Twentynine Palms -- Combat Center patrons watched in amazement as semi-pro motocross riders performed amazing feats of dirt bike aerobatics during the Motocross Jam Fest at 13th and Dunham, March 11, 2017.
The Motocross Jam Fest, hosted by Marine Corps Community Services, consisted of 12 riders and three freestyle racers to include Destin Cantrell, Cal Vallone and Jimmy Fitzpatrick. All riders participated in “Heat 1” and six participated in “Heat 2,” racing against each other through a man-made obstacle course consisting of dirt ramps of varying heights.
“This is a great opportunity to get our Marines and families out here to see an action-filled event,” said Jill Weber, special events manager, MCCS. “They don’t have much to do in Twentynine Palms,[Calif.,] so here at MCCS we try to get them to enjoy their time as much as possible.”
The event began with Heat 1, which consisted of the riders maneuvering through four rounds, three at a time. Afterward Cantrell, Vallone and Fitzpatrick, participated in the freestyle race. With the use of ramps, the riders launched themselves more than 45 feet into the air and performed various stunts, such as the Lazy Boy, the Double Grab and the Hands Free Backflip. Throughout the event, food, drinks and merchandise were available for purchase courtesy of unit vendors.
“My favorite part is having the opportunity to bring my kids out to a wonderful event,” said Staff Sgt. Skyler Core, student, Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School.
The event concluded when all 12 riders took to the course to complete 20 laps. Each rider faced the challenges of the obstacle course paired with their own exhaustion. In the end, only John Jelderda, Dennis Stapleton and Jeremy McCool emerged victorious. After the show, the riders sat down to sign autographs and to answer spectators’ questions. They also took pictures with their young fans and their more mature audience members.
“I think this is an awesome opportunity for the little kids to see the freestyle racers,” Stapleton said. “Events like this are where young boys and girls become inspired. It’s a great way for them to make dreams.”