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Posted September 8, 2009 | comments Leave a comment

Motocross daredevils thrill audience at fair

By Preston Knight -- pknight@nvdaily.com

WOODSTOCK -- To engage in daredevil acts brings with it the fair assumption that you are one of a different breed of people.

And every once in a while, you go out and prove it to be even truer than anyone imagined.

That's what happened Saturday night at Shenandoah County Fair's FMX Championship Series event, and, perhaps even the most stunning thing of all, is that it was fairly normal for those involved.

After one jump in the opening round of six jumps, Ben Veyna, of Las Vegas, dislocated his left shoulder, something the announcer told the crowd about after seeing Veyna make his way back to the starting point holding his left arm down to his side. Rules state that a rider has three minutes to correct a physical or mechanical problem.

As if there were any doubt, Veyna, who rode a day after breaking two ribs last year, popped his shoulder back in its place and came back to complete jumps the rest of the night.

"My arm hurts really bad," he told the crowd.

Dislocated shoulders, according to the announcer, are the most common injury on the motocross circuit. This is why it takes a "crazy, different" breed of people to do it, he said.

The motocross event was making its second appearance in as many years at the fair, offering something beyond the norm of demolition derbies, tractor pulls and concerts. But it serves to not only give locals more diversity, it introduces some people to the fair and brings them from long distances.

Sharon Price came from McGaheysville, and was sitting with Tanner Price, her 5-year-old grandson from Stanley.

"He eats, sleeps and drinks dirt bikes," she said. "He wants to race them."

Price was one of a handful of people in the audience who had been to a motocross event before.

"It's awesome," she said.

Tammy Tusing, of Timberville, had been to motocross races, but never to an event where riders did tricks. She would have probably made the trip last year, she said, but she only learned that the bikers came to Woodstock last year on Saturday.

"It's exciting, something different," Tusing said.

Her son Matt Goodloe, 8, races four-wheelers and dirt bikes.

"It's scary when you get up in the air," he said.

How high does he get?

"Ten inches probably," Matt said.

If that's scary, then what the riders did Saturday must be deathly petrifying. They jump about 75 feet across and, if they want to wow the crowd and earn high marks from the judges -- there is money on the line when the tour ends, so, yes, they want to -- perform an array of tricks, some involving letting go of the bike in the air or swinging their legs off of it while flying.

When one rider, Hal Strauss, did the first flip of the night in the air, he received a standing ovation. Then, when one of the three local judges gave him a score of 9.8, instead of a perfect 10, a chorus of boos rang out.

"Thank you for not giving me a perfect score, because it wasn't," Strauss said to the judge.

Honesty is one way to win the crowd over, and having the crowd on your side is a big part of the motocross series, which makes 25 stops around the country. If you get a louder response from the audience, there is a better chance that it will be reflected in the judges' score.

"Keep getting loud," rider Josh Wilson told the crowd.

Only this breed of people could feed off such noise.


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