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Trailblazer roars onto freestyle circuit

Allie Henderson has been riding freestyle for less than a year now, but already she is having a big impact on the sport.

She is currently one of only two female freestyle riders performing in shows across North America.

The 24 year-old ex-Marketing student and server from Kelowna first started riding in 2009 but it wasn’t until she met professional freestyle rider Bruce Cook in the fall of 2011 that she felt the allure of freestyle.

“I remember watching him and thinking, I can do this,” said Allie.

Her first ramp was a 10’ gap but she is now clearing a 'full gap', which is 75’.

“It’s amazing what you can do when you give something 100%,” she said.

“For me it’s not about doing a seatgrab (her favorite trick) or a heart attack, it’s about doing what I love.”

When in Kelowna, Allie is trained by Dan Kenzie at Pinnacle Elite Athletes, but she is currently in Georgia for the winter, training full-time at Durhamtown Off-Road Park.

“It’s like a Big White for dirt,” she said.

There are many things about dirt riding and freestyle MX that appeal to Allie, a self-confessed “risk-lover”.

 “When you’re good, you’re good,” she said, “and when you’re bad, you’re in the hospital.  It’s a very honest sport.”

Allie Henderson has been profiled in several publications, including Okanagan Woman, Kickasswomen.com and the Columbus Ledger-Inquirer.

“I get asked a lot what it’s like being a woman in this sport, but for me it’s just a marketing tool,” she said.

She has already secured several sponsors, due to her novelty, talent and work ethic.

"The sponsors have been so great," says Allie.  "I couldn't do this without them."

In the few years she has been riding, Allie has sustained several injuries, including a broken hand and a separated shoulder, but she is determined not to let anything stop her.

“My body hates me right now,” she said.

"But I'm a little behind for my age so I've got a lot of work to do."

Allie expects to return to Kelowna from Georgia in April, and is looking forward to some down time.

“I’m excited for a break,” she said.

“I want to go for dinner, read a book, enjoy Kelowna and just have a life again for a little while.”

Allie's Facebook page and website are rife with comments by women who have been inspired by Allie’s drive and determination.

Darcy Johnston wrote: “You are an inspiration for all woman in the sport, including my daughter. Keep up the good work.”

When it comes to achieving dreams, Allie has some advice.

“March to your own drum,” she says.

“It’s my journey, my road, my story, so I’m gonna do it my way,”

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