2018 Award Winner
"This year's award recipient was the easiest choice yet." That's what Rog Plaskett said after announcing that Hunter Zeiner was his pick as the 8th recipient of the DJP Memorial Award.
Hunter was a regular at the track starting in 2007. His older brother Jonathan had started the year before and 4 year old Hunter was eager as well after watching him. It took awhile for Hunter to be able to ride the track all the way around, but once he did there was no stopping him.
He got his first license (Membership) on May 3rd, 2007 and raced 15 of the scheduled Foothills races that year, earning top honors in the 5 & Under Rookie class.
On July 22 of that first year, 4 year old Hunter Zeiner was named our Rider-Of-The-Week
Hunter said his brother Jon
was his favorite rider in 2007
A proud mom the day Hunter
was named our Rider-Of-The-Week
He moved up in proficiency in 2008 and earned our top 6 year old Novice (Intermediate) ranking by year's end. One year later he was our #1 7 year old Expert.
Hunter was always a smooth rider and, at some point, Announcer Lou Mota hung the handle "Butter" on him and it stuck. (No pun intended)
After the 2011 season the NBL (National Bicycle League) had collapsed and we were now under the sanction of the ABA (American Bicycle Association) They soon rebranded themselves as USABMX. With completely different rules it was difficult for many of us to get used to it. The Zeiner's decided it was not for them, at least at that time. Hunter had disapeared from the racing scene after earning Nat'l #6 in his expert class.
Much to our delight, opening day of 2015 here he was again! He told me at that time that he was going to give it a try again but, so after in practice that first day back, he was carving a big turn in the first corner and his chain broke sending him tumbling down to the third turn area. He would not qualify for the main that day, was pretty banged up and we did not see him again all season.
But in 2016 here he was, looking great and very focused. Since then he has earned District #4, Gold Cup #3 and State #2.
"Butter" was back in 2016
He considers his biggest accomplishment was that National #6 ranking from the now defunct National Bicycle league. He said he hopes to go back to the Grands one day and compete for a NAG ranking.
I asked him who he admired the most and his resonse was "My Mom and Dad". "I admire them the most because they have spent endless hours and dollars on my siblings, friends and myself.". "They have been there for me no matter the situation and outcome."
So where does he see his BMX career going now that he will soon turn 16? "If everything goes to plan I would eventually like to turn pro at the appropriate age." "But I have a lot of work to do before that could happen."
For a long term plan he would like to make racing his bicycle career. He understands that the challenges are huge but, who knows, maybe on the business side of the sport at a bike shop, manufacturer or whatever. There is plenty of time left to decide on the long term career.
Hunter like Hip-Hop / Rap music with his favorite artists being Jon Bellion and J. Cole.
"The Italian Job", starring Mark Wahlberg, is his favorite movie.
He is currently a junior at Northwestern Regional High School in Winsted Connecticut. BMX is the only sport he is involved with.
Hunter is one of the starts of Family Pride Racing Team and looks forward to a year full of fun with the sport and the people involved in it.
"Congratulations Hunter, I'm Proud to have named you to this award." - Rog Plaskett -
This award and annual Daniel
J. Plaskett Memorial Race were created in honor of Dan
and his courage. Each year the Litchfield County
BMX Group Inc makes a donation in Dan's name to The
United Leukodystrophy Foundation.