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A Sapulpa-born-and-bred veteran has been inducted into the Oklahoma BMX Hall of Fame, taking him on a nostalgic trip to the life he had before he gave up the Olympics to go serve his country.
Shane Vincent’s life has not been what you’d call ordinary. After a devastating injury while deployed in Iraq left him with a broken back, neck, jaw, and pelvis, Vincent’s battle came home with him as he fought PTSD, survivor’s guilt, and trying to adjust to a life in constant pain. He was able to overcome the odds after years of struggle, but he thought his life gripping a pair of handlebars had mostly come to an end.
Last month, his past came rushing back to him as he was inducted into the Oklahoma BMX Hall of Fame as the top 90’s BMX racer. “You get it for standing out above other riders and the impact you made in the sport,” he told Sapulpa Times.
The husband and father of three was on his way to the Olympics when duty came calling, and he had started racing bikes when he was just a child. Vincent began to get so enraptured in BMX that he was forced to begin homeschooling when he was in sixth grade to keep from failing out of public school because he was missing too many classes while traveling to compete. “It was my life,” he said.
In the course of his career, Vincent received 35 number plates and won National Champion and World Champion in his age group. “My last race was in 2004 at the Grand Nationals in Tulsa,” he said. He ended up winning Single A Pro and was all set to win AA Pro—the highest possible rank at the time. “But I always had that passion to join the military.”
Even while serving his country, Shane’s athleticism gained him accolades. He was accepted into the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP), which would’ve sent him to Fort Carson in Colorado to race and train In BMX for the 2008 Olympics. When he got called on to deploy to Iraq, he put aside his dreams to go overseas, expecting to reenter the program when he finished his tour. Instead, he was injured and his racing days were unwillingly over.
Fast forward to August of 2023, and Hall of Fame Director Cash Mathews is presenting Vincent and five others with induction awards into the BMX Hall of Fame. Vincent says he feels “very honored to be a part of the HOF. BMX was like a family to me.”
While the military is a great place to learn things like discipline, Vincent said he actually learned it from his days in the BMX racing circuit. “(BMX) taught me discipline, taught me to be persistent, to never give up. All that helped me for a time after my injury in Iraq,” he said.
Even with what he had to give up, Vincent said he wouldn’t change it. “I hated life for a long time after the injury, with everything I was dealing with,” he said. “I went through it—am going through it—for a reason, and I wouldn’t change that. I wouldn’t be the person today I am today if I hadn’t. I thank God for that.”
Vincent says he hopes his story of determination can help inspire the next generation of BMX racers. “Don’t ever give up,” he says. “Quitters never prosper or get anywhere. Small steps with consistency is key.”