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9-year-old heads back to nationals
072311 MOTOR CROSS 01
Braeden Kenan, a 9-year-old motocross racer from Stilson, shows off his game face in this 2011 file photo, taken when he was 7, before his first trip to the American Motorcyclist Association Amateur Motocross National Championship. Kenan qualified for the event again in 2013. - photo by Special to the Herald

    HURRICANE MILLS, Tenn. — Stilson’s Braeden Kenan just made his dream come true again.
    The 9-year-old dirt bike racer from just outside of Brooklet has qualified for the largest amateur motocross race in the world, the 32nd Annual Red Bull AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch.
    Kenan took on over 20,000 hopefuls from across America to earn one of just 1,446 qualifying positions. Kenan last competed in this event in 2011 and came away with a 3rd place finish.
    “The Amateur Nationals at Loretta Lynn’s is the event every motocross racer in the country wants to compete in,” said Event Director Tim Cotter. “A win at the Amateur Nationals gives a rider instant national notoriety and can serve as a springboard to a lucrative professional motocross career.”
    Most of America’s top professional motocrossers, including James Stewart, Ricky Carmichael, Travis Pastrana and Jeremy McGrath, have won AMA Amateur National Championships at Loretta Lynn’s.
    The race is so prestigious that in 2012 it became part of the Red Bull Signature Series, airing race coverage on NBC for the first time ever. In 2013, the coverage will air from Loretta Lynn’s on NBC for the first time ever. 
    Kenan, who attends Nevils Elementary School, has been riding since he was 2 years old. With the help of sponsors and a whole lot of mom and dad who help pay his way to the races, Kenan has had the opportunity to pursue his dreams.
    He has won over 100 races in the last 3 years and competes nearly every weekend at from as far south as Ocala Florida and as far North as Casey, Ill. In March he finished second at the Dayton International Speedway’s Supercross.
    Kenan will make the long journey to Tennessee along with his mom, dad, sister, grandparents and aunts and uncles. The race runs July 29 through Aug. 3.