BMX to the max

Paula Law

Photo by Vic Cantu

As a child, Paula Law, now known affectionately as “Momma Law” by many, was a self-described “throwaway child” who “hit the streets at 13.” Raised by her grandparents, she saw how her brothers vastly improved their lives after they joined sports teams, she says, “especially versus some of their friends who made bad life choices.” As an adult, determined to help her four kids, who she says felt aimless, and their peers, Law, a stay-at-home mom and instructional substitute aid for Chico Unified School District, helped start the Syndicate BMX Racing Team, based in Chico. The program, for which Law is also CEO, gives youth (and some adults) a strong purpose in life through national and local competitions at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds, social gatherings and community volunteering. Find out more on Facebook—search Syndicate BMX Development Team—email or call her at 354-3510.

How did you start the Syndicate BMX Racing Team?

Several of us parents had kids who were on various BMX racing teams that mainly just wore the same jersey. We all became friends and thought it would be a great idea to start our own. My husband, Marty, and I, with Matt Heaps and Carl Profit, founded Syndicate last September, and now have 15 boys and four girls. We have two levels: The Elite Riders travel and compete mostly throughout California, and the Local Development Team train and compete at home.

What is the main purpose of Syndicate Racing?

To have fun! I don't care if you come in first, second, third or last, as long as you have fun. We also want to give kids a vital feeling of inclusion. We repair kids' bikes and get sponsors to offset riders' costs such as entry fees, travel accommodations and equipment.

What other kinds of activities do the kids participate in?

We've had many that allow the kids to hang out, form friendships and be like a family. Lots of sleepovers, Friday nights at Cal Skate, and a Christmas gift-making and light-touring day. We've also done fundraisers with ChicoBag, a “lapathon” at the track, and would like to volunteer for other causes. There's no greater feeling than belonging to something and feeling like you're loved.

What are the biggest benefits for the kids?

I've noticed a huge change in their demeanors. Some didn't have the best socialization skills, and some had minor learning disabilities. Syndicate helps them focus, and I see better, positive attitudes and more smiles. They feel like they've found their niche and own their team.

What plans do you have for Syndicate Racing?

We hope to work with Chico Area Recreation District (CARD). We'd like to give veterans a special section at a big race. We also want to continue volunteer efforts like the ones my kids did before Syndicate formed, such as a breast cancer awareness race for Enloe's Sycamore House, and a “Wet Pet food drive” for older pets at the Butte Humane Society. We're just a few local parents with big hearts and even bigger dreams for our kids.