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MotoX show delivers big-time pro riders

Steve Puterski
sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com
Special to the LVN

Tickets

Tickets for the Monster Truck Jamboree are available at O’Reilly Auto Parts Stores and include access to an exclusive pit party where ticketholders can meet the drivers, take photos and get autographs.

Discounted tickets may be purchased the day of the jamboree. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children 6-14 and free for children 5 and under. Tickets at the gate are $12 for adults and $7 for children 6-14.

Gates open at 5:30 p.m. for the free pit party and the show commences at 7 p.m. at the Churchill County Fairgrounds.

There is a new high-flying twist to Octane Fest this year.

While the annual motorsports festival rides into full gear today at Top Gun and Rattlesnake raceways, the popular jamboree adds a new competitive component.

Six riders, three each representing Nevada and California, will battle in a dual-ramp show.

Team Nevada consists Jesse Jolson, Greg Garrison and Drake McElroy. Octane Fest veteran Garrett Ahlf leads the way For Team California, which also features John Distler and Taylor Sterner.

McElroy, meanwhile, is one of the most accomplished riders heading to Octane Fest. Sponsored by Red Bull, the Sparks resident inked a deal with Fuel TV for a travel series called “Drake’s Passage,” which premiers Aug. 15.

The premise is McElory explores art, music and culture abroad, while he acts as a judge for the Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour.

As for the jamboree, several riders who were originally scheduled had to back out due to conflicts.

Carson City rider Matt Buyten, who has won several X-Game gold medals in Step-Up (a motorcycle high jump event), could not appear along with prevous Octane Fest participants Jeff Griffin and Kenny Bell. Jimmy Smith and Jimmy Fitzpatrick also had conflicts has several of them are participating in the Asian X-Game in Bankok, according to Gray. Fitzpatrick suffered a wrist injury, which required surgery, and could not perform at Octane Fest.

Despite the issues, the new format, Gray said, is a way to keep the fans engaged and show off the skills by the riders.

Jolson, though, said he is excited to the ride in his first Octane Fest. He moved to Reno about one year ago from Sacramento.

The transition, though, has been difficult as the increase in elevation has created a new challenge. Jolson said the elevation slows down the motorcycle, which led to adjustments while training.

His career has flourished and allowed him to purchase foam pits to perfect backflips, heart attacks and other hair-raising tricks.

Despite the practice, Jolson said his nerves on edge at the beginning of each performance.

“I’ve been doing this professionally for six years now and jumping from ramp to ramp, it’s scary every time,” Jolson said. “It’s still scary your first jump. Once you get that first jump out of the way, it’s all good.”

As for the competition, Gray said he was not sure of the format, but said the crowd will be involved. While the details of the motocross show are to be ironed out, Gray said the popular event is organic and continues to up the showmanship.

“We are going to try to keep changing it every year, so that it doesn’t get tired and people have something to look forward to” he added. “It’s certainly going to be better attended than if we had it on Thursday, which we had originally planned.”