After years of competing in freestyle motocross, Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg felt the need to give back to the sport that gave him what he has now. So, last year he created the first ever amateur freestyle contest called Riders Above Dirt, or RAD. The event was a huge success, which is why he promoting another event for 2012 called the Dirt Bike Kidz Pro-Am Amateur Contest. The event will be held at the Lucas Oil Motocross Park on December 7th and 8th from 11-3. We also caught up with Twitch to learn more.
So, you’ve gone from a pioneer of freestyle, to an X-Games gold medalist, and now you’re a promoter of sorts. Tell me about that.
I’m just trying to give back to my sport. I had an amateur freestyle contest last year called Riders Above Dirt, and I did that because there’s no other way for amateur kids to get recognized in FMX. So, I took it upon myself to hold another event this year at the Lucas Oil MX Park, and we’re calling it the Dirt Bike Kidz Pro-Am Amateur Contest.
What classes are there? Can people pre-enter? Can you enter the day of?
All of the kids that had entered last year were given priority registration for this year because we’re cutting off the list at 50 riders—I think last year it was 60. Within the first week, though, the entry list filled up. This year we’re doing things a little different, too. Last year some of the kids were put on a flow program with a couple different companies, but this year I’m actually taking money out of my own pocket to put up a purse. I want them to be able to compete when they know there’s money line. Obviously, I don’t want them to get hurt by doing this, but I want them to feel acknowledged for their work. There’s also going to be a big pro demo, and a giant BBQ. We’re there for the fans, and we just want to have a good time!
What is the furthest someone traveled to your event last year?
We had one kid come from Mexico City, and I think we had three people from Canada! Like, kids were coming from everywhere, and it was so cool to see that! You just send an email out, and bam they’re there. So, that makes it fun, and I’m looking forward to this year’s event.
Where do you draw the line between pro-am and amateur when you’re accepting entries?
We actually watch the rider’s videos, and you can usually tell. If the rider has made money riding, we consider them to be pro-am. If a kid doesn’t get any support whatsoever, they’re definitely an amateur. Last year, we had a couple of kids try to say that they were an amateur, but we were like, “Yeah right. You’re a pro, and you would crush those guys.”
Wasn’t there some original rule where you couldn’t do any backflips?
At first they tried to do that, but I pulled the plug on that idea. I used to get pissed off when I would go to competitions and they would tell me that I couldn’t flip. I would tell them, “Bullshit, I worked my ass off to learn these 15 flip variations, and I’m going to do them all!” So, I basically told them that if they felt they could flip, then go for it! I know there’s one kid that’s going to be there this year that wants to do a body varial!
Has last year’s pro-am winner gone anywhere in the “pro” class this year?
Actually he’s been doing a lot of demos, and he’s been staying at my house to get ready for this event. But he just injured himself yesterday [laughs].
Is there an award show at the end like last year?
No, there won’t be an award show this year because we didn’t have enough time to plan it out. This year we just wanted to do an amateur contest, but next year is going to be huge!
The flyer shows that this is a two-day event. How do those two days work?
The first day is going to be practice, and we’re going to be out there riding with all of the kids. So, that should be a lot of fun for everyone. The next day will be the serious day.
For a spectator, the day to come would be Saturday, right?