Brother and sister BMX riders Jesse and Megan Woodruff got the surprise of their lives Dec. 16 when a professional rider dropped by their schools to offer them a sponsorship from his team.

Brother and sister BMX riders Jesse and Megan Woodruff got the surprise of their lives Dec. 16 when a professional rider dropped by their schools to offer them a sponsorship from his team.

Matt Pohlkamp, 34, had met the Woodruffs at a BMX camp in Columbus, and as one of the top racers in the country, he was instantly recognized by the brother and sister.

Pohlkamp first went to Memorial Middle School, where he walked in on Jesse Woodruff - a 13-year-old sevent- grader who is ranked sixth in the country at his age group and experience level - while he was studying in the school's library.

"Hey everybody, I just want you to know this guy is one of the best BMX racers in the country, and I just want to give him one of my jerseys," Pohlkamp told the Memorial students and staff. "There's just one problem - they misspelled my name, so I guess I have to give it to you."

Pohlkamp handed Jesse jersey with Woodruff's name on it.

"I'm on a team called Celly Smellys/Dan's Comp and since Jesse had an awesome year, we want to invite him to the team," he said.

Following some applause, Pohlkamp said, "This guy is bad. Get back to work, stay in school."

"I like the feeling of riding and everybody you meet through it," Jesse Woodruff said of the sport. "Everybody's usually really cool, so it's just really fun to be around those people and riding bikes."

Jesse said he's been riding BMX for two years, racing his 20-inch bike on dirt tracks for the Columbus-based National Bicycle League statewide and nationally. The races have eight riders competing in intense, minute-long races on courses with jumps and banked turns, with the top finishers advancing to the next round. There are usually three heats and a main event in each class, depending on the number of entrants.

Jesse said he practices at Municipal Park and at an indoor skate park in Dayton during the winter to work on his freestyle riding.

Pohlkamp then travelled to Brown Elementary School and walked in on Megan Woodruff in her fifth-grade class.

"Does everybody know that Megan races BMX?" Pohlkamp said as he presented Megan with her jersey. "I wanted to come here to give Megan a jersey because she got No. 4 in the country in her racing this past year. That's pretty awesome."

"She was racing all boys, so if any of you guys want to take a shot at her or if you want to learn how to ride a bike, she might be able to teach you," proud father Eric Woodruff told the classroom.

"She's part of the team now, so she's sponsored," Pohlkamp said. "It's a big deal. She's going to represent the company that we ride for. The reason why people get sponsored is one they're good at what they do, and another reason is that they're good people, and the companies are proud that they represent the company.

"She's got everything we want," he said. "We're going to do our best to get her the equipment that she needs for her bike and uniform, and welcome to the team."

Marika Zahrndt of Gym Marika was in the classroom as well, since her school's name was on Megan's jersey. She said she's Pohlkamp's sister-in-law and Megan's tumbling coach.

"When I found out how great she had done in her BMX, I (wanted) to bring it all together and support her," Zahrndt said. "To be able to do two sports really well, that's a talent, really special."

A clearly surprised Megan Woodruff said she's been riding for a year, after her brother's suggestion

"It's just fun to be with my friends at the race track and to have the balance from gymnastics - that's how I go through the gates," Megan said. "When you start on your gate, you have to balance because nobody's holding you and then when the gate drops you have to pedal as hard as you can."

Megan said she sings the National Anthem at the events before she races.

"I like best that I have a whole bunch of friends, and it's not about winning - it's about having fun," Megan said.

Mother Christine Woodruff said her brother used to do some BMX riding. She was fine with Jesse and Megan getting into the sport.

"They're both pretty smart kids so I'm not too worried about them," Christine said. "There's a little risk involved, but they've got a good head on their shoulders."