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Motocross has been a dream that 9-year-old Grant Sweeney of Park Hills has had most of his life.

That dream become a reality last year when he traveled to Phoenix, Arizona to participate in the 16th Annual KTM Jr. Supecross Challenge (KJSC) at Chase Field, where he was selected to race in round two.

His dream continues as he has qualified for 2015 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship, which is the world’s largest and most prestigious amateur motocross championship.

“This Saturday we will head down to Hurricane Mills, Tennessee for the national race that is being held at country singer Loretta Lynn’s ranch,” said Matt Sweeney, Grant’s father. “Grant is one of 42 in the world that has qualified for this race and he had to go through two other qualifiers to get to this one. They only took the top 10 out of there and that put him into a regional race. There were 60-plus kids in the regionals and he had to be in the top six to qualify for the national race.”

In 2001, Matt made it to the same regional race, but didn’t advance to the Nationals like his son Grant was able to. Grant is in the top 42 in the world in his class.

Matt said that he never pushed him into racing.

“This is something that he has always done,” said Matt. “We took him to a race that I was working at on the track and he saw it. They had a little bike there and from that day forward it has been something that he loves to do. He enjoys it, so it’s not something that I’m going to take away. He was really excited the he qualified for the Nationals. It was a pretty exciting day for us when he qualified, it was something that he really wanted to achieve and do.”

There were 55 area qualifiers that took place in 32 states throughout the country. The 13 Regional Championships ran in eight major geographical regions throughout the United States that ended in June.

The area qualifiers serve as the first step in qualifying for the world’s largest and most prestigious amateur motocross championship. The Regional Championships then serve as the next step to seed riders into the National Championship at the Loretta Lynn Ranch July 26-Aug. . Only riders who finish in a qualifying position at a Regional Championship are eligible to race the Nationals.

"Lofting an AMA number one plate at the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn's is the ultimate achievement in amateur racing," said AMA Motocross Manager Kip Bigelow.

Matt said that Grant just knowing that he gets to race with the fastest kids in the world in the next couple weeks has him pretty pumped about it.

“We are considering taking Grant to the mini-Olympics over the Thanksgiving holiday for his last big race in the 50 class,” said Matt. “Next year he will move up a different class, which will be the 65 class.”

The 2015 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship will take place July 26-Aug. 1 at Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or



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