Keeping it Wheel
Just outside Tulsa, Jandebeurs Motor Sports Park touts a 170-acre outdoor park for families to come enjoy motorcycles safely on seven dirt bike tracks and two trail loops catering to all skill levels.
There’s a big focus on kids at Jandebeurs Motor Sports Park, but the 170-acre park and clubhouse in Okmulgee, which features seven dirt bike tracks and two trail loops, of differing sizes and skill levels, is really for the whole family.
Experienced, expert motorcycle riders can have a lot of fun here, as well as beginners who have never sat on a motorbike before. The park, now in its eighth year, also offers lessons and bike rentals for those who want to just try it out, and they also have a mechanic’s shop where they work on bikes and even sell them. It’s the only park of its kind anywhere in the Midwest and it’s just 30 minutes outside Tulsa. They even have an overnight camping area and RV connections for those who want to extend their stay.
“It’s a unique place because we cater to families,” says owner Bob Jandebeur. “We have different tracks and trails. Most places, they just have a track or a couple of tracks. We have seven. Most tracks are on a 20-acre parcel and we’re 170. So the idea is an outdoor park for families to come enjoy motorcycles safely, with the adventure of having different skill levels a place to ride here. It kind of grew from an innocent little park to, next thing I know, we’re renting bikes, we’re giving lessons, and at the request of customers, we start selling bikes, we start repairing bikes, so we’re kind of a one-stop shop for all kinds of things that are dirt-bike related. We’re crazy about safety and we give lots of lessons.”
Jandebeur points out how beneficial getting into motorcycle riding can be for today’s youth, and his park is the perfect place to foster a new interest.
“Let’s get those kids off the couch, and away from the phones and the video games,” says Jandebeur, a former professional motorcycle rider whose family owned the Honda Motorcycle shop in Tulsa in the 1960s and ‘70s. “The sport is exciting and it’s challenging. I’ve got an 18-year-old who stares into that phone like there’s no tomorrow. It’s crazy what these kids are turning into. So we’re a healthy place for kids. With so many poor influences at schools across Tulsa, this is a place that they don’t have any of those. There’s no drugs here. They get into this sport and it keeps their mind on this, and not ‘What am I going to do with my idle time?’ There’s a competitiveness to this, there’s fitness, there’s a responsibility of learning how to work on your bike.”
The response from the kids, who usually get hooked on it, and their parents, has been overwhelming.
“I’ve had parents say two things to me that stand out,” Jandebeur says. ‘There’s nothing that we could do to motivate our child to get off that phone and do something productive until we got him a motorcycle. And, when they ground their child from that motorcycle, life nearly comes to an end. So tremendous leverage. And the other thing is, many parents say that before the kids ride, they have to get their homework done. And before that, it could be just battle and battle all afternoon to get the homework done. Motorcycle riding, it’s a pretty cool trick to motivate the kids.”
Children can start riding as young as 4 years old. They can rent the bikes there, and when they are ready to buy one, they can get it there, too.
“We get a lot of those who call and go, ‘Our son is driving us crazy about getting him a bike. We don’t want to go buy one, we’ll come rent one and make sure he likes it,’” Jandebeur says. “And my first comment is, ‘That’s a good idea.’ About 99.9 percent leave here, and after learning to ride one, need a motorcycle.
“One of our best skills is to create little monsters. And many people say, that’s what they came here for.”
For those parents concerned about it being dangerous, Jandebeur points out that they offer lessons to make sure kids know what they are doing and are following all the appropriate safety rules.
“We’re all about making certain that Little Johnny learns the safe and proper way to operate the bike, and builds their confidence, and then we gradually let them ride different areas of the park as their skills increase,” Jandebeur says. “We just don’t send them off and hope things go well. Very few instances of people getting hurt here. They fall, they get back up and dust themselves off in most cases. We’ve designed the park and the tracks to be safe, as safe as you can.”
And remember, there are tracks for every level of rider, even experts. If you have your own bike, it’s $20 a day to ride during the week, and $25 on the weekends. You can also rent bikes, ranging from $25 to $45 an hour, depending on the type of motorcycle, from small 50ccs for the kids to 230cc adult bikes. Private lessons are $75 an hour and require a pre-arranged appointment.
“We’ve been holding races for kids Friday nights under the lights here,” Jandebeur says. “We put up lights and we have an announcer and a crowd of a few hundred people twice a month. The kids come race, just the kids. And lots of women and girls ride, many who have learned to ride here and are racing now. We have a girls class that races, too.”
Jandebeurs Motor Sports Park
12701 N. Hwy. 75 | Okmulgee
Wednesday-Sunday: 9 a.m.-Dusk
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