Rock Hill hosts a world championship in July. Here’s how to get in for free

Rock Hill hosted the BMX Supercross World Cup in 2016.
Rock Hill hosted the BMX Supercross World Cup in 2016. tkimball@heraldonline.com

In four months, thousands of the world’s foremost BMX enthusiasts will flood into Rock Hill to celebrate the 2017 UCI BMX World Championships.

And if you’re a York County resident, you can join in on some of the fun for free.

Local organizers Thursday announced an incentive to bring local fans out to what they believe will be the most exciting portion of the five-day tournament. Rock Hill officials say the event, which stretches from July 25-30, is the largest international sporting event in South Carolina history.

York County residents and their guests can gain free admission on July 29 if they show their driver’s license or a local college I.D., according to John Taylor, director of Rock Hill’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department.

The day includes the most intense competition of the weekend, a series of award ceremonies, and a fireworks show at the end of the night.

“Hopefully, it provides some energy to get the local folks out,” Taylor said. “We feel like that’s the least we can do to help get the community involved. I don’t know where you can get a fireworks show and world championship racing and not have to spend anything.”

Back in America

The BMX World Championships will be held mainly at Rock Hill’s BMX Supercross Track in Rock Hill’s Riverwalk community. There will be around 3,300 competitors from more than 40 countries.

This is the first year since 2001 (Louisville, Ky.) that the championships will be held in the United States.

Rising demand

Fans have already started planning their pilgrimage to South Carolina. Taylor said around 40 hotels are participating, with 4,000 room nights already booked. He said that 31 out of 43 available RV spaces have been booked.

Some out-of-state fans are expected to stay in the county for up to 10 days, Taylor said.

Officials are hosting an opening ceremony and celebration around 6 p.m. July 22 at Fountain Park. The afternoon will likely include a welcome from Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols, food trucks, and an autograph session from some of the world’s elite riders.

Taylor said it’s likely to be one of the largest food truck events in the city, with 45 trucks expected to be on hand.

Worried about traffic?

Currently, there are around 2,400 parking spaces devoted for BMX fans, including spots at Winthrop University and Elevation Church campuses. Taylor said the city has an agreement with a Charlotte-based event management company to bus fans to and from the track at Riverwalk.

Taylor said the city is in talks with the S.C. Department of Transportation to create and use signage on Interstate 77 that best point fans toward Rock Hill.

How much are tickets?

If you want to buy an advance ticket online, they’ll be $12.50 for an adult per day or $50 for an event pass. For children, it’s $3 per day and $12 for an event pass.

If you want to buy a ticket on the day of the event, it’ll be $15 per day ($60 for event pass) for adults and $5 per day ($20 for event pass). Children under the age of 5 are allowed free admission.

David Thackham: 803-329-4066, @dthackham