A Family Tradition
family gears up for
2012 race season
plays hosts to mud runs
and motocross races
BEDFORD, Ky. (June 2012) Most families wash their
hands and bond over the dinner table. The Howard family connects in
the dirt and mud at motorsports tracks.
Cleveland and Debbie Howard of Milton, Ky., and their friends, Tom and
Mindy Matthews, envisioned a place where their children and grandchildren
could enjoy the outdoors together. Now in its second year of holding
motocross races and its seventh year of mud runs, Nickota Motorsports
Park is the culmination of that vision.
2012 MX races
June 3: Kentuckiana Series
June 22: At Trimble Co. Park
Aug. 5: Kentuckiana Series
Sept. 9: Kentuckiana Series
Sept. 22: Nick Howard Memorial Race
Nickota Motorsports is located at 373 Bucks Run Rd., Bedford,
www.Nickota Motorsports.com or call Cleveland Howard at (502)
525-1167 or Tom Matthews at (502) 525-1507.
Nickota will play host to the fifth race in the Kentuckiana
Motocross Championship Series on June 3 at 373 Bucks Run Rd., in Bedford,
Cleveland became interested in motocross as a child. He said the sport
appeals to all ages. Riders usually start riding at a young age and
develop skills over time, getting family members interested in the competition.
Three generations now enjoy motorsports and are involved in Nickota,
making it the epitome of a family-operated venue. From maintaining the
dirt track and bog pits throughout the year to selling tickets at events
and cheering on riders, everybody has a job, said Cleveland.
Named for the Howards and the Matthews children, Nick Howard
and Dakota Parks, Nickota is not the only motorsports operation in the
Bedford area. However, turning a profit does not motivate the Howards.
Its a big family affair, Debbie said. Thats
what its all about. Our biggest thing is keeping the prices low
for the families to come. Its really nice to see so many families
Debbie said since opening the motocross track at Nickota, motocross
people are my family. I spend more time with them than biological family.
Four mud runs for trucks and four motocross races take place every year.
Mud runs are held on either a speed pit or a deeper bog pit and divided
into two classes according to tire size. Motocross bikers race on dirt
tracks with curves, hills and jumps. In the Howards estimation,
the tracks at Nickota afford riders an equal challenge.
Proceeds from the events go toward year-round maintenance and updates
for the tracks. Cleveland says he takes soil samples and tests the clay
content of the mud track so ensure the right conditions for mud runs.
The Nick Howard Memorial Race in September highlights the season. Nickotas
most popular event, the race is held in memory of national championship
rider Nick Howard, who died in a vehicle accident in 2008. Nick
was so well-known in the motocross community, Debbie said. Racers
from all over turn out.
In the past two years, they have given away a new motocross bike in
Cleveland said he expects a good year for the Kentuckiana series. The
number of riders has picked up this year, he said.
Top riders in their respective race classes include Josh Bixler of Scottsburg,
Ind., Lucas Hammons of Pendleton, Ky., Ryan Withered of Madison, Ind.,
and Dylan Skaggs of La Grange, Ky.
During weekends without a scheduled event, Nickota plays host to open
practices for riders to get a feel for the tracks. Riders pay a practice
fee of $10 but may camp out in the park free of charge.
Motocross is popular in Trimble County, said Cleveland, and now Nickota
draws people from outside the Kentuckiana area. He anticipates high
attendance at the races in the 2012 season. And contrary to outsiders
expectations, he said mud runs arent just a few guys in
trucks. Everybody gets a little something out of it.
Through Nickota, the Howards and the Matthews work to give back to the
community by holding benefit races to aid local charities and to raise
funds for racers to attempt motocross camp. They also organize canned
food drives at the last mud run of the season.
Plans for the parks future are still in progress. The owners want
to eventually expand beyond motorsports and promote other park activities,
such as camping and fishing on their property. A playground, permanent
restrooms and other amenities are also among their ultimate goals.
Cleveland said he is confident that they will be able to share the fun
he has with his family. Everything is coming together, but it
takes time, he said.
For the June 3 event, the gates open at 7 a.m., and the race starts
at 10 a.m. Tickets are $10. Children five-years-old and younger enter
for free. Parking is available on-site.
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