Former Craig resident Chad Zulian achieved his goal of placing well at this weekend's national qualifier in Craig.
The Greeley resident, whose family helped build the Craig motocross track, finished first in the Open Pro class. Lance Hiser from Parker took second and Jason LaBonte came in third.
Mostly sunny skies prevailed at the Yampa Valley Sports Riders Complex during the weekend, although showers on Sunday didn't really slow down the races.
Dan Zulian, Chad's uncle, said racers go through a series of competitions to get to national championship races held first in Oklahoma and then in Tennessee.
"The Lorretta Lynn Race is the one most racers want to ride," Dan Zulian said.
He said there are several classes from 50 cubic centimeter to 250cc bikes along with several age groups. There are 4- to 6-year-olds, 6- to 8-year-olds and open 4- to 8-year-olds on the 50cc, and classes for 65, 75 and 85cc as well as Pro, non-pro, class C, B and A, with A being the most experienced racers.
"We have every age group here from the little ones to the old ones, and it's pretty much a family event," Dan Zulian said.
Dan Zulian, his brother Gary and their father, Floyd, built the 4.1-mile track in Craig 23 years ago so their children had a place to practice.
"It was the first track on the Western Slope and people come from all over to race here," he said.
He estimated about 600 people attended on Saturday and more than 400 on Sunday, which is about what they expected.
"We started working with the Rocky Mountain Motocross Association and the races here become bigger. Used to be if 60 to 80 people came that was good, Now we have 500 to 600 and they come from all over," he said.
Racers came from Wyoming, Utah, Texas, Kansas, Illinois, one racer from California and across Colorado.
Jake Canada of Sun City, Calif., came in first in his class. The 13-year-old veteran started riding when he was 3 and had an impressive a list of sponsors.
"It gets pretty expensive so you try to get companies to sponsor you. I have 13 sponsors total," Canada said.
Canada said he really liked the track and planned to race here again.
"It is an awesome track. It is maintained so well, and the jumps are nice," Canada said.
Chaz Wilcox from Berthoud, said this was the sixth year her family had raced in Craig. Son, Corey, 11, and daughter, Nicole, 7, also race.
"Just about every weekend from March until October we go to a race, and so far no one has been hurt," Wilcox.
Dan Zulian said many of the racers travel with campers and set up on site. Cedar Mountain Lions Club takes care of the concessions.
He said membership is $50 per year for a family, but the rates will be going up because the required insurance has nearly doubled during the past year.
"The county requires us to have $1 million policy as part of the lease and RMMA requires a second policy," he said.
There will be two more races, July 24 and 25 and Aug. 21 and 22 in Craig this summer.
Anyone interested in participating or becoming a member of the Yampa Valley Sports Association should call 824-2488 or 824-2182.