Professional motocross racer Chad Zulian hopes to represent his hometown well this weekend in the Rocky Mountain Motocross Assoc-iation races being held at the Yampa Valley Sports Riders Complex.
The Crag native has been riding since he was about 9 and turned professional five years ago. He graduated from the University of Nor-thern Colorado a year and half ago, but said college didn't slow his passion because he traveled to races every weekend.
The 23-year-old is currently ranked first in the 250 class and the open class, and second in the 125 class. For the past two years he has ranked first in the 125 class, and was first in the open class last year as well. He is sponsored by Sun Enterprises, which provide him with his Honda bikes.
Zulian's next goal is to place in a national race. He has qualified for national races twice and competed once, and plans to drive back east for a national competition by the end of the summer.
But the road to nationals is time consuming and expensive he said. Not to mention physically demanding and exhausting.
"You are using your body every moment," Zulian said. "In football you have a play, and then stop and rest. A race can be 30 minutes long without stopping," he said.
His long list of battle wounds includes 22 screws and 4 plates in his body, and breaking both arms at the same time.
But the adrenaline rush is part of the attraction he said.
He is confident his knowledge of the sport will keep him in the industry after his body has had enough. When his racing days are over he plans to get a job as anything from a sponsor representative to a magazine writer.
"This is what I've always done -- what I know," he said.
Zulian still lives in Greeley, where he said tracks are more abundant, but favors the one he grew up on.
"Craig has probably the best in Colorado because it's the only one where you can see the whole track," he said.
His dad, Gary Zulian, and his uncle, Dan Zulian, built what is now the Yampa Valley Sports Riders Complex 24 years ago and still manage it.
He estimates that about 500 riders will attend this weekend's races, and he hopes his roots on the track will give him an advantage.
"I grew up on this track and know everything about it," Zulian said.