LOCMX supports Wild Rose Motocross Park

By Bill Petro, June 2024

Legends Of Canadian Motocross traveled to Calgary to support the Wild Rose Motocross Association in their fight to continue operating on the land they lease from the city of Calgary. It is one of the few, if not the only Motocross facilities in city limits of a major city. Despite over half a century of operation and motocross activity one of the most significant and unique off-road motorcycle recreation facilities is under threat. Where else can you get everything from RC model racing, BMX, trials, enduro and at least two MX tracks right in the city limits.

After ten years of attending race events and trade shows it was time to put the LOCMX display to bed. Mostly shown around Ontario It was my goal to get it out west for at least one western National then at least one Ontario event and for sure something in Quebec.

I was supposed to do this last year but a sudden health event cancelled that and took me out of circulation for the season. As this 2024 season crept closer I started working at a plan to bring the LOCMX to Calgary for the first MX National. It was soon evident that it was going to be a challenge to find funding to get the display and myself to Calgary. Peter Adams and David Pinkman who were arranging things from Calgary were having the same problem but they still insisted that the display would be greatly appreciated and that the Wild Rose Motorcycle community will be supportive.           

The problem was not getting me out there; the problem was getting the display and tent out there. The aluminum framework that the display is stretched over has some 10 ft long pieces and the tent is a typical heavy-duty 10X20 pop-up tent, so using commercial shipping companies would cost too much.

I spread the word to see if any teams from Ontario had some room for the display.  Right away Derek Shuster Owner of the GDR Honda MX team said he had no problem bringing it back to Ontario but was full up for the trip out west. My brother was looking for someone to help drive his SUV out to Calgary, perfect for me until we realized that the long poles would not fit inside the SUV without taking up the passenger side.  This would not do on a long cross-country trip.

Just when I thought this was all going to be too difficult to pull off, Brett Lee, the Team Principal of the WLTN Kawasaki Race Team, offered to take the display and tent out to Calgary.

On my way to Walton I stopped in at MotoPark where the print shop had finished the newest banner for the display.  Finally, the Legends of the 1990’s and 2000’s panel of photos was completed.  Once the display was dropped off with the Kawasaki Team, I headed off to Windsor where I would transfer what I had left into my Brother’s SUV and after a few hours of sleep we started our journey at midnight.  The plan was to get through Chicago before the morning rush hour.

This worked as planned and it set the stage for a clear easy drive across the central plains. By 6:00pm local time we were near Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. Making good time, we decided to take a break and hiked the trail around the base of the Tower, which loosened our legs and kind of gave us some new energy. We decided to carry on until we could no longer and find a room somewhere.           

As the night went on and we drove through the vast ranchlands of Montana with its “Big Sky “ and found ourselves surprisingly more awake that we expected. Maybe Jason did a little more driving than me but I was able to get some rest and was ready to drive when he was done. This went on through the night with both of us driving with awareness of each other’s condition. We crossed the border at Coutts AB around 4:30 am and after a stop at Tim’s in Lethridge (the only thing open), we motored on into Calgary where we had some items to pick up and drop-off and were on the Trans Canada Highway heading west before noon.

After a stop in Canmore to have some lunch, we continued on to our final destination Invermere. Part of the deal with my brother was that I give him a hand with some maintenance on the house and the mountain biking was a test of my recovery from the heart attack and bypass surgery, which was exactly a year since. They said that it would take a full year to heal properly, this trip for me was confirmation that my hard work and patience over the last year paid off. I may not be 100% but pretty close.

After a few days in Invermere I took my brother to the airport in Calgary, then headed out to meet Peter at Wild Rose MX Park hopefully to meet up with the Kawasaki Team transporter. Once they were parked and allowed to unload we got the display and brought it out to the Blackfoot Direct warehouse (just outside the gates of the MX park) where a reunion of the Blackfoot Motorcycle Park Eras Riders would take place later that evening. It was hoped that this gathering would build support for the fight to keep the park operating as it is.

Once this garage social got underway it was obvious that the Wild Rose Motocross Association had deep roots and was supported by a strong alumni of people, many of who were directly responsible for the club’s successful history.  With the Legends’ display and the vintage bikes there was no shortage of bench racing stories from all the people that wondered into this casual affair.  I met a lot of people from the club who were totally passionate about their motorcycle community, but what would it take to keep it operating as it is?  The hope was that hosting a round of the Canadian Motocross Triple Crown series would showcase the facility to city officials.

But! The most amazing thing about this group of people was their generosity. Marshall Johnson introduced me and the Legends of Canadian Motocross to the crowd and explained a little bit about my journey so far. He highlighted my work with the Cycle Canada archives and the importance to digitizing our rich Motorcycle history. We raffled off a signed Ross Pederson Shirt and everyone from the club and BFD Moto stepped up and we definitely collected enough to cover my travel expenses.  That was all I really asked for.

The next day we set up the tent and display in the middle of the paddock, where all the action is.  All weekend spectators visited the display when there was a break in the racing. It was perfect opportunity to talk about the Canadian Motor Sport Archive (CMSA) and the goals of digitizing our history. A few of the more recent MX Legends came over and signed their photos. Once the racing was over we dismantled the display and packed it deep in the GDR Honda Team Transporter thanks to the small team of volunteers. Next stop Gopher Dunes.

This trip would not have happened if it weren’t for the generosity and hard work of some key people in the Moto community.  First off I want to thank Peter Adams and David Pinkman for convincing me that it could be done and then helping to make it happen from the Calgary side.

Dustin Heikkinen, president of the Wild Rose Motocross Association for giving me prime space at the event.

Justin Thompson of Canadian Triple Crown Series for permission to set up.

Dean Thompson of Blackfoot Direct Moto who invited me to the BFD social gathering on Thursday where pretty much everyone attending chipped in some cash to help pay for some of my travel expenses.

Marshal Johnson for the awesome introduction to the attendees at the BFD event.

Brett Lee for transporting the display to Calgary in the WLTN Kawasaki transporter.

Derek Schuster for taking it back to Ontario in the GDR Honda Transporter.

And I must give a huge shout out to my brother Jason Petro who trusted his older brother to help him drive his truck across the country, something I have not done in way too many years. It was a great Bro experience.

Remember to take the time to make a small donation, every little bit helps. Thank you.

Wild Rose Motocross Park, Calgary AB, June 2024
L-R Dave McGregor, Mike Klausen, David Pinkman and Dean Thompson. David worked with the Blackfoot Direct Guys to get LOCMX out to Calgary for the National and this BFD social.
Shane Cuthbertson, Lee Fryberger and Doug McRae
Doug McRae and Brother Darrell Remember Carl Bastedo
Darren Sharuga Signs the wall in place of Ross who was not able to make it.
Back at the track , a small shower brought crowd under the tent. That was one way of getting people to comein and look at the pictures.
Ryan Gauld
Tyler Medaglia
Chris Pomeroy
Eve Brodeur, the current women’s National Champ
Colton Facciotti who is now the Suspension specialist for the GDR Honda team
2023 450 Champion Dylan Wright
Frank Shuster ( Gopher Dunes owner) and David Pinkman (Long standing Wild Rose board member) discuss the ups and downs of managing a MX Facility.
Brett Lee
David Pinkman, Peter Adams and myself. Thank you David and Peter for all of the hard work you guysdid to make this trip a reality.
Murray ______ and Claude Giguere with Peter Adams. Thank you Claude for the seat to replace the ripped Legend’s 1980 RM125.