Riders show off skills

Freestylers promise more air, bigger stunts

Two months ago, Eric Farr received the approval he'd been striving to earn for two years.

"I was waiting until the guys thought I was good enough to jump with them," the 19-year-old freestyle motocross rider said. "We built some jumps at my house, and I learned four new stunts the first day, and Toby (Whittington) said I was ready."

Farr will be showcasing his aerial skills for the first time at the professional level at the Moffat County Fairgrounds on Friday.

"I've performed in front of groups of people before, so I don't think I'll be too nervous," he said. "There will be a little bit of pressure since this is the first time I'm getting paid."

A few of the guys Farr received approval from also will be there. It's a group of five riders who call themselves the 51Boys.

That group includes Toby Whittington, who was at the fairgrounds last year for the first freestyle showcase.

"Last year, we had a rider that only knew one or two tricks," he said. "This year, we have five riders who will be doing everything you see the professionals do."

Gates will open at 7:30 p.m., and the two-hour show will start about 8 p.m. The show will be a similar format to last year's with a few eye-opening modifications.

"The stunts will be a lot bigger and better," Whittington said. "The kicker we're building will be massive compared to last year's."

Whittington, who has ridden motorcycles most of his life, has started his own company building jumps. He will be assisting with the ramp building for Friday's show.

"When I build it, that means usually I'm the first to try it out," he said. "I wouldn't want anybody else to get hurt from something I built."

Farr has learned a lot of the tricks of the trade from Whittington and was excited to get the chance to ride with his peers.

"Most of these guys are a phone call away from joining the IFMA (International Freestyle Motocross Association)," he said. "That is the best of the best, and they're close."

The other stunt studs who are in the group are Brent Hatchet, Ryan Hilfinger and Hal Strauss.

Whittington said Hatchet is one of the most impressive jumpers he's seen.

"Hatchet has jumped with Mike Metzger, and he would do jumps that Metzger refused to do," Whittington said. "He's crazy."

Warrior Promotions, a company that is operated by former Craig residents Henry Billet, Josh McCollum and Phil Vallem, will be organizing shows by the 51Boys across the West and Southwest. They are planning 10 events for the summer.

"These guys are the best in a four-state region," Billet said. "You'll see every trick imaginable."

Every trick except the backflip.

"The backflip is what it takes now to be the biggest of big time," Farr said. "I'll be working on it this summer, and I know the other guys have plans to do it, too."

Farr said his biggest stunts will include a "rock solid," which he described as "a double-grab super man, but you let go with both hands and then pull yourself back on your motorcycle."

The rock solid, heart attack and can-can will be just a few of the stunts showcased at the kickoff event for Memorial Day weekend.

Tickets are available ahead of time at Action Motor Sports in Craig and Mountain Sports Center in Steamboat Springs for $8. Tickets at the gate will be $10, or $8 with a student I.D.

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