Sports medicine goes moto

Sports medicine goes moto

Tommy Maxey’s arms didn’t feel right after buzzing and roaring around the bumps, jumps and turns of the dirt track at the 38th annual FMF GNC International Motocross Final Friday morning at Oak Hill Motocross.

ON-SITE CARE – Crystal Montgomery with Fit-N-Wise works on Tommy Maxey’s arm pump right after the 16-year-old raced at Oak Hill Motocross Friday morning in Decatur. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Located amid pastures between Decatur and Alvord, the track is miles from the nearest hospital. Fortunately for Maxey, who is a member of Team Horton’s amateur team, Wise Regional’s Fit-N-Wise had a complete sports performance and sports medicine team deployed at the racetrack throughout the event, which runs through Sunday.

Moments after stepping off his bike, Maxey was under the Fit-N-Wise tent receiving care for what physical therapist and trainer Tad Montgomery described as an arm pump, a type of compartment syndrome due to overuse of the arms.

Although Fit-N-Wise is an official sponsor of the five-man Team Horton, they are on hand to evaluate anyone during the race.

“We couldn’t ask for better people,” said Lexi Horton. “Fit-N-Wise works with our guys on training, nutrition and evaluating injuries. We want our riders to be 100 percent when they ride. If not, you can injure yourself even worse.”

Next to Maxey under the tent was a bi-lateral functioning knee brace by CTI. Knee injuries are notorious among motocross racers.

Health Team

HEALTH TEAM – Horton Racing’s amateur team is sponsored by Fit-N-Wise Sports Performance and Sport Medicine. Pictured (from left) are Cody Williams, Luke Renzland, Henry Miller, Tommy Maxey and John Short. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“About 80 percent of riders wear them,” Montgomery said. “Knees do so much of the work when you are on the ground and in the air.”

Behind the tent, the Fit-N-Wise team brought a small trailer complete with an X-ray machine. In just two days, they’d already looked at a couple of riders with broken clavicles.

“It’s a mini C-arm,” said Jake Plummer, an X-ray technician with Fit-N-Wise. “It uses almost no radiation, so it’s safe to use out here.”

Plummer demonstrates by placing his hand under the X-ray. The touchscreen displays his skeletal hand and even the motion as he makes a fist. Within a moment, it can print out a Polaroid-like photograph of the X-ray.

Such a complete medical station is normally reserved for professional motocross events.

“This is the first time there has been a tent like this at an amateur event,” Montgomery said. “And (Oak Hill) is the hub of youth motocross in North Texas.”

In a sport known for traumatic injury, any extra health care is boon for the young riders.

“In this sport, it’s not a matter of if you’re going to get hurt, but when,” Montgomery said.

At this event, at least, Fit-N-Wise sports performance and sports medicine is there when they fall.

Kicking Up Dirt

KICKIN’ UP DIRT – Tommy Maxey makes the dirt fly as he goes around a curve on the motocross track northwest of Decatur. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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Hahn to throw out first pitch

The accolades continue to pour in for Decatur Supercross racer Wil Hahn.

In May he capped off his 2013 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, and FIM World Championship, campaign by winning the Eastern Regional Class title.

Wednesday, he will throw out the first pitch at the Anaheim Angels and St. Louis Cardinals game in Anaheim.

“I am really excited to be throwing out the first pitch at the Angels game,” said Hahn. “This is something that many people dream about, and I am truly honored that they are giving me this opportunity.

“The whole season was a dream come true, but I would say my best memory is from my first win. That was an incredible feeling that I will never take for granted.”

Hahn never finished outside the top three on his way to his first championship of his career, winning two races, and earning an additional seven podiums.

The 2014 Monster Energy Supercross Championship will kick off at Angel Stadium on Jan. 4. Two additional races will take place Jan. 18 and Feb. 1.

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Reaves ‘smokes’ competition

As 13-year-old Cole Reaves approached the starting line, he was taunted by his older opponents.

“Hey, kid! You’re on the wrong line!”

“Get outta here!” the 20-year-olds hollered. “You’re gonna get buried.”

But the reserved McCarroll Middle School seventh grader just clutched his brand-new – but smaller – dirt bike and brushed off the trash-talk.

“No, this is my race,” he said.

YOUNG CHAMP - Thirteen-year-old Cole Reaves of Decatur sped past his opponents, most of them in their 20s, at the Texas Cross Country Racing Association race in Archer City March 3. Submitted photo

YOUNG CHAMP – Thirteen-year-old Cole Reaves of Decatur sped past his opponents, most of them in their 20s, at the Texas Cross Country Racing Association race in Archer City March 3. Submitted photo

He proved it. Reaves zipped past the 21 competitors – which is a huge race, the family points out – in a TCCRA (Texas Cross Country Racing Association) event March 3 in Archer City.

“He smoked them,” his grandmother, LeAnne Reaves, said. “Cole was in the trailer changing clothes when second place came in. Cole’s grandad heard some of the parents saying that their kid was first and so-and-so was second. Wrong.

“They were second and third,” she continued. “Only the flag man knew who won because no one was even at the finish line yet when Cole crossed it. They said they’d never seen anything like it.”

The win was his second for the day. For the first race, none of his competitors showed up. But Cole had to make the run and get timed.

“Obviously, he won,” LeAnne said.

In the next race, Cole raced his brand-new 2013 Action Motorsport KTM 105sx bike.

“Before the race he said, ‘This is the fastest bike I have ever been on’,” said his dad, Rollie. “So, a big thanks to Craig Martin at Action.”

The aforementioned wins are just a sample of the young rider’s success. Read more about his accomplishments in past Messenger articles – “Lettin’ dirt fly: Teen continues racing gold,” Dec. 19, 2012; “Reaves leading the pack,” March 13, 2011; and “Born to Ride: Reaves looks to finish perfect in TORO season,” Feb. 17, 2008.

“As Cole’s Grammy, I’m very proud,” LeAnne said. “I just wish it was golf, tennis or ping-pong. Or hey, what’s wrong with chess or maybe knitting?”

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Living the dream: Oldenburg rides into professional career

Living the dream: Oldenburg rides into professional career

Racing around the track in a practice session at Cowboy Stadium Thursday afternoon, Decatur’s Mitchell Oldenburg started seeing all his childhood dreams become reality.

Since the age of four he has been on a dirt bike, and Saturday night he will make his pro-debut at the age of 18 at the Monster Energy Supercross at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington.

PRO DEBUT - Decatur's Mitchell Oldenburg overlooks the supercross track at Cowboy Stadium where he will make his first professional start Saturday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

PRO DEBUT – Decatur’s Mitchell Oldenburg overlooks the supercross track at Cowboy Stadium where he will make his first professional start Saturday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“This is a dream come true, especially my first pro race being close to my hometown,” Mitchell said. “It’s a short drive, and I get to sleep in my own bed.

“It’s just awesome to be racing at Cowboy Stadium.”

When we last visited with Oldenburg back in July, he was preparing for the American Motorcyclists Association’s Amateur National Motorcross Championships in Tennessee. He came away with a second-place finish at the nation’s largest amateur event.

Oldenburg then raced in October at the Las Vegas Monster Cup-and started to weigh his options.

With his father, Jeff, who operates Oak Hill raceway near Alvord, they began pondering on Mitchell’s future.

Jeff moved his family from Minnesota five years ago and is the primary funding for Mitchell right now. He has been involved in the sport since 1973.

“We started debating if I should stay amateur or go pro,” he said. “We decided to go pro and see where I’m at.”

When Mitchell and his brother, McCoy, were 14 and 15 years old, respectively, Jeff asked them if they wanted to keep riding for fun or make a living doing it.

Both made the choice to work at becoming pro.

“It’s exciting watching the kid start at 4 years old and turning what he loves doing into a living,” Jeff said. “It takes a lot of dedication and hard work.”

McCoy is hoping to start racing again soon. He is still recovering from injuries while helping Mitchell in the pits.

After years of preparation, the Oldenburgs could not have planned for everything to come together for a pro start so close to home.

“You can plan for it all you want, but to make a debut an hour from home is awesome,” Jeff said. “And racing in Cowboy Stadium is fantastic.”

Most of Mitchell’s family still resides in Minnesota, but a lot of them will be watching him in the stands Saturday.

“Growing up in Minnesota I have a lot of family coming down,” Mitchell said. “We go back up there in April, so it’s nice having a lot of people supporting me.”

He’ll be relying on that support when the green flag drops, because Mitchell know this race will be different than any other.

“It will be nerve-racking for sure, but also exciting,” he said. “I’ve been working my whole life for this, and it’s make-or-break time for me.”

FLYING HIGH - Mitchell Oldenburg (right) takes his practice laps at Cowboy's Stadium in Arlington Thursday in preparation for Saturday's race. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

FLYING HIGH – Mitchell Oldenburg (right) takes his practice laps at Cowboy’s Stadium in Arlington Thursday in preparation for Saturday’s race. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

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Reaves leading the pack

Reaves leading the pack

ONE AND ONLY - For his perseverance, determination and character on and off the racing track, Cole Reaves, 11, of Decatur was awarded the Gildman Award by the Texas Off Road Nationals association. Out of the more than 600 competitors in the organization, Reaves will be the lone rider to display a gold plate with a red No. 1 this season. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

A Feb. 17, 2008, Messenger article highlighted the accomplishments of the young off-road and Motocross racer Cole Reaves of Decatur.

Little has changed in the three years since – Cole remains passionate about the sport, and he has continued his winning ways.

”He’s had three championships since we last talked to you,” his father Rollie said. “But the thing I’m most proud of is his Gildman Award.”

At their awards banquet in January, the Texas Off-Road Nationals (TORN) association recognized the 11-year-old for his sportsmanship, dedication, determination, strong work ethic, yearly improvement and attitude on and off the track.

Of the more than 600 association participants ranging from ages 6 to 60 (including professionals), Cole will be the lone rider bearing gold number plates with a red No. 1.

“When they called his name, it was awesome,” Rollie said. “We were pretty shocked.”

Cole also received an embroidered jacket and waived fees in TORN events.

The Gildman Award was the crown on top of a long list of accolades the Rann Elementary fifth grader has collected since 2008.

In the 2010 season alone, he earned a full sponsorship by Action Motor Sports in Decatur and won the first two races of the season.

The week before his third race, Cole broke his collar bone in a Motocross race. Despite not being fully healed, Cole was determined to compete in following races to avoid losing points.

“Two weeks later, it was time for the fourth TORN race, and Cole really wanted to race so he went,” Rollie said. “Cole was going to take it easy and just pick up some points. However, he pushed it a little and got third.”

Cole finished the season with five more first-place finishes and despite the injury, won the TORN 50cc expert championship, the Action Motor Sports Team Championship and third place in the 65cc class races.

“I think that may have been one of the reasons they gave him the award,” Rollie continued. “He fought through that, faced his fear and got right back at it.”

During the last three years, he has placed in the top three in close to fifty races, winning the 2008 Texas Off-Road Racing Organization 50cc expert championship and the 2009 Texas Cross Country Racing Organization 50cc expert championship.

He began the 2011 TORN season in Cole fashion with a second-place finish a couple of weeks ago.

“He had the fastest lap of the race, but he went down,” Rollie said. “He did really good, except for that one place he went down.”

The season continues with 12 races through December.

Although he favors TORN races for the level of competition, the track design and the friends he’s made, he also participates in other styles of racing including Motocross for which he will compete in nationals next week.

“He prefers to off-road but in between those races, we try to ride somewhere else,” Rollie said. “He’s not as comfortable running Motocross because 95 percent of his experience has been in the woods, off-road racing.”

In addition to dirt bike racing, Cole competes in pee wee football and is involved at First Baptist Church on Wednesday and Grace Fellowship Church in Paradise.

These activities, paired with the involvements of his sisters (Morgan, 8, and Lauren, 7,) in softball, basketball and horse riding, keep his parents busy.

“We’re just on the go,” Rollie said. “My wife has a calendar, that I make fun of, but without it, we’d be lost.”

Changes in the past three years have only enhanced his style.

“His drive to compete has changed,” Rollie said. “Every year, he’s getting more and more competitive. He’s always been competitive, but his competitive drive keeps getting higher.”

Despite his additional years of experience, uneasiness still plagues his family.

“Grandad, my dad (Rollie), says he doesn’t get nervous, but Grammy (LeAnne) has been to maybe one race,” Rollie said. “She’s really supportive, but she’s also real nervous about watching it. And my wife (Terri) – the same way. She’s real supportive, but it’s very nerve-racking watching it. They have a hard time.

“I guess the more he’s ridden and the better he’s gotten, I’m less nervous. But at the same time, the more he grows up, the faster he gets, and the bigger the bikes get.”

However, advancing in bike size brings him success.

“The 85-bike is just something for him to get some experience because he’s so small on the bike,” his sponsor Craig Martin said. “He’s in his prime right now to be a champion on the 65 – age-wise, size-wise.”

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Throwing dirt: Beavers, Oldenburg blaze trail to motocross’ signature event

Throwing dirt: Beavers, Oldenburg blaze trail to motocross’ signature event

BLAZING A TRAIL TO TENNESSEE - Local motocross riders Seth Beavers and McCoy Oldenburg are heading to Loretta Lynn's for the world's largest amateur motocross event. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Sliding into the hairpin turn, a cloud of dirt flies into the air. As the small clods start to hit the ground on the course at Oak Hill, McCoy Oldenburg accelerates up the hill that sends him gliding majestically through the air before plummeting to the ground.

Once again, he’s cleared the thin line between thrilling and disaster.

“People do drugs to feel this way,” said the 17-year-old motocross racer. “This is my drug.”

KICKING UP DIRT - Seth Beavers spins out of a turn at Oak Hill MX Park last week. Beavers is making his first trip to Loretta Lynn's. Messenger Staff

Oldenburg and his friend and training partner Seth Beavers, 16, will be testing themselves and machines against the nation’s best amateur motocross racers at the 29th annual AMA Championships at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. Aug. 2-7. Only 1,386 riders qualify for the prestigious event.

To Oldenburg, who has lined up at the starting line with 39 other racers to battle for the right line around the first turn, Loretta Lynn’s is just another race.

“Everyone puts a lot of stress on about it and there’s a lot of hype, but it’s another race,” Oldenburg said.

His father, Jeff, captured a title at the event.

To Beavers, who will be feeling that rush of adrenaline at the starting gate of the amateur pinnacle of his sport for the first time, it’s everything.

“Loretta’s the top race,” Beavers said.

This trip to the hallowed racing grounds in Tennessee for Beavers means a lot to him because it comes in his last year in the C class where he will race in the 450 and 250 stock events. It also completes the long journey he’s been on since July 7, 2009 when his dreams of racing on the biggest stage were dashed in the final days of practicing.

“I got crossed up and landed with my foot out,” Beavers recalls.

The crash was followed by screams of pain that his friend remembers.

“We thought you were dying,” Oldenburg said.

The horrifying crash broke Beavers’ patella tendon, cracked his knee cap, tore his medial collateral ligament and ripped other tendons, all of which needed surgical repair along with rods and screws being placed in the leg.

His dream of racing at Loretta Lynn’s for the year was over. According to doctors, so was his career on the bike.

But working hard through physical therapy, Beavers proved those early forecasts wrong. By January he was back on the 450 cc bike. In March, he was at the 34th annual GNC International Motocross Final at Oak Hill, racing and winning.

“My leg is not completely healed,” Beavers said. “Physically, I had lost it all.”

Mentally, he had to overcome the fear of another crash. It’s something he’s only recently been able to tackle with the help of his father, Shane Beavers, and Jeff Oldenburg.

“I just needed to get my heart into it,” Beavers said. “I was scared that I was going to crash again. I have to dig down deep into me and know that I can do it.”

McCoy Oldenburg himself has experienced an injury that kept him out of Loretta Lynn’s. In 2008 at Ponca in the last moto – only a week before heading to Tennessee – he broke his arm.

He recovered to make his debut at the event last year. This year, he will be racing in the 250 and 450 modified intermediate.

Throughout the summer riding has been the teenagers’ life, riding for four hours or more nearly every day.

“You have to be dedicated and ride,” Beavers said. “You just can’t be here every now and then. You have to eat and sleep motocross.”

Oldenburg added: “You put a lot of time, effort and heart into it.”

While riding remains a passion, it’s been more like a job over the past few years for Oldenburg, who has his sights set on becoming a professional.

“I don’t want to work at Wendy’s,” he said. “I’d rather make my money doing what I love. My goal is going pro, being successful and making money.

“It’s what I’ve always dreamed about. It’s what I was put here to do.”

Beavers shares some of his aspirations, but he’s trying to soak in the experience and enjoy the ride.

“I’d like to go pro, but there’s a lot of people with more talent,” he said. “I’m not looking at it as a job. It’s more of a life experience, and I’m out here having a blast.”

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