‘This is what I want to do’
February 29, 2012
A.J. Stoffle found his calling at 4 years old.
He watched his cousin in a snowmobile race in Steamboat Springs and decided he wanted to try it, his mother Teresa Stoffle said.
His family happened to have his tyke-sized snowmobile with them that day in 2002, Teresa Stoffle. That afternoon, they bought him the safety equipment he needed to race that night.
A decade later, A.J. is still certain of his calling.
"This is what I want to do," he said. "It's kind of been that way since I started."
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The trophies and posters that fill A.J.'s bedroom at his Craig home speak to his love for snocross, an event in which competitors race snowmobiles around a closed track riddled with jumps, bumps and other rough terrain.
His accolades include winning two consecutive national titles in 2010 and 2011 at competitions in Sandy, Utah, and taking a bronze medal at the 2004 X Games in Aspen.
Since he started racing, "he's never been without a championship," said Teresa, 52.
The 14-year-old competes in numerous races every year, including those in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The sport requires long trips — as much as 2,400 miles round-trip — and Teresa homeschooled him from fourth- through seventh-grades to make time for competitions, she said.
A.J. has no intention of resting on his laurels, either. He can turn pro at 16, and that's exactly what he plans to do, he said.
His intentions aren't a surprise to Teresa.
"He eats and breathes snowmobiling," she said.