BY LOGAN DUBBS | Ball State Sports Link
We all have heard, “If you want to get a good job, you need to go to college.” A lot of people would disagree with that statement. I actually know many people who have great jobs and didn’t go to college. This was my thought process before I decided to attend Ball State University.
I loved sports. I grew up playing football, baseball and basketball. I played sports all throughout grade school and all the way through high school, but there is one sport that people don’t really know about that I grew up doing. That sport is motocross.
When I was four years old, my dad took me to his friend, Adam’s house, to pick up something he left there a week prior. Adam had a son that was two years older than me named Austin. We had met before, but I was young so I didn’t really remember him.
When we got there, Austin was riding a dirt bike around his yard while Adam was watching him. The first thing Adam said to me when I got out of the car was, “You want to ride it?” I automatically said yes right away, but my dad was a little “iffy” about it. He knew my mom would “have a cow” if he bought me one, but he talked to my mom when we got home, and they finally gave in.
Two or three months later, my dad bought my first bike; a Yamaha PW 50. It was the smallest bike you could get. The first time I rode it was at a small track close to my house in La Porte, Indiana that week.
That day, I rode and rode and rode until it was dark. Even when it was dark, I still wanted to ride. My dad had to force me to stop. Right then and there, my dad knew this was something I wasn’t going to stop doing anytime soon.
Every day when I got home from school, the first thing I would ask is when could I ride again. I didn’t care if it was on a track or in my backyard. I just wanted to get on my dirt bike and go.
My mom still wasn’t fond of the sport. She knew it was very dangerous, and she was right, but I think that’s why I loved it so much. Not everyone has the guts and the “no fear” attitude like I did and still do today.
As I grew older, the sport started to become more and more expensive. That is because the bigger the bike you get, the more expensive it is. The next bike I got after my PW 50 was a KTM 50. This is when things started to get pretty serious.
My first race was in June of 2000 at a track called Medarryville in Medarryville, IN. I was very nervous, and I could tell my dad was too because we both didn’t know what to expect. Adam and his son Austin were there also, so they helped us out because they had done it before.
The format for most races is a practice and then two races after. Usually, practice starts at 9 a.m. with races to follow.
I went out for practice and everything went great. I didn’t fall or damage my bike at all. Now, it was time for the race.
I got up to the gate, still nervous. There were six or seven other riders on the gate with me, one was Austin. We got gates right next to each other. We talked and laughed to try and ease my nervousness, but it didn’t help.
The race we were waiting on had finished. It was my time to shine.
The red light on the stoplight came on. That meant to start your bike and get ready. The starter went down the line of riders, pointing at them to make sure they were ready.
After the starter walked back up to the gate, the yellow light came on. This means everyone is ready to go.
About 10 seconds later, the green light came on. This means you have anywhere from 3-7 seconds before the gate drops.
The gate dropped and my nervous feeling went away completely, and we were off.
I started in 3rd and tried to make my way from there. I ended up second behind Austin. I was completely satisfied and so was my dad.
The second race was the same. I ended up taking second place again. My dad was happy with my performance, but I knew I wanted to better.
The older I got, the more I hated to lose. This pushed me to try to be better than every one of my competitors and led me to success.
In 2004, I won the Pontiac Supercross KTM Challenge. This was an event where you apply to race at a professional supercross race. Hundreds of people apply to race this event, but they only choose twenty; I was one of them.
The winner of that event had the chance to go to Las Vegas and race at the final round of the supercross tour. I had that chance, but the results weren’t what I wanted.
My biggest accomplishment was when I qualified to race the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur National Championship in 2011. This was the most prestigious race any amateur could race. This was where the best riders in the nation all met to race each other.
In my class, I ended getting 7th overall, which was a huge accomplishment for me, but I could have done better. I struggled with my starts all week and just couldn’t put together one solid race.
After this race is when things started to become a reality. Motocross is not a cheap sport as I mentioned above. The week at Loretta Lynn’s cost thousands of dollars.
My family is well off, but by no means are we rich. My mom and dad work nonstop to be able to support my passion.
Racing used to be an every weekend thing. My dad and I were always at the track from Friday-Sunday every weekend, plus riding two or three times during the week at a local track.
The guys sponsored by the big time companies, get free bikes and get to ride every day. I didn’t have that opportunity at all. It was hard to keep up with these guys because they had the money to do all of this, and I wasn’t fortunate enough.
I had the chance to go pro. I was eighteen and a senior in high school with no thought of really going to college at all. I knew I wanted to become a professional motocross racer.
My mom and dad sat me down one night after school and told me straight up that if they were going to spend thousands of dollars on something it was going to be college. I was devastated at first, but I thought about for the next week, and I knew they were right.
I didn’t have the resources, nor the capability to travel the country to ride my dirt bike. That was when I applied to Ball State University.
Today, going to college was one of the best decisions I ever made. From being a part of the best digital sports production program in the nation (Sports Link) to meeting so many new people and developing friendships along the way.
Motocross is still a part of me. When I am not working in the summer, I love to go ride at my favorite tracks around me and race some of my closest friends I met along the way.
Even though I don’t get to be on my dirt bike every weekend like I used to, coming to college was the best decision I have made. Thank you Mom and Dad.