Troy Dog’s Shack: I Signed Ezra Hastings to the Squad

I made the announcement in June about the signing of Ezra Hastings to the Troy Dog Squad, but then before we could get our abbreviated summer national tour going, Hastings tore his ACL right before his first round at Thunder Valley. It was a bummer for him because he had just recovered from ACL/MCL surgery. It’s to a point where I can’t even keep track on which leg is which anymore. Hastings was absolutely grinding for this summer’s nationals and I had to scoop him up for the Squad. 

Why did I choose EZ Dog to be an ELITE athlete and represent my Squad? Well, I’m glad you asked. EZ and his family are like family to me. I still see his dad Billy from time to time and it’s always great to catch up with him. The Hastings are local to me and I used to spend A LOT of time riding at their backyard track with EZ who was on a Cobra 50 at the time and his older brother Josh, who is my age. I’m certain that EZ Dog learned how to be fast from following me around all those years. When I wasn’t riding at their house, EZ’s mom would always be cooking us food and we’d be hanging out in the garage watching Billy build bikes.

Now here is the really cool part of this story. In 2007 when vurbmoto officially launched, I was on the website everyday waiting for new content to drop. I remember being in high school watching Vurb content and totally thinking that I needed to be a member of this crew. So, in 2008 the Hastings packed me up in their motorhome to head to Mini O’s. It was the first amatuer national that I had ever been to and it was everything I imagined it would be and more. I went up to vendor row and saw the Vurb setup and I just remember no one ever being out to sell merch or anything. I wanted to meet Wes and Travis Steward and I never saw them once. I ended up having an amazing week and explored that facility with new friends I made. We had an entire Ohio crew there and it truly was an amazing experience.

In 2009 I came back to Mini O’s prepared. Before the event I sent the now infamous Facebook hail mary to Travis Steward and he actually responded back the next morning. I couldn’t believe it! I figured this guy got messages like this all the time, why would he answer me? He invited me to come help and film the event. I was already set to drive down with the Hastings family again anyway, so why not try to network? I drove my own truck down with my trusty 2009 RMZ-250 in the back because we were stopping at MTF and Waldo along the way and I had never ridden a Florida track before. I’ll never forget that we left around dinnertime to start our drive in Aurora, Indiana and we drove through the night to get to MTF. I remember around 2 a.m. eating almost an entire family sized bag of Cool Ranch Doritos because we didn’t even stop for food. Billy is gnarly like that. We stopped at a truck stop and got a half hour of sleep. I was still in my driver’s seat for this incredible nap, then I was awoken by Billy pounding on my window and saying, “You good?”

We arrived at MTF and from there the rest of the trip was awesome. I’ll write about this trip again around Mini O’s time, but the point I wanted to make in this column is: without the Hastings family I would never have made it in this industry. I would never have been the CEO of Vurb, worked at Racer X, or PulpMx. I owe the Hastings family a lot for my success. So, when Ezra said he was making a comeback to race some 450 nationals this summer I knew it was time for us to come full circle. I signed him for the summer. Although his knee popped before the season started he still gave it a valiant effort and headed to Colorado to give it his best. He had put in too much work to just throw in the towel without trying. He ended up having to go to the LCQ and finished fifth in that, but still ended up being an alternate for the second moto. His knee gave away while running mid-pack on his GASGAS 450. On June 30, EZ had surgery on his torn ACL and they will have to go back in for a second surgery in a couple of weeks. Although his summer is over, it was cool to have EZ Dog on the Squad. If and when he rides again he can always count on being in my Squad. Thank you EZ Dog and your family for helping me get to where I am today. You guys are SQUAD for life.

Written by Troy Dog

Faster than Slaw Dog. Editor-in-Chief

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