It's only a big deal to us, but I'm going to share our pride.
My son's rode in their first crit today!!
the Arlington Heights Classic Crit. they did a 5-10 yr olds field, 5&6 yr olds in one race for a block (training wheels and all, very inspirational), 7&8 in another, a 1.2 mile lap (my 2 sons catagory), 9&10 in the last.
So Jake and Max get signed up around 10:30, then have to chill out all day to wait their turn(we live near by so we waited at home mostly). Then when it was time, the boys rode like little bats out of hell.
With 50 kids on the field they both placed in the top 15. Max (@7) was like 5th on a Trek mountain bike. and Jake(@8) was 14th or so, on a 2nd hand mongoose full suspension rig, that has a chain that fell off twice (crappy derailer). Everyone got a medal, and they got to wear numbers. a very exciting day.
By the way, check out www.decathloncycle.com for the Decathlon 7.0 model 24" wheel road bike - very basic (5 gears, down tube shifter) but suitable for 8-11 year olds. don't know what the price is, but in UK it's £119
They have several stores on the east coast, I believe