Throughout the month of December, Racer X Online editors and contributors will be handing out one award each day for an outstanding performance or effort or product related to the global motocross industry in 2018. Each winner will receive this award, which we’re calling a Roger, just like the Academy Awards have their Oscars. It’s in honor of Roger DeCoster, a great ambassador for the sport of motocross for more than 50 years. Today’s topic is Racer X Party of the Year.
If you were anywhere near Buchanan, Michigan, for the 2018 Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations, then you know what a great big, fun party it was just being there for the weekend. Even though the rain and the results may have dampened it for many American fans, it was an epic weekend of motocross liberté, égalité, fraternité (that’s a nod to you, Team France) and downright fun. From the far reaches of Lot B to the infield mud slides, the RedBud MXoN was a shared experience unlike any singular round of Monster Energy AMA Supercross or Lucas Oil Pro Motocross—including even the RedBud round!
Yet in the middle of that big party was another event, one much smaller in scale but larger in what it meant to both the attendees and the honored guests. The 2018 MXoN Experience at RedBud was the brainchild of Jeff Stanton, the six-time AMA Motocross/Supercross Champion, three-time Team USA leader, and local product of RedBud. Stanton, who has an event venue on his Sherwood, Michigan property, knows a thing or two about hosting a wide variety of events, from weddings to reunions to corporate outings and company retreats. He wanted to do something special when the motocross world came to his neighborhood, and he wanted to do it in a way that would benefit some very important causes in motocross: the Alpinestars Mobile Medical Unit, Road 2 Recovery, and the International Foundation for Research in Paraplegia.
Next, Stanton, who rode for Team USA from 1989 to ’91, reached out to as many fellow Team USA alumni as he could track down in order to see if they wanted to all get together under one big tent and have dinner. From OG Team USA member Dick Robbins (1970) to Donnie Hansen (‘81) to “Bad” Billy Liles (’92) to Ricky Carmichael (’03) to Ryan Dungey (’14) they responded, with too many guys in the middle and beyond to list here and not overlook someone (so apologies in advance, please). Stanton and the folks at Road 2 Recovery then went about auctioning off seats with the various superstars to set up an epic night of bench-racing on Friday to kick the whole weekend off. David Bailey, Rick Johnson, Brad Lackey, Ron Lechien, Jeremy McGrath, Damon Bradshaw, Jeff Ward, Doug Henry, John Dowd, Jeff Emig, Gary Semics, Steve Stackable, the Ryans—Dungey and Villopoto—they all gathered under the tent to hang out, bench race, and just enjoy the camaraderie.
Even Team USA 2018 dropped by as Roger DeCoster brought Eli Tomac, Aaron Plessinger, and Justin Barcia in to visit with the attendees, soak up the admiration for stepping up this year, and also just being a part of Jeff Stanton’s big party. All told, over $100,000 was raised for those worthy causes.
So, for the 2018 Party of the Year, the Roger goes to Jeff Stanton’s MXoN Experience. Thanks for still being who you always were, Jeff, a man we could always count on to over-deliver when it was time for the Motocross of Nations. The only unfortunate thing was the fact that this time the pre-party was better than the after-party!