3-year-old Joplin boy to represent Team USA in Strider World Cup in Osaka, Japan

JOPLIN, Mo. – A 3-year-old boy from Joplin has been selected to race in a cycling event at the Strider World Cup in Osaka, Japan – if his fundraising campaign is successful. 

Little Sylas McCain has been getting on a bike since he was only 6 months old. Coming from a cycling family, the youngster’s first bicycle was a Strider, complete with a rocking base. Sylas’ mother Zanna Duckworth says the rocking base is a good way to introduce your children to the basics, such as handlebars and the saddle. 

By the time Sylas was 2, he was already competing in events around the area. His first race was in Bentonville, Arkansas, at a Strider event where he raced against other 2-year-olds in a total of three heats. Duckworth told The Heartlander her son placed first in the first two heats and finished fifth out of 64 other 2-year-olds in the final race.

“We didn’t know he would be good at racing until his first race,” Duckworth said. “He just kind of took off and he loved it. He was there with a bunch of other kids his age. They were all riding bikes, and he kind of fell in love with it then.”

Sylas’ mother says after realizing her son had a knack for racing, she signed him up for the Strider World Cup in Japan.

Strider requests riders’ history, how many races they have competed in, their winnings and why the riders’ parents think they deserve to compete in the race. To Duckworth’s surprise, Strider came calling and Sylas was one of 10 children chosen to represent Team USA. 

“It is surreal. It is very exciting. As a parent you love to see your child participate in something like this. When we got the email that he had been selected, obviously there was a lot of excitement and a bit of, ‘How are we going to get to Japan? How are we going to make this happen?’ It has been a rollercoaster of emotions.”

The Alliance of Southwest Missouri has offered to match up to $500 in donations to help toward Sylas’ trip to Japan. The campaign has already fetched $1,840 of its goal, but the family will need approximately $7,500 for lodging, flights, meals, registration fees and whatever comes their way during their time in Osaka. 

“People in our community have helped out tremendously and we are very grateful for that.”

The Strider World Cup race takes place over a two-day span on May 27-28. Those who wish to donate and help Sylas with his trip can visit the GoFundMe page.

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