At age 15, James Milson probably doesn’t know much about Loretta Lynn, the historical queen of country music.
But he is nonetheless excited about spending next week at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., to participate in the largest amateur motocross race in the world.
For the first time since 2009, the Granbury High sophomore will be among the field in the 31st Annual Red Bull American Motocross Association Amateur National Championships. He took on over 20,000 hopefuls from across America to earn one of the qualifying positions.
“I did okay in 2009, but this time I’m a lot more prepared and have gotten a lot faster since then,” said Milson, who enters the race following a recent pair of top-10 finishes at the Ponca City Grand Nationals in Florida.
Most of America’s top professional motocrossers will be at the event, while Milson will be competing in the amateur division. The race is so prestigious that, in 2009, teenage stars Dean Wilson and Eli Tomac were awarded premier pro contracts for the 2010 season based on their showings at Hurricane Mills.
“A win at the Amateur Nationals gives a rider instant national notoriety and can serve as a springboard to a lucrative professional motocross career,” said Tim Cotter, the event’s director.
Milson is hoping for something similar this year.
“If I can get a top-five finish, I get even more sponsorships for next year,” he said. “That opens all kinds of possibilities.”
Milson has been riding since he was age 4. He’s won approximately 50 races in the past seven years. He wants to compete on the professional circuit someday.
Milson qualified for the elite event by being one of the top finishers in area and regional competition.
The track is built on a section of Loretta Lynn’s Ranch and Campground. It contains a variety of jumps, corners and other obstacles. That, along with the intense competition, makes this one very challenging week, Milson said.
“It feels like 130 out there, and everybody who’s anybody is there wanting to win,” he said.
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