Imagine a weekend on an amazing private track, two days of riding followed by full nights of bench racing, plus a freestyle exhibition, a huge bonfire, and a Saturday night concert by a headlining country music artist who just happens to have his own bona fides as a rider. Now add on a benefit auction, an impromptu whip contest featuring some excellent pro motocrossers, and gorgeous fall weather…
Welcome to Kevin Windham’s Party in the Pasture, on the outskirts of Centreville, Mississippi, which is about as far off the highway as you can get and still be in the Southeast. It’s part riding, part music-festival and all fun, and this time it was all pulled together to benefit the family of a fallen friend and fellow rider, the late Chris Blankenship.
Party in the Pasture has been going on for a few years, and Kevin was on the fence about holding another big event at his home because it was just becoming too big and too much work, but when Blankenship passed after a riding accident in August, K-Dub flipped the switch and the Party in the Pasture was back on, this time for the benefit of Blankenship’s young family.
Before Windham got the project off the starting gate, the good people from www.Road2Recovery.com were there to help organize donations, manage the benefit, present the live auction (hosted by Steve “Lurch” Scott of Monster Energy Supercross fame), and just support the Windhams in their plans to support the Blankenships. “Chappy” Steve Hudson was also right there as always, and he presented quite a moving service for everyone on Saturday morning. “Cowboy” Kenny Bartram brought out his Steel Rodeo ramps and fellow freestylers Mike Mason and Brian Foster to entertain everyone in between the riding day and the evening music, which was headlined by Craig Morgan, one of the biggest names in country music and a longtime rider.
It was certainly a Party in the Pasture, but at its heart it was about riding and enjoying the moto community in honor of Chris Blankenship, and there was no better place to do that than at Windham’s track. It’s as impressive a private track as I have ever seen, not to mention fun. But it needed shaped up, so Bob “Chili” Childress and K-Dub himself rolled out the tractors to make the track look like (and ride) like Hangtown, minus most of the banners (though GEICO, Motosport.com and a few others were well represented).
In order to make it all run smooth and safely, local racer promoter Randy Rector and his family and crew from Golden Pines Raceway stepped up big time. They conducted the various sessions, managed the caution flagging, kept the track watered and well groomed, and just made sure that everyone had a good time on their bikes. Whether it was Windham himself and his old friend and competitor Mike LaRocco, LaRocco’s young chargers on the GEICO Honda team like RJ Hampshire, Jordon Smith, and Christian Craig, new Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Wil Hahn, highly-respected privateers like Brett Cue, Johnny Moore, and more, or those vintage black-and-white knights from Team Bull (a feature story unto themselves), they all had quite the place to ride!
In the end, after all of the work, planning, permits, and more, Windham and friends raised a lot of money for the Blankenships. (The highlight of the auction was the $7,500 that Windham’s riding gear and Shades of Gray custom-painted helmet fetched from E-Z Jim’s Team Bull (more on that in Friday’s Racerhead).
Well done, Kevin and Dottie Windham. And Craig and Karen Morgan. And Chili Childress and Randy Rector. And GEICO Honda and Road2Recovery and Lurch and Wheels and Cowboy Kenny and Mason and Foster and Chappy and Team Bull and Randy “Retro” Richardson and his PBR crew (as in beer, not rodeo) and that Rita girl at the front gate and everyone else who helped work and enjoy this Party and the Pasture. What a weekend, and what a way to honor Chris Blankenship.
We all probably wish we could do these kind of events for everyone who could use a hand, but since we can’t, keep www.Road2Recovery.com in mind—long before the bonfire went out at Kevin Windham’s Party in the Pasture, they were already working on the next fundraiser and finding the next people to help out.