Monday Conversation: Kevin Windham

Monday Conversation: Kevin Windham

November 9, 2015 5:00pm

One of our most popular stories ever in Racer X Illustrated was a feature about highly respected, highly successful, and highly funny Kevin Windham, whom Jason Weigandt dubbed, "The most interesting man in motocross." Of course it was a riff on those great Dos Equis beer commercials, and K-Dub was game for having some fun. Well, his career may have ended in 2013, but Windham certainly retains all of those descriptions that have been written about him over the years. But he's also incredibly generous and supportive of the sport that brought him and his family a great deal of happiness and fun over the years.  

His Party in the Pasture event—part music festival/part ride day/part fundraiser—at his home in Centreville, Mississippi, is scheduled for November 20-21. This time around, he will open his pasture to country music great Travis Tritt and open his track to his old rival and friend Jeremy McGrath, not to mention anyone else who wants to come out and ride. Yes, you get to ride and hang with K-Dub and MC! The proceeds will go to help out Road 2 Recovery as well as the Asterisk Mobile Medical Unit.  

We're loading up and heading down to Mississippi ourselves next week to join in all of the fun, but Kevin and his family and friends are already hard at work getting ready for the Party in the Pasture. We have no doubt that it will be the most interesting time of the off-season! 

Racer X: Kevin, big event coming up again. This is becoming like homecoming weekend for a lot of us in the motocross industry—coming down to the Party in the Pasture and hanging out with you. Are you looking forward to it, or better yet, getting it over with?
Kevin Windham: Yeah, I am. I can’t wait. Right now we’re rocking and rolling, getting everything lined up, making sure we have everything done that needs to get done. It seems like you get more to do quicker than you can knock things off the list, so it’s stressful now, but once the event gets here, it really just becomes super laid back, and I think that’s what everyone likes about coming out to the pasture. Folks feel like they can let their hair down and ride their dirt bikes and listen to some music, and the list is long of things you can do for entertainment out here, so it feels good by the time you get to that level with a grass-roots homecoming celebration, and all while raising money for a good cause. I’m pumped to be able to keep the money in the industry this year, so that’s exciting for me. Road 2 Recovery and Asterisk does a lot, not only for professional guys, but motorcycles and the community in general. 

Windham officially retired in 2013, but he's remained active in the sport with his annual Party in the Pasture event.
Windham officially retired in 2013, but he's remained active in the sport with his annual Party in the Pasture event. photo: Cudby

Absolutely. I also commend you on doing that. I know that you have been talking about this…. We’ve been going back and forth on this for a few months now. It’s an education—finding out just what promoting and hosting an event like this can be.
Yeah, a lot goes into it. I find myself trying to control my thoughts and worry about things that I can worry about and staying focused and knocking things off of the list. At the end of the day, we have a lot of help, lots of support from you—the whole [Coombs] family. 

The Road 2 Recovery guys, they’re here. They’re the first guys in and the last guys out. They are just on the ground and great at what they do. So it makes it easier for us, and it feels great to kind of give them some money and help them do the great things they continue to do.

Has Chili [Bob Childress] already been down there working on the track?
Yep. Chili from Dirt Wurx is here now. We’ve been working on the track for the last couple of days—actually, almost a week now. The track was pretty good last year. We’ve changed it up a lot. I don’t know why. Most people have only rode it one time, so I don’t know why we felt the need to change it, but we did and I think the changes are a lot better in some of the areas. So I’m pumped to have him down. He did an amazing job getting the track ready last year, and it will be in the same form this year. So I’m looking forward to that.

I have to say, that track, first of all, it’s beautiful. The soil is as good as any ground in the country. And it just looked like a lot of fun. I didn’t get to ride because I was doing a little bit of flagging and staging, but whether you were on a mini bike, a vintage bike, like when you launched that old Pursang over that triple step-up, or if you’re Wil Hahn, RJ Hampshire—those guys—the track just looked like a blast. Looked like a lot of fun.
I was really pleased with the feedback that I got. The track is very similar this year. We changed a couple sections, but for the most part, very similar. [It’s] Where I did all my training when I was racing motocross. It was nice to hear people enjoy riding it on a lot of different levels, a lot of different skill levels. Everybody had a great time. Very minimal crashes and things like that, so it proved to be safe. So that made me feel good. And then to have the fun that we had breaking out the vintage bike, and everything else that we did was, really, it really made it a good weekend. So our goal now is to top last year, and we’ll see if we can do it. I know people seem to be excited about Travis Tritt coming down, and Craig [Morgan, previous event entertainer] sends his best, too. He did Party in the Pasture for about seven years, and he unfortunately had a gig that weekend that he couldn’t rearrange, but he definitely sends his best. He told me he’s going to be missing singing at the Party in the Pasture for all those rednecks!

"I can tell you that at the end of my career I hit the ground a lot, and it was always refreshing to look up and know that I was in some really, really, really good hands."

Well, he is a fantastic entertainer. He can ride dirt bikes well. That’s a pretty cool friendship that you’ve picked up along the way there. A lot of people don’t realize that Craig is from Dixon, Tennessee, and he actually used to flag at Loretta Lynn’s before he became, well, Craig Morgan.
Yeah, Craig…. Getting to know him beyond the musician, there’s not many things that Craig Morgan hasn’t done over his life, so he’s a truly impressive individual, with the things he’s accomplished. The voice is amazing, and the love for the sport and the things he does…look him up. Research that dude. He’s got so many incredible things, so I cherish that friendship. He’s done a great job of getting Party in the Pasture up and running for me. He’s a great friend of mine. Again, he’s going to miss a good event this year, but he’ll be back.

I don’t know Travis Tritt nearly as well as Craig, but I sure recognize the name and the music, so I’m looking forward to that. Now, how in the world did you talk Jeremy [McGrath] into coming to Centreville, Mississippi?
You know what? He reached out to me and asked me the dates and had to move a couple things as far as the calendar. I think that’s just a testament to what we’re doing this year. I have several riders, both on the freestyle side and motocross side, that have reached out to me and wanted to know dates. It’s a great cause. It hits close to home for everyone that’s been down on their back looking up, whether it be the Asterisk Mobile Medical team that’s kind of the first responder, looking up into their eyes, having that relationship with those folks. You know you’re going to get the best help you can possibly have when you have a significant crash. And the things that Road 2 Recovery has done when things don’t work out quite so well and we get down as a community, or as an individual I should say, with a really bad crash. These hit us kind of below the belt. We understand the risk, we understand what can happen, and I think when we have an opportunity to support these people that have been supporting us for so long—these guys just step up.

Travis Tritt will be performing this year.
Travis Tritt will be performing this year. photo: Matt Ware

We’re working on our two hundredth issue of the magazine, so I’ve been going back looking at the first Racer X from back in 1998, and that was pre-Asterisk Mobile Medics and pre-Road 2 Recovery. It was a much different world. What they’ve managed to do, both groups, since 2001, 2002, they’re game-changing organizations. People don’t realize how expensive it is and all of the things they’re trying to do, and a lot of time and work goes into that, whether it’s Road 2 Recovery and Anita Button, and of course Jimmy and Bob Moore, or all the good doctors. I think sometimes we all must take both for granted, because they’ve been so solid and so quietly supportive.
Yeah, for sure that’s true. I can tell you that at the end of my career I hit the ground a lot, and it was always refreshing to look up and know that I was in some really, really, really good hands. We’re all out doing our jobs, but you know all of this is for naught without the people that come out and support the party. Hats off to them. A lot of them are from my area, but a lot of them are not. There are people that I’m seeing on social media that are driving from far distances off to come to this little town in the middle of nowhere—Centreville, Mississippi—and have a good time.

Besides the riding on Friday and Saturday afternoon, and then of course the show Saturday night, you’re going to have a gear auction. You’ll have freestyle motocross there. Cowboy Kenny [Bartram] and friends, I guess….
[Mike] Mason and Cowboy Kenny and several others. Still working out the details on who all exactly is going to be here for that, but there will be increased support on that as well. The whole day, it’s a whole festival. It’s all day long. We’re actually going to do some karaoke contests with cash prizes—things like that. There will be a mechanical bull. I figure there’s cows in my pasture all the time—year round, every day—and I have to run them out for Party in the Pasture, so why not pay them a little homage and do a mechanical bull for the partygoers? There’s helicopter rides and opening acts and a DJ to keep the music going. If you’re into the SEC stuff, LSU is going to be taking on Ole Miss that day. We’ll put that up on the screen as well. So, yeah, just a lot of people cooking eating, drinking, hanging out, riding, having a great time, and socializing, so it’s a full day.

For more info on the event—and to sign up—click here.