With age and experience comes wisdom. Case in point, Damon Palacios of Grandview.
Palacios qualified for the American Motocross Association Amateur/Youth National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn's ranch in Tennessee Aug. 2-7. Turning 7 in late June, he is now more experienced after being able to compete at a race not too many motocross riders his age get to take part in.
Palacios was one of 42 motocross racers in his classification, the 51cc 4-6 Stock Oil Injection division, to compete for national championship honors. Palacios ended up finishing 36th out of the pack. The field featured motocross riders from all over the United States, including Minnesota, Texas, Florida, California and even Bermuda. Palacios was one of only a couple of riders from Washington state.
Palacios qualified for the prestigious national race by winning a Regional qualifying event in Washougal in June.
Damon's father, Dave, said his son didn't catch much of a break right from the start, getting handed the 38th spot in the gate pick, which put him on the difficult opposite side of the first turn.
"It was strictly luck of the draw," said Dave.
Damon said he had never raced on a course like the one at Loretta Lynn's estate at Hurricane Mills.
"The course was hard," said Damon.
Damon added he had never seen so many expert riders as he did at the national championships.
The most difficult spot on the course, said Damon, was an area referred to as "The 10 Commandments." The commandments are a set of 10 hills that riders hit in consecutive stride.
"There are a lot of ruts on them," said Damon.
Damon said the commandments were very challenging because as soon as he would come down one hill, he would hit another that would send him shooting back into the air.
Damon, though, said he was pleased for the most part with how he rode.
Dave thought his son did well at the event, even though he said Damon would have liked to done better. Dave said on a couple of the turns his son was dead last and worked his way back through the pack.
Besides competing, Damon said he had a great time watching the "big guys" race. Damon said it was exciting to see them speed around the course.
Damon also had a good time playing in Hurricane Creek, a river running through Lynn's estate. Damon said he saw all sorts of creatures such as crawfish and frogs.
"It is very kid oriented there," said Dave.
Dave said Lynn's estate had all kinds of areas dedicated to keeping youngsters busy, including an arcade.
"It is something a kid would dream of," grinned Damon.
Damon also had the opportunity to see two of his idols at the event, motocross riders Bubba Stewart and Ivan Tedesco.
Damon and his parents took time out during their two-week excursion to see some of the sights along the way. Among the places the family stopped at were Mt. Rushmore, the St. Louis arch, Graceland, the Sears Tower in Chicago, Abraham Lincoln's birthplace and the Crazy Horse memorial. Dave said they also had a chance to tour Lynn's home.
Damon also had the chance to take his first taxi cab ride, which he said was something to experience in a "big city." Damon said his favorite stop on the tour was the Greyhound Hall of Fame in Abilene, Kansas, a museum dedicated to dog racing. Damon said he liked looking at all of the dog items in the museum.
Dave said he was very proud of how his son did.
"A little better gate pick and he could have easily been in the top 20," said Dave.
Palacios said there are a lot of motocross races that a person can compete at, but Lynn's is the biggest one.
"This is by far the most prestigious one to go to," said Dave. "It is kind of like the Rose Bowl."