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Maureen McMullen, Published March 07 2014

Local champ big draw at Glyndon snocross event

GLYNDON, Minn. – Snowmobiles aren’t the only things creating a buzz at Buffalo River Race Park this weekend.

The events at Amsoil and The International Series of Champions (ISOC) Racing’s snocross championships kicked off Friday, with practice and amateur runs starting at 11 a.m., followed by professional races starting at 6 p.m.

This year’s championship welcomes several big names in snocross racing, including national champion and 12-times X Games medalist Tucker Hibbert, from Pelican Rapids.

“As far as our winner, it’s usually a Tucker thing, and then it’s just a race for second and third; fourth is anybody’s game. It’s really competitive,” said Chelsie Skorich, an ISOC announcer. “Tucker’s very dominant, and he needs to sweep this weekend and win next weekend in order to clench the championships, so he’s definitely one to watch.”

For many enthusiasts of snocross – racing with snowmobiles – the 12-times X Games medalist’s presence was the highlight of the event.

“I liked watching Tucker race,” said Carter Jenson, 8, of Christine, N.D., who added that he also enjoyed the fireworks at the event’s opening ceremony.

Jenson’s grandfather, Randy Monson, also of Christine, is focusing on another Minnesota racer.

“Everybody’s here to see Tucker, who’s world famous,” said Monson. “But Levi LaVallee is a Polaris guy, so we’re into Polaris stuff, so I root for him, too.”

Skorich said Kody Kamm is another up-and-coming racer to look out for.

“He’s really been making a name for himself this season,” Skorich said. “He had a great weekend last week.”

This will be Buffalo River Race Park’s third year hosting the event.

For Skorich, who’s been involved with snocross and the event for 11 years, this year’s track is especially meaningful to her.

“This track actually is really special because one of our riders (Robbie Malinoski) was injured this season. He had a big part in designing it, and that’s never really happened before,” Skorich said. “We have people, our crew, that are ex-racers, but no one who’s actually in the race season. From a rider’s perspective, he kind of took the bull by the horns and said, ‘OK, this would be really fun to try.’”

Despite the intense competition among racers and the snowmobile jumps reaching up to 30 feet high, Skorich said the aspect of snocross she enjoys the most is the community that surrounds the sport.

“I love the people,” she said. “It’s like a family environment. Whenever I come to the races, it’s a safe place for me. Everybody’s so friendly and so kind. Even when they’re battling it out and it’s the last weekend and everybody’s stressed out, you can always get a smile.”

The races continue throughout the day Saturday.