 girls' expert total riders.

Nicknamed “The Machine,” Neelan has been racing since she was three years old. She races in three different series: the State Series where she is ranked second on class bikes and first on cruiser bikes. The Gold Cup Series — which is more regional than the State Series — where she is ranked first on class and second on cruisers, and the National Series where she raced in Grand Nationals.

A class bike is 20 inches while a cruiser bike is 24 inches. Last year, Neelan raced in both the 12 expert girls for 20-inch bikes and the 11-12 girl cruiser classes.

Kenadie is not the only Neelan who races. She has three siblings Abigayle, James and Jack who race and her father Josh also competes.


Abigayle is the oldest sibling who stopped racing to pursue tennis. Jack is three years old which is the same age Kenadie got her start.

The Neelans live by the Lakes Area BMX track in Barrows, which is one of the reasons why the family got into the sport.

“We were sitting at home one day and our son came home from the track that’s three blocks from our house and said ‘Dad there’s a bike here for sale,’” Josh said. “We bought the bike and that’s how we started. Then he was racing and the girls would come to watch then they wanted to race, too. And Kenadie is just really passionate about it.”

Josh said he was excited when his kids started getting into BMX racing.

“It was fun and our family enjoys being at the track,” he said. “I’m a board member at the track, so I volunteer many hours a year working at the track. It’s kind of our life. It’s BMX every weekend all summer long.”

Last year, the Neelans visited 10 different states for races.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” Josh said. “There’s lots of training. Several days a week. It takes up four or five days a week all summer long.”

Kenadie races for the team Lethal/Speedco. She is excited about next year and being united with her racing friends.


“She loves to be with her friends,” Josh said. “She has made many lifelong friends on the track. She’s always had a natural feel for the track and a passion for racing. It’s something she is good at.”

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