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Wyoming Wanderers: The best of motocross

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sarah Post
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

I have only been in the Air Force a short time, but I have learned being away from home at a young age is hard. Since moving to Wyoming, I have enjoyed finding activities that remind me of home the most.

In April, I attended Monster Energy Supercross at Mile High Stadium in Denver, which is an activity that reminds me of home. Supercross is professional motocross racing held inside football and baseball stadiums that are transformed into race tracks. It is a 16-round racing series that travels across the entire country. 

Supercross is a whole day event catered to the fans of motorsports. When we arrived Saturday morning around 7 a.m., we made our way to the pits first. The pits are where all of the race teams park and set up for the event and it is also the site of a lot of activities for the fans.

We stopped to watch the bicycle motocross competition first. BMX riders from around the world participate at different supercross rounds to compete for their own championship. We watched the riders do back flips, front flips, bar turns, bar spins and a lot more tricks that I don’t know the names of. Then we went to the Monster Energy stage, where we got free drinks, listened to music and took lots of photos. The pits also have lots of official merchandise, souvenirs and other sponsors and vendors with activities of their own. 

Then we walked around through the rider’s area, where all of the race teams are lined up for the event. Factory KTM, Husqvarna, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Gas Gas and Honda each have their teams, and fans can see the riders and watch the mechanics do bike maintenance. Each team has tables set up with posters, trading cards and photos of their riders for fans to take. Fans can also line up to get autographs or photos with their favorite riders. 

We headed into the stadium after walking around outside, so we could watch practice and qualifying. Riders get one free practice in the morning, then are timed and have to qualify for the ‘night show’, which are shorter races that qualify riders for the main events. 

We walked into the stadium and were greeted by the roar of the dirt bikes and the smell of race gas. The bikes were going around the track, over the jumps, through the corners, through the sand and dirt, and it was so much fun to watch. Practice continued for a few hours, and then at 12:30 p.m., opening ceremonies started. 

Opening ceremonies started with the national anthem and honor guardsmen from Peterson Space Force Base came for color duties. There were fireworks, fire cannons, t-shirt cannons, music and the fan-favorite riders coming out to see the fans. After opening ceremonies, the first gate dropped and racing began with 250-heat race one. 

Racing is a wonderful type of chaos. Twenty riders filter into the first turn, each hoping to make it through first, which will earn them the hole shot. Then they battle to move up in the pack, hoping to be one of the nine riders who earn a position in the main event. Those who do not make it to the main event in the heat races will have one more chance in the last chance qualifier, where the top four riders advance to the main event. There are two 250-heat races, two 450-heat races, each class also has a last chance qualifier and each has one main event. 

When the time comes for the main event, 22 of the best riders in each class are lined up on the gate, hungry to claim the most prestigious title in motocross, a main event win in supercross. The 30-second board goes up, the gate drops and the fire cannons explode as the riders take off. The riders go into the first turn and battle it out for a spot on the podium for 20 minutes plus one lap. Myself along with every fan in the stadium are cheering for our favorite riders to win. Finally, the winner crosses the finish line and the fire canons once again go off. A champion is crowned, and its over just like that. But how could I, or anyone be upset after watching a race like that?

I have always loved motocross, and I love sharing my passion with others even more. Monster Energy Supercross may only be in Denver once a year, but there are more opportunities to watch professional motocross races. In June, there is a Lucas oil Pro Motocross race at Thunder Valley MX Park, and if you are looking for a fun day of racing, it will be the place to be! 

Editor’s note: Use of corporate names in the above events does not confer or imply endorsement of these corporations by the Department of Defense or the Department of the Air Force.