We chat to Deane, mother of Rico Bearman (current 9-years World BMX Champion and two-times former World Champ), about what it's like raising a BMX daredevil.
How old was Rico when he first learnt to ride?
Rico first learnt to ride a two-wheeler when a few of the road cyclists (that his dad coached) decided to take his training wheels off one day and show him the ropes ... this was when Rico had just turned 3. He got into BMXing when he was 4; we had gone along to a race to watch a friend’s kid ride and Rico wanted to have a go … he loved it instantly.
Could you tell Rico had potential from an early age?
I guess the early signs were that he was instantly competitive with the other boys who were older than him, and he just seemed to improve at a rapid rate. With only being in the sport three months (Rico wasn’t yet 5), we flew to Christchurch for his first Nationals in March, deciding it would be a fun family trip with no expectations. Surprisingly, he won his first National title, and from there he was hooked.
Has Rico always been competitive?
Rico has his own goals within himself; I think it’s about being the best Rico can be. He never only set his sights on his own age-group; even as a 5-year-old, he was targeting the kids 1-2 years older. With any sort of competition, Rico will commit himself 100% to the challenge.
Does training take up much of Rico’s time?
When he first started, we felt he was too young to ‘train’, so we never had training schedules or set days ... if Rico wanted to ride his bike, he would. There’s alot to be said for having fun. Now he’s older, I guess there has been a bit more structure to it. A normal week (in season) would be two nights of club racing, plus weekend racing. In winter, Rico plays soccer, so BMX takes a big backseat until the season is over.
How often do you travel to competitions? Where do you go?
The BMX season is from late September until Easter weekend. We go to most weekend races, which are usually 5-7 weekend days per month. Our biggest events in NZ are North Island Champs in October and Nationals at Easter. We go to Brisbane and Melbourne for three weeks of racing in January. The BMX Worlds are usually in July, except this year being Olympic year, Worlds were in May and held in Birmingham, UK. We are usually gone for up to four weeks for the Worlds. Next year, the Worlds are in NZ, which will be an awesome opportunity to showcase the sport to the community.
Why do you think Rico’s so successful?
Rico is committed and dedicated in everything he does. He is outgoing and confident, and the fact that he is having fun while he is competing helps fuel his desire. He is determined, and seems to be able to calculate what he needs to do to win. People think we must be “pushy parents” but, in fact, if Rico doesn’t get to train, whether it be BMX or soccer, he is gutted.
Does Rico have time for other sports/hobbies?
At school, he does Kapa Haka, rippa rugby, and plays soccer or rugby at lunchtimes. Rico is currently playing soccer for the Forrest Hill Milford top 9th grade team, so a lot of his focus is channelled into that at present. Complementing his BMX individual sport with a team sport is a valuable lesson for Rico, something that will help him develop as a person.
What does Rico do in his downtime?
Rico particularly loves watching all the bike sports and soccer on TV. Other than that, he can be found swimming
in the pool, kicking a ball or backflipping on the tramp, plus he loves snowboarding, wakeboarding, mountain biking, and
What are the qualities you think are most important to instill in your children?
Independence, confidence, character, and self-belief. Rico is by no means a quiet child, he has always been a little crazy, a go-getter ... but we like that in our kids.