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Brody CookBrody Cook, 5, plans to compete in the national motocross championships later this month in Tennessee. (Submitted photo)
While a lot of youngsters have yet to learn how to ride a bike at age 5, Brody Cook is getting ready to compete in the world’s largest dirt bike championships.
A first-grader at Christ the King elementary school who will turn 6 on July 19, Brody has qualified for the 32nd annual Red Bull AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch and Campground in Hurricane Mills, Tenn., July 29-Aug. 3.
“The Amateur Nationals at Loretta Lynn’s is the event every motocross racer in the country wants to compete,” said event director Tim Cotter. “A win at the Amateur Nationals gives a rider instant national exposure and can serve as a springboard to a lucrative professional motocross career.”
The race is so prestigious that it became part of the Red Bull Signature Series airing on NBC television last year and this year will be aired live for the first time ever on NBC.
The son of Josh and Mindy Cook of Kansas City, Kan., Brody got his motocross start at the age of 2 when his father was offered a four-wheeler as part of some work he had done. While Brody took right to it, his father did not.
“Four wheelers scare me because they can tip over so easily,” said Josh, who compromised by getting Brody a dirt bike – with training wheels.
“He didn’t like it that he was the only one competing with training wheels but I told him he didn’t know how to ride a bike,” Josh Cook said. “He said, yes he did. So I told him if he could ride without training wheels, I’d take them off. We went up to the church parking lot and he just took off like he’d been riding all his life.”
Since then, he’s been on a fast track. Finishing ninth in an Arena Motocross event in Las Vegas, he was the fastest 4-year-old in the nation last year.
This year, he’s competed in events in nine states culminating with area and regional qualifiers for the Loretta Lynn Nationals.
“We wanted to see how he could do against the best kids,” Josh Cook said. Qualifying for the national meet required finishing in the top six in both the area and regional meets, both of which were held in Illinois. Competing against 24 area qualifiers in Byron, Ill., Brody’s fourth place finish earned him a berth in the national where he’ll be competing in the 50cc 4-6 limited class against the top six finishers in six regional meets.
Competing around the nation enabled Brody to pick up a sizeable fan following and a quartet of sponsors, Cycle Gear, Barefoot Defiance Racing, EKS goggles and Honda of Tiffany Springs. Brody, who has a brother, Jackson, can be followed on Facebook @ Brody Cook MX.
More than 20,000 hopefuls from across the U.S. have spent the last four months vying for 1,446 qualifying positions in 30 age and skill categories. Racers may enter a wide variety of classes, from minicycle for children as young as four all the way up to a senior division for riders over 50. In addition, there are classes for women for both stock and modified bikes.
The course at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch contains a variety of jumps, corners and other obstacles designed to test the skills and stamina of the racers. Besides races, the ranch provides family-friendly facilities including a game room swimming pools, arts and crafts activities and fashion and talent shows.