JEFFERSON — More than 600 people from across the nation turned up to Jefferson’s Diamond Don Event Center this week for the 18th annual AHRMA International Vintage Motocross races.
The dirt was flying and the engines were revving as racers ran through the course throughout the day on Saturday.
“We’ve had families that have been here in Jefferson since Labor Day weekend for this event,” co-owner of the Diamond Don Event Center Francene Rainey said on Saturday. “They come every year for the races but they love Jefferson and it’s a great place to vacation so a lot of them came early and have been here since Labor Day weekend.”
Founder of the annual races “Diamond” Don Rainey also climbed on his bike Saturday to join the races with fellow national champion racers, such as Motorcycle Hall of Famers and legends Barry Higgins, Steve Wise, Brad Lackey, Trampas Parker, Trey Jorski, Guy Cooper and Gary Semics.
“The racers have all been telling me how excited and grateful they are that we went ahead with the races this year,” Diamond Don Rainey said Saturday. “The vintage motocross is a series and most of those races take place throughout the year on the east coast. Out of 16 races, 10 of those were canceled so the racers are just so excited to be here and racing.”
The event kicked off on Thursday with a charity Golf Skills Challenge benefiting the Jefferson Railway and Wetlands Foundation that helps fund local youth activities and programs.
“We raised about $1,000 for the foundation through the golf tournament and we raised about $2,000 from the raffle ticket sales of the motorcycle,” Francene Rainey said.
With more than 600 racers camped out in the bayou city, the annual AHRMA Vintage Motocross event serves as one of Jefferson’s largest events of the year, Rainey said.
“This is the Woodstock of vintage motocross,” Rainey said previously.
“This is a family friendly event, and many of the wives and children come for this event each year because they love visiting Jefferson,” Rainey said. “We even have some women competitors racing this year.”
Next up, Diamond Don and Francene, who own several businesses in Jefferson, are set to put on the second annual Antique Tractor Show and Trump Tractor Parade next Saturday at 10 a.m. in downtown Jefferson.
Following the tractor show, the couple, who own the Historic Jefferson Railway, will host the Halloween Express Train which is a family friendly Halloween train that will run each Saturday in October in both the day and night.
Beginning the day after Thanksgiving, the Historic Jefferson Railway will host the Christmas Express Train through the Christmas holiday, with both day and night time runs.