I had the opportunity to attend my 1st MEC SX in Vegas this past weekend and it was an absolute great time. I've been to quite a few SX races over the years but this was my 1st Monster Energy Cup. I've been to Vegas quite a few times and friggin' love it but this was the first time in my life I've ever gone to Vegas and NOT seen the inside of a casino. In fact, we didn't even stay on the strip because we were there for 1 thing and 1 thing only.... Supercross. We planned the trip so well that we didn't allow for any extra time to hit the casino's at all. Fly out early Saturday morning, check bags at the hotel, make our way to the stadium then straight back to the hotel afterwards to get 3-4 hours sleep and head back to the airport for a 6AM flight out. It was literally all about having fun at Supercross.
Flight went seamlessly, after my usual pat-down & bag check, going thru security, because I always carry an extra leg in my bag when I fly. Friends flight in from Houston was delayed so we had an extra 45 minutes to chill in the Vegas airport while we waited. Got into the pits and made contact with a friend I haven't seen in over a decade. Making our way thru the pits, we found ourselves getting a tour of the Motoconcepts Honda rig. Super cool! You could almost perform surgery in these rigs, they're so clean. I don't know that I've said "wow", "whoa" or "cool" so frequently in such a short time-span before. Just a very cool experience. Personally, I felt like a kid looking at a wish-list of moto parts and gawking at all the "unobtainium" materials & parts. I may have even drooled a little. :-)
We made our way out of the rig, after a brief conversation with a couple of the riders and I proceeded to do what I do.... I ask one of my top 5 favorite riders to sign my prosthetic. He said he'd sign just about anything else but stopped signing casts & such because the last time he did, he ended up in one. I couldn't & still don't blame him, I'd be the same way if that was me. But, he's so cool to his fans that he agreed to hold a sign up for a picture that referenced another friend that couldn't make the trip. The sign was my wife's idea. We wondered the pits, as MX/SX lovers do, and took in all the cool stuff goin' on. Then we notice "The Man" himself, Roger DeCoster, standing at the edge of the KTM pit. So of course I asked him for a picture to which he responded with "absolutely". We strolled past the Gas Monkey pit to wish a rider good luck and made our way inside.
The opening ceremonies where different than a regular schedule SX, but then it IS Vegas so what else would you expect. Live DJ, light show, pyro (which started a tough block on fire - enter weekend fire brigade) and cool entrances from the sports elite. As the racing began we got to witness some of the best bar-banging battles that I've seen in years, from all classes that gated up. The super-minis showed us what & who to expect to be future stars of the sport we all love so much. In particular, Rider DeFrancesco does NOT know the meaning of give up after hitting the deck (while leading the opening lap). Keep an eye out for this fierce fighter. The "dragon-back" seemed to be an issue for quite a few riders from all classes except the pro class and the sand section kept trying to swallow the kids in the KTM Junior SX Challenge but even they just kept fighting. In the Cup Class (Pro's) we, along with the rest of the entire stadium, witnessed about 5 riders throw caution to the wind as the fully launched themselves off a "wall" face into the sand section across the track from us. WOW! Those guys almost needed clearance from McCarrin air traffic control tower. The pictures online just don't do justice for how stinking high & far they were throwing themselves. It was like watching the most "cringe-worthy" suspension testing ever imagined. Everyone was on their feet waiting & watching with "nail-biting" nervous anticipation as Tomac fought like a man possessed thru the pack, the entire moto, and moved into the lead on the last half of the last lap in the final moto to secure the win & pocket 1 Mil. The coolest part was that since he won all 3 motos & won the Million so did 1 lucky fan and that guy lost his mind when the pass happened. Of course, who wouldn't have? THAT was super cool to witness.
Leaving the stadium we were faced with a choice, wait for who knows how long to get a ride from "Lyft" or walk the, roughly, 4 miles back to the hotel. Great weather, friends hanging out talking about the killer racing & the day? So yes, we walked. We even got to witness some Vegas wildlife while walking back, in the form of some guy that apparently enjoyed a few too many at the stadium and decided he wanted to play human "frogger" with traffic. Fortunately, he won that round while crossing a major intersection. We get back to the hotel & crashed like we'd been up for days on end only to be rudely awaken by the alarm clock letting us know our awesome trip was on it's final leg. Back to the airport, say goodbye to friends (and thank them for setting up the killer trip), purchase a substance disguised as coffee, board the plane where we wait an extra 45 minutes in the plane because of snow removal in our destination city, then finally get the flight underway. We landed in blowing snow & 20 degree weather after wearing shorts & sunscreen in Vegas but the memories we made and the fun we had will last forever.
It was a quick trip but definitely one that I'd happily do again, in a heartbeat. Summary, when you get the chance to do something fun especially with awesome people do NOT put it off or say "maybe someday", "maybe next year" or anything like that. Sometimes the bests memories are created when you just go for it and live in the moment, 'Rocking Ur Kool'.
Until next time... Keep the rubber side down & the plastic off the ground.