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Gay BMX rider Perris Benegas caps off 2023 with NORA Cup for Women’s Rider of the Year

After demonstrating her skill throughout the year, Benegas learns of her victory with a surprise trophy unboxing.

BMX rider holds trophy.
The smile on her face says everything as Perris Benegas holds the 2023 Women’s Rider of the Year trophy.
Instagram: @perrisbenegas

There is no better “year in review” moment for a professional athlete than to receive an unexpected trophy delivery from their peers.

That became a career highlight for gay Olympian and BMX rider Perris Benegas, who found out she won the 2023 NORA Cup for Women’s Rider of the Year via a surprise unboxing.

As captured on a video that aired during the NORA Cup ceremony, Benegas was asked by a friend what she thought was in the box and guessed it was a knee sleeve from one of her sponsors.

Then when she opened the package and glimpsed at the trophy inside, all she could exclaim was “Dude!” before the joyful surprise overwhelmed her and her expression became a picture of pride and delight.

“What’s in the box, Perris?!” her friend jokingly asked as the emotions surrounding her achievement sunk in, which surely won an award itself for the most uplifting use of a “Se7en” quote ever.

Moments later, Benegas was still speechless but the giant smile on her face said it all about what the NORA Cup meant to her.

The award was voted on by Benegas’ peers in the BMX community and during a montage of congratulations, several riders lauded her for playing a major role in two edits throughout the year.

At the start of 2023, Benegas co-starred in a Haro BMX edit while enduring rain and snow in Salt Lake City. Then in August, she played a major role in a 19 minute edit called Integration filmed in Philadelphia.

“She’s progressing constantly. I think she’s a good representation of where we are seeing women’s BMX going on so many levels,” lauded NORA Cup voter Tracey Anthony.

Benegas came out publicly as gay in a 2021 Instagram post prior to competing in the Tokyo Olympics that summer. During her journey, Benegas revealed that she endured depression before finding peace as her true self.

She wrote, “My whole life I’ve been searching for happiness, while forcefully suppressing who I really was, moreso who I really AM,” and later added, “In having these heart to heart conversations, not one person expessed a single negative thing. Instead, they were happy and relieved a ‘Happy Perris’ was finally here and present.”

As the trophy unboxing video and a recent Instagram post with her partner Mikaela Harris demonstrated, a Happy Perris is something magnificent to behold.

After the recognition of all her achievements sunk in, it was time to celebrate. “I’ve gotta drink a drink out of this,” Benegas exclaimed.

Sure enough, the video cut to her pouring a can of beer into the NORA Cup and triumphantly downing it.

Nothing rounds out an exemplary 2023 like the taste of victory. Even if it’s flavored like hops.