Revisiting the Iconic Loretta Lynn MX Track One Year After Devastating Flood

By Will Burgess

Hurricane Mills, Tenn β€” The Monster Energy Amateur National Motocross National Championship at Loretta Lynn Ranch, went off without a hitch this month in Hurricane Mills, Tenn.

Homes in the town of Waverly, Tenn. and nearby communities are inundated in a August 21, 2021 flood after over a foot of rain fell across the river basin watershed. | Source: Tennessee Emergency Management Agency via NOAA.gov

The fate of 41st annual race, affectionately known as Loretta’s, was in question last year as only two weeks after the 2021 event, a devastating flood hit Humphreys County, home to the Ranch and the town of Waverly which took the biggest brunt of the flooding damage.

Twenty victims perished in the August 21, 2021 flood, including Wayne Spears, Foreman of Lynn Ranch, who was tending to animals in the barns as the flood waters were rising, according to County Sheriff, Chris Davis.

Wayne Spears, Foreman of Lynn Ranch, perished in the August 21 flash flood while tending to animals in the ranch barns. | Source: Loretta Lynn MX

The town of Waverly became inundated with seventeen inches of water in the record-breaking flood event. A year later, the town still shows signs of flooding with many homes and businesses damaged beyond repair.

So too did the floodwaters ravage the Lynn Ranch, only eight miles away down the Trace Creek watershed that experienced a rapid increase in levels during the flood following a large thunderstorm event.

Lynn Ranch sits on the Hurricane Creek and tributaries, shown below.

Flooding devastates the town of Waverly, Tenn. and nearby Coal Miners Daughter Museum at Loretta Lynn Ranch (pictured), which sits on a portion of Hurricane Creek, after experiencing a record breaking increase of river water levels | credit: Loretta Lynn MX

In the weeks after the disaster, several initiatives and relief charities emerged to rebuild the communities left devastated in the wake. Among these, Racers 4 Waverly and Operation Ranch Rebuild, came together to help both the town of Waverly and its residents, and the Lynn Ranch in rebuilding the iconic motocross track in time for the 2022 race.

Volunteers with Racers 4 Waverly present donation checks to at an April 2022 event in Waverly, Tenn. | source: Racers 4 Waverly

“Since then, we’ve rallied the motocross community to come together in benefit of those who need our help the most and have raised more than $350,000 through our β€˜Racers 4 Waverlyβ€˜ fundraising initiative with the Road 2 Recovery Foundation,” said Tim Cotter Event Director, MX Sports, the group organizing the recovery efforts.

Loretta Lynn also spearheaded a benefit concert, the Loretta Lynn’s Friends Hometown Rising at the Grand Ole Opry, in Nashville, Tenn., raising nearly $1 million for flood victims.

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman onstage at the Loretta Lynn’s Friends Hometown Rising Benefit Concert signing a guitar for a spontaneous auction to raise funds for victims of the Southern Tennessee floods in August 2021 | source: LorettaLynn.com

Following the fundraising efforts, teams of construction crews and laborers volunteered their efforts to restore the track, and the Yamaha Motor Corporation Headquarters in Georgia also donated heavy equipment to aid in the repair that went underway in June.

This August, what felt impossible twelve short months ago, was realized when Loretta’s opened to a new track and a fresh start. Nearly all of the buildings have been rebuilt or restored, but the work continues for both volunteers at the Ranch and in Waverly, as well.
In a few short months the Annual Fall Off-Road Trail Ride, open to dirt bike and ATV riders alike, will be coming to the over 20 miles of trails on the Ranch as reconstruction continues.

Racers 4 Waverly is still accepting donations for the people of Waverly, Tenn. and surrounding communities.
You can learn more about Racers 4 Waverly at the Road2Recovery website: https://road2recovery.com/cause-view/racers-4-waverly/

Will Burgess is a journalist with Adrenaline Powersports Mag

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