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Motorcross action opens county fair entertainment

ROME TOWNSHIP- Engines roar to a deafening pitch as riders gaze at mountains of dirt that can send them flying.

They sit in front of the rubber band that marks the starting line, sometimes staring their competitors in the eye as they all rev their engines. The band breaks, and it is nothing but them, the dirt, and horsepower.

Sometimes, this can be a dangerous combination, yet almost all motocross drivers come back for more.

&uot;I’ll do this as long as my body can take it,&uot; Kyle Douglas, a 21-year-old motorcycle driver from South Point, said. &uot;I’ve scraped half of my face off before. This just gets in your blood.&uot;

&uot;They’re tough critters,&uot; said Kim Turner, owner of Wolfcreek Racing, the company through which Sunday night’s racers at the Lawrence County Fair are registered. &uot;Riders out here are anywhere from age four to 40.&uot;

&uot;I’ve been doing this since I was four years old,&uot; said Jared Lewis, a 17-year-old from Grayson, Ky. &uot;I love the adrenaline and the wind.&uot;

Turner said his company has races at not only the Lawrence County Fair, but the Boyd County Fair in Kentucky and the Old Timer’s Day Fair in Proctorville.

Some of the racers have traveled to Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and even California.

&uot;I like racing in Pennsylvania the best,&uot; said Douglas. &uot;The dirt is softer and darker down there.&uot;

Motocross isn't just a man’s sport, either.

&uot;Racing with guys drives you to push harder and go faster,&uot; said Tiffany Reed, 18, a 2002 Ironton High School graduate. &uot;My father, twin brother, older brother, both uncles, and my cousin all do it. I’m the only girl.&uot;

&uot;When you’re out there, it doesn’t matter what gender you are,&uot; Reed added. &uot;You’re just out there to win. I haven’t had any problems from guys.&uot;

Reed races all over the country with the Women’s Motocross League.

Heavin Hazlett, an eight-year-old racer from Chesapeake, said she’d rather have her bike than a Barbie any day.

I can do tricks on my bike, she said. &uot;I love to do a no-footer. That is where I take both feet off the pegs while I am in the air.&uot;

This was her first race.

This really scares me, said Terri Hazlett, Heavin’s mother. &uot;But this is what she wants. Her dad tells her to have a good time and beat the boys. Her 11-year-old brother Heath races too. He thinks having his sister out here is really neat.&uot;

&uot;When my daughter first went to Wolfcreek’s track,&uot; Terri Hazlett added, &uot;She told me, I am going to smoke those dudes.&uot;

Heavin raced against her brother later in the evening.

Crown City resident Chris Galloway is nine-year-old son Seth was racing for the first time Sunday night.

&uot;He is a real daredevil,&uot; she said. &uot;He is a competitor, and he hates to lose.&uot;

&uot;I’m a little nervous, I don’t know what I’ll do if he gets hurt.&uot;

Later in the evening, Seth Galloway was hurt. The rubber band became caught around his neck causing a burn. Chris Galloway said his injuries didn’t look very serious, but he was being transported to Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va. nonetheless.

&uot;This is a tough and dangerous sport,&uot; said Turner. &uot;But these people really have heart. I’ll see some kid go down and think, ‘Looks like we will have to carry him off’,

but they will jump right back on the bike.&uot;

Chris Adkins, a Raceland, Ky. resident attended Sunday’s races in a wheelchair. He was supposed to race that night; however, he chipped both ankle bones.

&uot;I’d rather be out there,&uot; said the corrections officer. &uot;Nothing compares to that adrenaline.&uot;

Adkins said if his seven- and eight-year-old daughters wanted to take up motocross, he’d buy them bikes. They already have a four-wheeler, he added.

&uot;I’ve had several concussions, a broken right collarbone, two broken ribs, a punctured lung, a broken tailbone, broken wrist, a chipped shoulder, and I’ve recently torn my Achilles tendon,&uot; said Reed.

&uot;I was born to do this,&uot; she added. &uot;Once you put that leg over that bike, you can’t stay away.&uot; Amelia Pridemore/The Ironton Tribune