For the love of motocross

Fans traveled from Alaska, San Diego and other locations to Washougal

From the young girls selling lemonade and cookies near the entrance to Washougal Motocross Park before 8 a.m. Saturday, to the families throwing footballs, grilling dinner and waving to passersby in the parking lot 11 hours later, there were many sights and sounds to experience at the Peterson CAT Washougal National.

People who arrived in time to see the motocross riders practice that morning were able to avoid traffic woes on Washougal River Road.

Race Announcer Brian Barnes likes to remind spectators that the gates open at 7 a.m.

The early arrivals included Kevin Larkin, of Longview, and a friend’s grandson. Larkin has watched short track events at Castle Rock Motocross Park, and flat track motorcycle racing at Castle Rock Race Park.

This was the fourth year that Brandon Arms, of Roseburg, Oregon, traveled to see motocross in Washougal.

This time, he brought his nephew and the nephew’s cousin.

They arrived Friday morning and camped on site.

“People were arriving all night on their Harleys,” Arms said.

“I love dirt bikes and that environment,” he added. “I’ve had a really good time.”

Pennie Fish and her husband, Frank, scheduled their vacation around the Washougal National a year in advance.

The couple from Kodiak Island, Alaska, camped at the motocross park with their children in 2002, and they vowed to come back.

Pennie and Frank traveled to Washougal Friday, and once again they camped on site.

“It was hectic with people arriving,” she said. “It calmed down around midnight.”

Saturday, the Fishes were carrying bags of motocross T-shirts they had just purchased for their kids.

Barnes said vendors eventually sold out of those souvenirs.

Dwayne Williams, of San Diego, and his service dog, Roscoe, traveled by RV to Washougal. They arrived Wednesday and camped at the motocross park.

Last year, Williams and Roscoe traveled to 12 motocross races.

Students, coaches and others involved in the Washougal School District wrestling programs were at the motocross park Saturday accepting donations for event programs and ear plugs.

Kyle Eakins, a coach for the Canyon Creek and Jemtegaard middle school wrestling teams, said the owners of Washougal Motocross Park, Ralph and Carolyn Huffman, have allowed the Washougal High School Boosters to conduct fundraisers during motocross for a decade.

“The Huffmans are giving prime spots to local companies in a national setting,” Eakins said. “It is a family-owned track.”

Outlaw Coffee, of Washougal, was among the vendors at the motocross event.

Eakins has watched the Washougal National motocross races for 30 years.

“I love the sound of a million wild bees — of the two stroke variety — and the stinky sweet smell of oil and gas that is unique to a dozen dirt bikes at full throttle,” he said.