Mikey Sandidge starts kindergarten next week, but last month he was thinking about his career. The Spring Hill five-year-old competed in the 34th Annual Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship in Tennessee.
His father, Mike Sandidge said if they qualify again next year, they’ll be going back.
“We probably spend at least 20 hours per week practicing and we tour the country,” he said.
The annual event, hosted at country music star Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., pits 1,482 motocross riders in one of the largest amateur motocross races in the world.
“The amateur nationals at Loretta Lynn’s is the event every motocross racer in the country wants to compete in,” event director Tim Cotter said. “A win at the amateur nationals gives a rider instant national notoriety and can serve as a springboard to a lucrative professional motocross career.”
Several of America’s top professional motocrossers including James Stewart, Ricky Carmichael, Travis Pastrana and Ryan Dungey have won AMA Amateur National Championships at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch.
Sandidge has been riding since he was 3 years old. He won 22 races and two championships in the last two years. He is one of more than 22,000 who spent the last four months qualifying for the amateur championships. Racers entered in a variety of classes from minicycle classes, like the one in which Sandidge competed, all the way up to the senior division for riders over 50 years old.
The track is built on a section of Loretta Lynn’s Ranch and Campground in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. The course contains a variety of jumps, corners and other obstacles designed to test the skills and stamina of the racers. Sandidge competed in the highly competitive 4-6 year old special limited class at the event July 28 – Aug. 1. He placed 17th.
Just like the professionals, Sandidge was able to make the trek to Tennessee for the event with the assistance of sponsors including Letko Cycle, Dunlop, Nihilo, Ogio and ACS Concrete. Sponsors helped Sandidge pay his way to the race. His family, who recently moved from Gardner to Spring Hill, traveled with him to the event.
The race action was broadcast live at www.racertv.com. NBC Sports Network will feature highlights of the event during broadcasts on Oct. 11 and Oct. 18. The first highlight reels will appear on NBC Sports Network at 3 p.m. on Oct. 11. They will appear again at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 18.
Sandidge is the son of Mike and Jessica Sandidge of Spring Hill and the grandson of Sandy and Ted Sandidge of Olathe.