Most of the time I stick to trending topics in the sport and I go back into our vault to find a video of a rider from back in the day to show how far they have come. This week I’m switching it up and I’m going to focus on a person who is always relevant and just a really great person: Jessy Nelson.
Story time! This column is based upon Nelson and this video is from the week of this story. For background information, I will say quickly that Ryan Walters told me what classes to film and that’s what I did. I used a Sony HVX and he used his Canon 7D and you can tell the difference in quality. This song and vibe is a hit. We see glimpses of Jeremy Martin, Justin Hill, the vendor row referenced later on, Bryce Stewart, and Kyle Wolack. We were just kids filming other kids on dirt bikes really.
Back in March of 2010, I was at Oak Hill amatuer national helping out this dirt bike website. It was during this weird period of life for me. On one hand I knew I had to get my butt in gear and get started in life, while on the other hand, I wanted to work in the motocross industry. I had no ties at home in Cincinnati, Ohio and I was a line cook at my dad’s restaurant. So, I’d just show up to all of the events that the Vurb crew was at and just worked my butt off. I met everyone that I could and have kept in touch with most of them to this day.
Around Thursday, after being at the track almost a week I couldn’t eat anymore Easy Mac, or burgers from the vendor lane. I was 20 years old with like $10 left in my pocket and no car to get off of the property. Up until that point of the week the weather had been overcast and cold as hell. I needed a meal and I needed a change of scenery. I met Tyler Bereman earlier in the week and I went over to his van to catch up with him and to see how the week was going. He was hanging out with then A rider and now HEP team manager/co-owner Dustin Pipes. We got on the topic of me being malnourished and so Pipes said something like, “Bro, you have to go see Mama Nelson then.” I was like, “I’m some random kid she’s never even met, why would I just show up at the door of their RV?” They both insisted that I didn’t understand and walked over to the Nelson pit.
When I got there it was a hub for the amatuer kids. Everyone had set up a Traxxas track and it was quite a heated environment. All I remember from watching was that Anthony Rodriguez was yelling at everyone in Spanish. It was amazing. Pipes and Bereman took me over to talk to Jessy and told him I was slowly dying. I met Jessy earlier in the week when Travis Steward and Ryan Walters filmed an interview for Red Bull with him. Jessy took me in his motorhome and said something like, “Mom, this is Troy and he’s joining us for dinner tonight.”
I looked around the RV and Mama Nelson had the place tidy with a rotisserie chicken going as well as other snacks scattered about. It looked like a Food Network kitchen and smelled amazing. Long story long, the Nelson’s, Bereman, and Pipes saved my life that week. I had a feast that night. I only saw Jessy a few more times since that week in person. Nowadays, we will occasionally comment on one another’s Instagram, but for the most part he lives on one side of the country and we don’t chat that much.
Nelson was always so cool to me because he was always the same person to me no matter what. He never cool guyed me, nor ignored me, no matter how great he did on the track. He was incredible at riding dirt bikes, but at the same time he treats people with respect and kindness. I remember watching the second 450 moto with him at RedBud in 2013. It was his rookie year for TLD Honda and he had either gotten a holeshot or both, I don’t remember which, but they were monstrous ones. He led quite a bit that day. I just remember asking him what that felt like to pull a holeshot like that and lead everyone. He broke it down for me, but at the same time I could tell that he was still just a kid living his dream. He was surprising himself.
When people ask me who is one of the coolest people in this sport my go to is always Jessy Nelson. It always will be. My goal for 2022 is to catch back up with him and I’m going to make that happen!
Thanks for the help, boys. I still appreciate it 12 years later!