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BMX enthusiast named Cottage Grove Volunteer of the Year

Leading construction of the Cottage Grove Bike Park, Chance Glasford points out areas of track that need sprucing up. Glasford was named Cottage Grove’s 2013 Volunteer of the Year. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)1 / 3
In the background, Chance Glasford looks on as several volunteers remove a fence at the Cottage Grove Bike Park. Glasford’s efforts to build an off-road bike park earned him the title of Volunteer of the Year. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)2 / 3
Chance Glasford talks with a volunteers during a recent build at the Cottage Grove Bike Park. Glasford’s efforts to build an off-road bike park earned him the title of Volunteer of the Year. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)3 / 3

For the last year, local mountain bicyclist Chance Glasford has literally put his blood, sweat and tears into getting Cottage Grove on the map in the BMX world with the creation of the city’s off-road bike park.

Dedicating hundreds of hours shaping, watering, sweeping and reshaping pump tracks, berms, jumps and other amenities at the Cottage Grove Bike Park, Glasford’s commitment recently earned him the title of 2013 Volunteer of the Year.

Despite the differing nature of Glasford’s volunteerism, Mayor Myron Bailey said his role in improving the community is extraordinary.

“From the start, Chance has had this vision to really change Cottage Grove,” Bailey said. “He’s rallied all these volunteers and has worked tirelessly. He exemplifies everything a volunteer is.”

From 70th Street, what looks like torn up land behind the soccer fields at West Draw Park is a two-acre site that Glasford hopes will be a local BMX haven. Since getting the green light in March 2013 to build in West Draw Park on acreage the city’s parks department deemed underutilized, Glasford has amassed dozens of volunteers and raised donations exceeding $65,000 to assist in the bike park’s construction.

Earlier this month, he helped lead a campaign to land a $33,000 grant from Bell Helmets for the project.

Glasford’s efforts were recognized April 22 at the city’s volunteer banquet, an event Glasford almost skipped.

“I actually wasn’t planning on going, but I’m glad I did,” he laughed. “I wasn’t expecting it.”

Bailey said he was impressed with Glasford’s proposal to build a park amenity in Cottage Grove using only volunteer labor and little out-of-pocket funding from the city.

A Cottage Grove couple, Delores and Howard Handeland, were also recognized for their years of service to public gardens throughout the city.

A longtime member and volunteer with Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists, Glasford said the Cottage Grove Bike Park isn’t his first build. He dedicated many hours to building Lebanon Hills Bike Park in Eagan. Working alongside other volunteers, many of whom were young riders, Glasford said it instills a sense of pride and ownership.

“I think being part of biking gets kids off the couch and back outside,” he said. “Almost every kid has a bike. And having a bike park is an opportunity to get them involved in something in their community.

“If these kids come out here and actually help build the park they are more likely to take care of it in the future,” Glasford explained.

Despite setbacks early on in the project — vandalized equipment, unflattering public comments and harsh weather conditions — Glasford said bike park construction has accelerated.

The grand opening of the Cottage Grove Bike Park is slated for Thursday, June 26, pending the riding surface is dry and clean, and fencing and signage is in place.

“We’re building this as a community,” Glasford added. “For some kids, traditional sports isn’t for them. Biking keeps them off the streets, gives them exercise and is another option for kids. All you need is your bike and a helmet.”

For more information about the Cottage Grove Bike Park, or to make a donation, visit