PHOTO GALLERY: Boone County Fair hosts ATV races Saturday

Saturday, July 23, 2011 | 9:49 p.m. CDT
Johnathan Nichols blasts through the ATV course during the 90cc race on Saturday at Boone County Fairgrounds. When Nichols had an equipment malfunction, it allowed one of his competitors to pull ahead during the race's final laps.

COLUMBIA — Six classes of riders came out to the Grandstand arena on Saturday to compete for cash prizes in the Boone County Fair ATV races.

Expert ATV racer Tanner Young shares a moment with his girlfriend, Kristina Strader, in the shade of their RV awning on Saturday, before competing at Boone County Fairgrounds. Young competed in two classes but had no competitors in the Farm Sportsman class.
A green flag held by ATV Race Coordinator Nate Knigge directs Farm Utility class competitor Derrick Agee to another lap on Saturday at Boone County Fairgrounds.
Rick Klein pops a wheelie while Bryan Buso closely chases him Saturday during the Intermediate ATV class race at the Boone County Fairgrounds.
Dale Johanning runs off the ATV course after snapping the starting rope Saturday at the Boone County Fair. Six classes of riders came out to the Grandstand arena to compete for cash prizes.

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Delcia Crockett July 23, 2011 | 10:59 p.m.

What are the age categories of the competitors, and how are the safety guidelines enforced for those who do compete?

Is anyone under 16 in the competition?

How far apart are the ATVs placed in the race? How fast are they allowed to go? Is "popping a wheelie" part of the participation, or is "showing off" encouraged/allowed by those who watch?

Is anyone aware that an 8-year-old died while on an ATV in the Bootheel this week?

That tragedy would lead to anyone being aware/concerned of/for any guidelines and rules in regard to the "play" use of these vehicles. Lives were changed forever in that one moment of instant death, and the shock of it was felt far and wide.

True, these participants, in this competition pictured here, are wearing helmets and no accident occurred, but even with pro drivers and finely-tuned safety in race cars, accidents still happen with driver buckled in the vehicle.

Can we learn from the tragedies, and be certain ever of these ATVs in riding them for sport?

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks July 24, 2011 | 8:37 a.m.

Crockett: Sounds like you were never able to have anything fun growing up. I could not imagine what it would have been like to go through life without a skateboard or bicycle.

Between the 900 estimated bicycle deaths each year and the 700 ATV deaths I think I know what I would rather be riding.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett July 24, 2011 | 9:29 a.m.

@"Sounds like you were never able to have anything fun growing up. I could not imagine what it would have been like to go through life without a skateboard or bicycle.Between the 900 estimated bicycle deaths each year and the 700 ATV deaths I think I know what I would rather be riding."

I teach, tutor and mentor (volunteer). I hold a child's life most dear. There is fun, and there is tragedy. Better the fun be as free of tragedy as possible. Accidents do happen, even with the best of supervision and care. Why tempt the fate of such occurring? We learn from the tragedy of others. Or, we can/should.

BTW, I was loaned a wonderful, very good, very expensive bike (as a child) by a young lady who had long outgrown it, but saved it for future use of maybe someone just like me. I not only took very good care of the bike, enjoyed it immensely every summer until I, too, outgrew it, but my aunt made sure every safety precaution was taken by me. I could still have gotten hurt (That's why they call them "accidents."), but was less likely to do so because of the guidelines set and followed. Communities have safety perimeters for a reason - to be as safe as possible - knowing the unthinkable can occur (and sometimes does) at any time. That is only logic and learning from life.

: )

(Report Comment)
Jessica Knigge July 24, 2011 | 6:10 p.m.

@Crockett. Any age was able to compete. There were children as young as 7 involved in the racing. They all started on a line with a rubber band start which is common. They are allowed to go as fast as they wanted to or are able to go. Everyone knows the limits of their bikes and riding ability. Popping a wheelie is neither encouraged or discouraged and some competitors do this is a way of showing off or being excited about winning.

If you were very concerned about the safety requirements you would have checked the flyer on the fairgrounds website and posted around town that stated the required safety items that the riders had to wear.

As you stated following safety precautions was required and used and you are correct this does not always keep everyone fully safe but does help keep them safe.

As for the boy who lost his life that is a sad situation but also a very different situation then this organized event.

@Parks I agree you have to have fun in life. Some people like living in a bubble others like living on the edge. There is always an in between. You have to know your limits and taking safety precautions. This event was much safer than riding out on the farm for some.

It was a great event very well organized and I hope they have it again next year. Maybe at night though so it will be cooler.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith July 25, 2011 | 6:37 a.m.

And then we have the (in)famous 4th of July weekend ATV ride of MU basketball player Ricky Clemons that resulted in injuries but no deaths.

At the time, Clemons was a guest of University of Missouri System President Elson Floyd, who suffered much bad publicity over the incident.

That event was not supervised, and the ATV itself wasn't the problem.

(Report Comment)
Delcia Crockett July 28, 2011 | 2:33 p.m.

Thank you for answering the questions asked.

Some more questions that are surfacing across the country as the rate of these accidents occur include:

Is there an age-specified license requirement for these motorized vehicles? In Missouri, if there is a license requirement, are drivers exempt under special circumstances such as event racing or on farm roads?

Because some folks consider these motorized vehicles "adult toys," it may very well be true that a child can develop a skill to stay balanced on the vehicle under ideal conditions, but what if the ideal conditions suddenly changed, such as brake failure or some other malfunction of the vehicle - considering brand new cars have been recalled for such failure and any vehicle can have a malfunction at any time.

After a child is hurt or injured on such a motorized vehicle, is the said vehicle inspected for such possibility in order to save future tragedy from the same thing?

I am certain that it will be said all vehicles used in this race were 100% safe, but we need to consider that these are children, and if there are stipulations made, those stipulations are only for their well-being. That is why people ask the questions, not to be critical of such an event.

Thank you for all concerned.

(Report Comment)

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