Going freestyle in Grass Valley | SierraSun.com

Going freestyle in Grass Valley

Stacy Hicklin
Sun News Service

So you couldn’t make it down to Los Angeles this past August for the 2005 Summer X Games, huh? Well, thanks to Jesse Olson, a local professional freestyle motocross rider, some of the best riders, hottest tricks and biggest jumps in the country will be making a special appearance in Grass Valley this weekend.

Big-name riders like Drake McElroy, Dustin Miller, Mike Mason, Adam Jones, Brian Foster, Todd Potter and Collin Morison will roll into town Friday and Saturday for the GVD Moto-X Jam, held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds Arena.

“The show is something you wouldn’t expect for Grass Valley,” Olson said. “The talent and the show are over the top and it’s something everyone needs to come out to witness.”

So how did Olson recruit this kind of talent to visit Nevada County?

Olson began riding FMX when he was just 9 years old and turned professional at the age of 15. In the years that followed, he rode in shows all over the country and the world.

But about a year ago, Olson’s thoughts began to change about how he wanted to be involved in FMX racing.

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“Riding started to get pretty gnarly,” Olson said. “I was to the point of learning backflips and 360s on a dirt bike. And the slightest mistake could cause major, major injuries.

“I decided I didn’t want to risk it all for what it was worth.”

So Olson began pursing other avenues within the sport ” avenues like promoting, organizing shows and designing courses.

For years, FMX riders have complained that the people designing the courses were not listening to them in terms of safety or what designs made the best course.

Enter Olson.

His family has pictures of him taking naps in a bulldozer at the age of 4 and by the time he was 8 he was cruising around his family’s property driving such vehicles. Olson recalls such machines as being babysitters or methods for his parents to keep him occupied as he spent hours digging holes and moving dirt.

Combine Olson’s skill with heavy machinery and FMX racing and what results is a perfect candidate to design and build courses.

This summer, Olson was the chief course designer and builder for the FMX course at the 2005 Summer X Games.

“The riders all asked me to do it,” Olson said. “We’d been struggling with being able to have good courses. For a long time it’s just been some dude on a tractor trying to build jumps. But I have the equipment and the dirt bike background.”

This weekend will be the first show Olson has organized ” and he’s designing the course as well. Born and raised in Grass Valley, he figured Nevada County was the best place to get his start.

Plus, he liked the venue at the fairgrounds with plenty of seating and a big arena.

Along with Olson, Adam Portue ” the events’ emcee ” has worked to organize the nuts and bolts pieces of the weekend as well as handle much of the promotion.

Recruiting the riders for the show was easy in Olson’s eyes as his fellow FMX friends were excited to support his first show.

Olson and his longtime friends Brian Wiederhold and Tyler Woodford have spent many hours out at the fairground this week, gathering dirt, shaping the course and building the jumps.

“I’m a crazy mad scientist with dirt,” Olson said smiling as looked at his jumps Wednesday.

The building crew lucked out in terms of dirt for the event, as the fairgrounds maintenance crews were willing to supply the dirt needed, using dirt from the area between the arena and the main parking lot ” an area fairgrounds coordinators hoped to clear to create more room for parking. The task, which benefited both parties, saved the event thousands of dollars.

Riders will take to a course consisting of three main jumps, with one measuring 85 feet, with some first gear “wheely stuff” ” tricks Olson and the other riders want to test before the X Games. It will be a contest-style course with a show format that will allow the riders to perform to their potential, with high-flying exciting maneuvers.

Gates open at 5 p.m. both nights with the show starting at 7 p.m. ” tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students with an I.D. and $10 for children 12 and younger.

Where: The Nevada County Fairgrounds Arena

When: Friday and Saturday

Time: Gates open at 5 p.m. and shows start at 7 p.m.

Admission: $15 for adults, $12 for students with an I.D. and $10 for children 12 and under

Pre”sale tickets: At Gold” N”Green Rentals, 302 Railroad Ave., GV. 273″0084

Music: DJ Wack Ball and Tork

Prizes: Give”aways both nights