Name: Payton “P-Nut!” Ridenour
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Occupation: Being a kid!
Payton “P-Nut” Ridenour has wheels on fire! This elementary school student is a top-notch BMX rider who has only been on the planet for a decade but has already blazed a trail. She’s competed in BMX at a high-level since she was seven and even qualified for the World Championships this year!
A Phoenix, Arizona transplant, P-Nut started riding in Pennsylvania when she was five. Her father, who had also done BMX as a child, took her to a local track near their house. Immediately she knew she’d found her passion, and practiced by racing local kids who were also into BMX bikes.
“There weren’t many girls,” she recalls. “Sometimes I had to race the boys. Nothing upsets parents — especially fathers — more than when a little girl beats up on their boys! To advance in the sport and to get to race more fast girls, I started competing in the New Jersey state series, and then in northeast regional and national events.” Her efforts have paid off. By now she’s traveled all over the United States making a name for herself.
“Racing is like: BOOM! Gate drop, lots of jumps, and rubbing elbows,” she says. Sounds intense! So does she have any advice for other girls who are looking to get into BMX racing?
“They should know that this is an aggressive sport. You need to dress for the crash and not for the ride,” P-Nut explains. “But most of all, you need to keep it fun. Always challenge yourself, learn from other riders, ride smart, and keep your elbows up.”
Most days of the week, P-Nut goes to school, practices at one of the four local BMX tracks, eats dinner (her mom’s tacos are her favorite) and then does her homework before watching a bit of TV and going to bed. “I’m a straight A student, but this school year hasn’t been as much fun as it has in the past,” she confesses. “It’s just mostly work, work, and more work. Can’t a kid get a break?!”
When she’s not on her bike or at school, P-Nut is riding trails, hiking, rock climbing, or shredding on her scooter in front of her house or at the local skate park where she puts up some serious tricks, like wheelies, twists, and turns. “So rad!” she exclaims.
As for life after the 4th grade, P-Nut has dreams as ambitious as her jumps. “I have a while before I’m out of school, but I’d like to be many things, like a pro BMXer; the owner of P-Nut’s sandwich shop; an artist; the owner and resident pro of a BMX school with tracks, ramps, and jumps; and a cool rock finder,” she says. For a girl this fierce, all of that definitely seems possible.
In addition to everything else, she’d also like to be part of the 2020 Olympic BMX team and she hopes to help Evil Endustries thrive as she gets older. Created during a long drive home from a race with her friend, Jay Bertles, Evil Endustries promotes the fun in BMX and helps put an end to all the negative — ie, evil — stereotypes and misassumptions associated with the sport. “I designed jerseys for the founding crew out of Pennsylvania,” P-Nut proudly says. “They’re easy to spot because the jerseys are red, white, and orange with piranha skeletons, fire, and a skeleton BMXer launching a jump.” P-Nut hands out t-shirts and Evil Endustries stickers to everyone she can, and she’s even been able to get them on the bikes of some pros. Way to go, P-Nut! Changing perceptions, one bike at a time, that makes you one super-Cool Girl!