10-year-old snocross racer Tallyn Wagner headed for big things
For the Wagner family, the beginning of spring means less and less and eventually none of their favorite activity until the next winter, but they’ll have some vivid memories.
The Wagners recently completed a season of snowmobile racing, with youngest member Tallyn doing especially well. The kid who just turned 10 revved his engine with some of the best young talent around, most of them much older than he is.
“It’s marvelous that he can beat 14-year-olds at their game,” Jay Wagner said of his son.
At January’s Deadwood ShootOut in Deadwood, South Dakota, Tallyn took eighth in his first snocross race and fourth in his second of the transition bracket for ages 8 to 12.
Closer to home, he won first place in the 8 to 12 division of the 500 Liquid Transition, the 10 to 14 group of the 500cc Fan and the 500cc Liquid Limited in mid-February at Jackson, Wyoming, following strong performances in the Roost the Butte in Crested Butte in January.
His older brother, Steven, and their father also competed in these events, with Jay taking second in the 500cc Liquid Sno-oval at Roost the Butte, moving on to win the 800 Sno-oval at both the Grand Lake Winter Carnival and at Jackson.
Tallyn strongly prefers the more action-packed snocross to the oval events, likely because it involves plenty of jumping compared to laps around a track.
“It’s not unusual for him to get 50 feet of air,” Jay said. “He never lets off the throttle, he’ll just hit the brake when he wants to slow down. It adds a lot more excitement.”
The Wyoming event almost went awry for the Wagners when Tallyn came down hard off a jump and needed to be carted off by an ambulance as a precaution. However, he was only shaken up and quickly got the OK from the medical professionals to get back to racing.
The idea of wrecking is something he considers often while on his snowmobile, though it doesn’t necessarily scare him. His very first time grasping the handlebars, he wasn’t even 2 and promptly rammed the small, modified 120cc vehicle into his mother, though he’s become much more skilled since then.
“I’m going faster and jumping higher now, ” Tallyn said.
The chance for a spill is greater than when he first started, too, though he’d rather have something bigger and speedier and take the risk.
“I don’t think I could wreck a 120,” he said.
Eight years later, Tallyn already has a sponsorship deal with Arctic Cat, which also means free equipment if and when he needs it.
In many ways, Tallyn is following in the tracks of AJ Stoffle, who just completed the national tour with the AMSOIL International Series of Champions’ Nielsen Enterprises Grand Finale March 13 in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Stoffle’s best finish at the gathering was seventh in the finals of the Showdown at Sundown race for the Affiliate Pro Lite group.
“AJ started from the bottom just like Tallyn, going up class to class,” Jay said.
This year, a handful of Moffat County High School graduates are setting out to carry on the family tradition. From business to education, these students plan to follow in the footsteps their parents and in some cases, grandparents and great-grandparents.