Stephen Cameron, 13, of Amarillo relaxed before his race Saturday at the Mounted Patrol Arena. Cameron participated in the 12- to 16-year-old 85cc class. (Staff photo: Andy DeLisle)
By Chelle Delaney: Freedom Newspapers
Trailers, RVs, tents and hundreds of motorcycles began covering half of the parking area on Saturday morning at the Curry County Fair.
Many of the trailers displayed family advertisements, such as “Riding Red” and “Sponsored by mom and dad.”
“I like everything about it,” said Taitt Kuchta, 7, of Clovis, who had ust finished riding in three races of the arenacross event.
Taitt sported a blue and white uniform splashed with red mud, and a few splotches of dirt on his face from another rider’s spinning rear wheel.
A colorful protective breastplate and shoulder pads gave him and dozens of other kids buzzing by on their bikes or walking among the rows of trailers the appearance of larger-than-life Transformer action figures.
Taitt, who has been racing since he was 4, said he mostly likes “the whoops.”
The whoops are the deep washboard or mogul-like section of the course, which also included “catapults” in the center section for jumping.
Taitt’s sponsors are his mom and dad — Todd and Jacque Kuchta. And as a third-generation cyclist, he was also being cheered on by his grandfather, Cliff Kuchta, who serves as his mechanic.
With three cycles, Taitt was like many of the young racers who have backup bikes and different-powered bikes so that they can compete in multiple races.
A child can get set up to race with a bargain bike, gear and entry fees for about $1,300, said Todd Hammock, event manager for the Clovis Arena Cross.
Many of the racers will go on to compete in events at Gallup and Amarillo, Hammock said.
Depending on age and ability, the Clovis Fair event offered 24 classes of competition, he said.
Each of the Kuchta men checked a makeshift schedule stuck to the gate next to their trailer to make sure Taitt would be ready.
“I used to race when I was younger. … We all came. Now, we bring the whole family,” Todd Kuctha said.
Jacque Kuchta said she’s gotten used to her son flying around atop a motorcycle.
“I had butterflies in my stomach when Taitt first started, but as the years go by I get better.”
So far, the only real injury has been a broken pinkie, she said.
“This sport takes discipline, hard work and it draws the whole family together because everyone’s involved,” Cliff Kutcha said.
The racers usually pick out a number.
For example, Mollie Trevino, 9, of Lubbock sported a 97 on her protective gear. “It’s the year I was born,” she said.
Six years later she started racing. Why does she do it? “I like having fun and going fast. And I like to beat the boys,” she said with a smile.
“She’s got a lot of trophies — at least 80 and several plaques,” said her father, Pete Trevino.
“I want to go to nationals and be the first girl to go to the Supercross,” she said.