No matter your level of skill, if you’ve been lucky enough to grow up around dirtbikes, Loretta Lynn’s Ranch probably holds special meaning in your life. Whether you are a racer with multiple championships sitting on a shelf in the garage, have attempted an Area and/or Regional qualifier that are out of your league in an attempt to compete in the life changing amateur national in the C class but can never quite make it(it still hurts) or maybe just partake as a weekend warrior who cashes in that vacation time one week a year just to hold it down at the beer tent and watch the racing from the fence, these are sacred grounds, where many battles have been won and lost.
On August 21, 2021, over 10-15 inches of rain fell upon Waverly, TN, a location and town that’s very near and dear to the entire motocross community, as it houses the prestigious grounds of the Loretta Lynn’s Motocross course. As the historic rainfall came down, it caused mass destruction to the town, and many lives were lost, including one of Loretta’s ranch foreman, Wayne Spears, who we’ve considered motocross family for decades.
While the devastation was unimaginable, MX Sports and the motocross community have banded together to raise money for Waverly, TN and begin the massive project of rebuilding Loretta Lynn’s Ranch.
We are putting out a two-part docu-series on the rebuild (you can watch episode 1 below) but here is more on the project!
When you arrive at the Ranch and you begin to drive up the hill at the entrance, you get this feeling, one that is comparable to that tension you feel right before a gate drop—bone chilling adrenaline—but this time was much different for me. When I crested the entrance hill in my van with that same feeling described above… I saw nothing. The place was empty! The Ranch is usually filled with thousands of motorhomes from across the country, the smell of race fuel in the air, banners, and children wreaking havoc on golf carts, but nothing felt the same and for the first time I understood how much this community was impacted. It was sobering in a sense.
Changes to The Property
At first glance, I noticed that the track was still there but the structures around it had been affected the most. The mechanics area, starting gate paddock and billboard wall were completely gone and crews were arriving to rebuild (which they did so insanely fast! Great work by those boys). The entire area was covered by rocks and debris from the wall of water that had hit and the river was about 15-20 ft. (very rough guesstimate) wider than I had ever seen it!
The River That Made Us
After checking out the property and all of the things that had changed from the flood I was able to sit down with Tim Cotter, Davey Combs and a few others who spoke about the tragedy that the community had experienced. I was informed of the many organizations within our motocross community that had donated time, effort, money, and materials to help rebuild not only the ranch we race on each year, but as well as the community around it. The support had been amazing, but the biggest take away for me was: motocross is pure at its deepest roots, the people of this community are always there to lend a helping hand, even to a complete stranger. You’ve probably seen this in the pits at the races, as people are always willing to lend that tool you’re missing or a helping hand to get their own competitor’s bike fixed for the next moto coming up. But this time it was shown on a much larger scale.
When speaking with Davey about the flood, he told me “This ribbon of water that runs a mile and a half through this campground, connects everybody all week long and it doesn’t have any banners around it, it doesn’t have any lifeguards, it doesn’t have a fence, it’s for everybody.. and this is where motocross really comes together and I think that’s what brought a lot of people out to help contribute, to help donate, to help clean up. The river that causes all of this is also a big part of their lives, every bit as much as that motocross track” and as a person who has been coming to Loretta Lynn’s Ranch since a kid, that statement couldn’t ring truer.
Stay tuned for part 2 of our series coming soon.