A local athlete is making waves in a unique winter sport. Jesse Kirchmeyer, from Arcade, recently won silver at the X Games, competing in Snow BikeCross.
“I have to take my hat off to whoever the guy was who decided to put a ski and track on a dirtbike,” Kirchmeyer said. “Off the top of my head, I don’t know (who it was.) But I’m sure glad they did.”
When Jesse was three years old he rode his first dirt bike. At eight, he was racing snowmobiles. Last year, he started riding a hybrid of the two: Snow BikeCross. And he immediately shot to the top of the leader boards.
At just 19 years old, he won silver at the X Games. He said many of the rider around him there were older, and from the west coast.
“It’s been a lifelong pursuit, in racing Motorsports, and finally to be able to look around and give yourself some self-acknowledgment and say, ‘hey I belong here.'”
Jesse said he went out west more than a week before the X Games to proactive and adjust to the elevation in Aspen, Colorado. He said because of the sporadic weather in WNY, he doesn’t get much practice-time around home.
The elevation also created a problem for his engine, so his dad built a new one at home, and flew it out in a suitcase.
“We were hoping it would make it through security, and it did, so it all worked out in the end,” Jeff Kirchmeyer laughed.
Jesse travels in a $1,500 school bus that he got out of a junkyard, and fixed up.
“I am the only person with a bus,” he said. “It gets a lot of looks, but everyone loves it.”
The bus draws looks, similar to his affable personality. He’ll admit, that’s probably where he got his nickname, ‘Showtime.’
And back at home, the teen is absolutely in the spotlight. The support around Arcade has been huge. A sign still stands proudly outside the Route 78 Pub in Strykersville. Locals watched Kirchmeyer’s performance at the X Games inside the restaurant when he competed.
“You don’t get quite so arrogant, you stay humble because these are your people,” Kirchmeyer said. “Everyone has your back.”
As for what’s next, Kirchmeyer is hoping for an X Games gold. He’s already ordered a heated handlebar, and hopes that helps keep his hands from going numb next year.
And he hopes for more people to rally around the sport.
It’s a sport that a teen from WNY is really shaking up.
“We all have the ski and track, it don’t matter the guy who’s on it,” he said. “We all put in the work to be there, so when the gate drops, it’s time to race.”
In just a couple weeks, Jesse will compete in the Snocross National in Salamanca. That will be February 22 and 23. For more information on that race, click here.