The Alamo Rodeo Grounds were lively Saturday morning as racers from all around the county, Northern Utah, Arizona and Las Vegas came to participate in the Yucca Chuckers 20th annual motorbike races.
The Yucca Chuckers first started as an idea from a few local dads who had kids getting into riding motorbikes. In order to compete in championships as part of the Motorcycle Racing Association of Nevada (MRAN), riders need to earn points as part of a club. They also need to run and host races to receive club points. The first race took place in November of 1997.
For the first time in nine years, the race was finally being hosted back in Alamo thanks to hard work from race organizers Todd Parker and JR Zanoth. In order for the race to happen, a lot of preparation had to take place and the time of year had to be just right.
According to Chris Carlton, a field manager with the BLM Caliente office, several steps had to be approved. After the race coordinator presented their race details for a special recreation permit, an environmental review was done to make sure the there were no environmental problems for event. Since part of the area is a desert tortoise habitat, a biologist and the fish and wildlife service needed to check and make sure the race would be safe for the habitat. Other steps included having gas mats under refueling stations, notifying the public about the land use prior to the race, having a permit from the county and BLM representatives present at the race to oversee things. Carlton went on to say, “We have a good relationship with the race promoters and enjoy being a part of the events and seeing them happen on public lands.”
Three races were run on Saturday. The first race spanned 15.9 miles and included twenty-three racers in the 85cc and 65cc expert, amateur and junior women class. Their ages ranged from 8 to 14 years old.
The second race involved fifteen 50cc and 65cc youth racers between the ages of 5 and 8. They looped around just the motorbike course for about 45 minutes until the white flag signaled their last lap to head towards the finish line.
The last race ran all big bikes on two 50-mile loops with a pit stop in between for experts and amateurs. Novice riders drove the loop once. One hundred nineteen racers hit the course, with perfect weather and great traction. First and second place winners of the AA Pro Class, who are also brothers, Axel and Tuffy Pearson, discussed their reason for riding. Tuffy, from Panaca, recounted how his dad and brothers used to race together and stated, “I love the freedom you have and how it isn’t really a team sport. It’s just you and the bike. I can enjoy myself and have fun.”
Axel, who now lives in Las Vegas related, “I love being out by myself in the desert. Riding takes you all over the world to see beautiful scenery.”
When talking with more riders, they all love that this is a family sport. Adam Conway and his wife, Krista, from Las Vegas, competed and he explained, “I love the family camaraderie.”
David Bean and his son Bailey Bean, both from Las Vegas, enjoy the relief that riding provides them. David said, “It gets me away from the grind and the work.”
Bailey Bean, who placed second in the Open Novice class, explained, “Riding makes you feel who you are as a person. It clears your mind and you just go. It is a great stress reliever to me.”
JR Zanoth added, “This was one of the smoothest races we’ve done. None of this would have been possible without all of the amazing Yucca Chuckers members and the Alamo townspeople for all the support and help.”
The race results for all riders can be found at http://www.moto-tally.com/mran/Results.aspx.