[Slaw note: Despite his wife going into labor last week with their second little doggie, Troy Dog still turned in his weekly column. I, on the other hand, was busy with Mini O’s, so we didn’t post it. Anyway, congrats to Troy Dog and his wife and their new baby, Samuel Duke!]
It’s Thanksgiving week [Slaw note: No longer Thanksgiving week], and as you might know, a very sentimental week for Troy Dog. It’s the week I started in this dirt bike media game 11 long years ago. I have A LOT to be thankful for in my life. I could choose to write about it all, like my family, being reunited with the Vurb dogs or materialistic items. Nah, screw that crap. This Thanksgiving [Slaw note: No longer Thanksgiving] I want to give thanks to one man. A man by the name of Kyle Chisholm.
I know you’re a bit confused right now but let me explain. When I was 13, Chisholm turned pro and I was a super fan of James Stewart at the time. When ESPN2 announced that he was a FOB [Friend of Bubba] I immediately started paying attention to his results. I wanted to see Chiz do well.
Fast forward to 2009, when Kyle was Stew’s teammate on the L&M Yamaha and I was so mad when Chad Reed got into Chiz’s way at Salt Lake City. Like bro, Kyle is riding here. Don’t you see that, Chad?
As I watched Chiz through the years, he just kept on Chizzing and earned himself the number 11 forever. Seriously, good luck taking the number from him because he’s never going to retire, which is fine to me.
At RedBud in 2011 I got even closer to finally meeting the dude that I had become such a fan of. I was working that event with Chilidog, Bird Dog, and a few other Vurb dogs and Bird Dog came into the press tent with Chisholm’s goggles and set them on the table. Chiz had dropped them after the moto. They sat there for at least a half hour and then I shoved them in my backpack. I took them and I’m not sorry about it.
For a few more years Chiz and Troy Dog went about our lives. In 2015 I was scooped up by Steve Matthes to write a weekly column for PulpMx. Steve wanted me to get interviews and write small features on the site every week. My first story? A behind the scenes look at Team Ch1z, the one-man privateer band that brought shivers to all the factory teams. It’s just Chiz in a motorhome, riding a Kawasaki, and whooping that ass.
During this story process I had a two-hour interview with The Man himself, when it was supposed to be like a half hour session. I called him on my way up to a night class in college and ended up sitting in the parking lot asking him questions and I just skipped the three-hour class all together. If you know Kyle, you know that he leaves NO stone left unturned in explanation.
That same year I interned with the Racer X crew at the Indianapolis SX. It was the first time I met Steve. Slaw Dog told me to creepily follow Steve around and watch him get scoops. So, I did. You know the first place we went? Kyle Chisholm’s motorhome. You wanna know who opened the door without knocking? Troy Dog… behind Steven of course. He was cool, he thanked me for the story, Steve called me Creepy Troy, and we all talked about Clif Bars.
I did a few interviews over the next couple of years with Kyle and we eventually just stopped talking about dirtbikes at some point and started chatting about real life and jobs or our families. I interviewed him when he told me his wife was expecting the first time. We chatted when mine was expecting our first.
Before the Ironman National in 2017 I told Chiz that I had a pair of goggles of his that I had stolen a few years prior. He said to swing by his truck that day and he would sign them. Sure enough I went up to the tent, he invited me in the truck, he signed them, and then asked me if I needed a ride up to watch practice. He practically adopted me that day.
Then in 2019 I became the direct contact with a sponsorship deal between HEP Suzuki—the team I’m signed with now—and the dealership I work for in real life: Haag Ford. My dude Chiz and I got to bro down like old times. At the end of the day he was in the truck in just compression shorts signing items for fans. I’d somehow gotten the job of giving the item to Kyle from the fans outside the truck in between talking to him about the race. He thanked me for sponsoring the team that weekend and we had a good conversation… when he put clothes on. That’s the type of dude he is: signing autographs immediately after the race concludes while debriefing the race…erm literally. Oh yeah, and he told me he didn’t remember my Team Ch1z article. It’s fine. Is someone chopping onions in here?
Today, Chiz and I check in on one another from time to time. He will send me a text every now and then and send me messages on Instagram. Chiz is the only rider in this business who has really done that and stayed in contact with me. Take notes dudes: if you want a random Thanksgiving [Slaw note: No longer Thanksgiving] column you gotta be like Chiz.
He stays busier than most of you by training, riding, being a dad, renovating houses, and making sure all his racing efforts are on point—including all the sponsors he has. He’s got all this going on and he still checks on his Troy Dog from time to time.
Thank you Kyle Chisholm for being a class act to the media the past 16 years. We know that you give very thought-out answers, and we appreciate not talking to a wall. Also, racing truly wouldn’t be the same without you giving it a really good Chizzing. We will see you in 2021.
Main image: FXR