Trailblazer. Legend. Icon. Those are just a few words BMX racers use to describe nationally-known Kittie Weston-Knauer.
Not only is she a great racer, but she’s full of surprises.
“So am I competitive? Yes.”
And it doesn’t hurt to have a little fun.
It’s a sport primarily made up of men, but this weekend in East Moline one special woman lit up the track.
“Hey folks come on, life is about living and this is a sport I love,” Weston-Knauer said.
She’s well known in the BMX world. She helped blaze a trail for women entering the sport.
“When I began there was two of us racing cruiser,” Weston-Knauer said. “Wanting to sustain the sport for women was the most critical for me. So, where ever I got, wherever I went I would constantly have those conversations, because women would come to me and would say, ‘How do I get involved? What do I need to do.'”
So Kittie worked with BMX sanctioning bodies to get adult women their own racing class.
“And as a result, we now have women — girls and women — who not only get into the sport, but are staying in the sport,” Weston-Knauer said. “So, I think it’s critically to know and understand, ladies you name it, you claim it.”
Not only did she break barriers for women, but now she’s proving age is just a number.
“And people look at me say, but you still come out here and ride?” Weston-Knauer said. “Yeah, I still come out here and race my back.”
At 73 years old, she’s the oldest woman racing BMX in the nation. Racing against people nearly two decades younger than her.
“Just think about it, a person of my age, hitting these turns, these burns at twenty miles an hour,” Weston-Knauer said.
Racing at 73 doesn’t always come easy. Kittie’s had both her knees and hips replaced long with arthritis in her hands, but she’s doesn’t let that slow her down.
“As long as I can keep my tires where they belong, which is on the ground in the dirt I’m good,” Weston-Knauer said.
She’s done quite a bit for the sport — and doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon.