By Morgan Klinker and Will Burgess
Every year in Hurricane Mills, TN, hundreds of motocross riders come to Loretta Lynn’s Ranch to test their mettle against the best of the best in the amateur motocross world at the Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship.
But the unlikely connection between Loretta Lynn, the prolific country singer/songwriter from Nashville, known for her sassy lyrics and feminist anthems, and her aspirations to build a motocross track on her sprawling 3,000-acre ranch might surprise you!
Loretta Lynn began her music career in 1960 when she wrote her songs about love, war, and women’s rights, as well as the everyday struggles of being a wife and mother. These personal challenges and experiences in her life made her music raw and relatable, and people were drawn to her.
Lynn joined the cast of The Grand Ole Opry only two years after releasing her first song, and the Coal Miner’s Daughter later went on to win hundreds of awards for her music that was directed towards empowering women.
After the success of several chart topping albums and singles, including “You Ain’t Woman Enough (to Take my Man)”, Lynn purchased her ranch in 1966. But it wasn’t until 1982 that Dave Coombs, a former rock and roll guitarist and teacher, as well as avid motocross rider approached Lynn about making use of her expansive property for his next big idea.
Dave Coombs, a teacher by profession, was also on the rock and roll stage for decades, in addition to juggling a plethora of side jobs. Yet in the 1970s, his love for riding motorcycles always outshined these passions. After a few years, he put down the guitar and started riding full time while substitute teaching as a day job.
Coombs helped create the Blackwater 100, AKA: the 100-Miler Series, one of the most challenging rides which eventually became the Grand National Cross-Country Series.
Following these successes Coombs decide to create a national race that riders from all over the country could come to and be on a level playing field; enter the infamous Loretta Lynn’s Ranch.
Lynn’s ranch had some of the most open, flat tracts of land in the area, which made it ideal for building the whoops and jumps of a motocross track. Lynn was receptive to Coombs plan and in 1982 she agreed to open the inaugural Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Championship, affectionally know in the MX world as “Loretta’s”.
Every year, thousands of motocross riders across the United States race and train from April to June to qualify and get a ticket to compete at Loretta’s. This track is only open for one week in August, making it not only unique but also a challenging course for everyone; no one has an upper hand.
There are 36 classes, with each class consisting of 42 riders that compete for 20-minutes and an additional two laps after that.
The races at Loretta’s is where many amateurs turn to pro riders. Rick Carmichael rode his last amateurs’ race at Loretta’s before becoming a pro, Mike Alessi and James Stewart each won seven titles at the ranch, and Ryan Dungey started his pro career there as well.
In true “if you build it, they will come” fashion, this year, the ranch will draw thousands of spectators, from August 2 to August 7, for the signature AMA race, and to celebrate the great accomplishments of Loretta Lynn and Dave Coombs.
From 1982 until now, there is never a dull moment for riders preparing and riding at Loretta’s. Lynn’s legacy will forever live on because of her empowering music and because of Coombs courage to get on a bike and bring his dreams to life at the ranch.
For more about Loretta’s, we encourage you to visit www.LorettaLynn.com and https://www.wewentfast.com/…/07/29/the-ballad-of-big-dave/
Morgan Klinker is a journalist with Adrenaline Powersports Mag
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