Choate earns spot at nat’l championship
Orange’s “Racin’” Clayson Choate, 9-year-old dirt bike racer, has qualified for the largest amateur motocross race in the world, the 29th annual AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships – set for Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in June, 2011.
Choate took on more than 20,000 hopefuls from across America to earn one of just 1,386 qualifying positions. He held the second-place title for the Southwest Region which includes several surrounding states that allowed him to compete against the world’s fastest other 41 7- to 8-year-old racers in his class.
“The Amateur Nationals at Loretta Lynn’s is the event every motocross racer in the world wants to compete in,” said Event Director Tim Cotter. “A win at the Amateur Nationals gives a rider instant national and world notoriety and can serve as a springboard to a lucrative professional motocross career.”
Most of America’s top professional motocrossers, including James Stewart, Ricky Carmichael, Travis Pastrana and Jeremy McGrath, have won AMA Amateur National Championships at Loretta Lynn’s. The race is so prestigious that last year, teenage stars Dean Wilson, from California, and Eli Tomac from Colorado were awarded premier professional contracts for the 2010 season.
Choate, who attends Orangefield Elementary School, has been riding since he was 4. With the help of sponsors such as Hushpuppy Seafood, Catfish Kitchen, EBR Race Suspension and Roost MX, Choate has had the opportunity to pursue his dreams. He has won more than 100 races in the last 2 years with most of his wins being first-place titles.
Clayson is just one of the more than 20,000 racers that made the long journey to Tennessee along with his parents, Van and Josette and his sister, Cameron. The race ran Aug. 2-7. He rode his way to be ranked 21st in his class, competing against racers from the United States and other countries. His parents said they are beyond proud of his accomplishment. Most riders that he battled are home-schooled, train every day and stay a lot of time on the road with trainers, so for him to be where he is – is unbelievable.
The track is built on a section of Loretta Lynn’s Ranch and Campground in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. The course contains a variety of jumps, corners and other obstacles designed to test the skills and stamina of the racers.
Most riders attend the event with the help of their families. In fact, many groups consider the event their family’s summer vacation. Besides races, the ranch provides family-friendly facilities including a game room, swimming pools, arts and crafts activities as well as a fashion and talent show.