Business and Passion Collide, as our own Al Morrison writes about his experience and how the custom trophy making he has done for 2 different AMA Nationals has affected himself and his business .
One of the neat things about the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series are the unique awards presented to the podium finishers each round. Each season Racer X Illustrated holds a competition among the twelve National tracks for best custom trophies. It’s competitive, and for me, personal. Back in 2014 I had the opportunity to make the Pro National trophies for Washougal MX and it truly changed the path of my wood working business, Wood Ya Products. Trophies were never on my radar, but I am as passionate about motocross as they come and jumped on the chance to have a connection to the motocross scene. As a Michigander, I had to find a way to make RedBud’s National trophies, and the work I did for Washougal was the leverage I needed to showcase my work and convince the Ritchie’s’ (Tim and Amy Ritchie - Owners of Redbud) I was up to the task!
2017 will be my third year making the National trophies for RedBud and it’s been one of the most rewarding opportunities. Making the trophies has broadened my skill set, expanded my creativity and has really fulfilled my desire to be a part of the motocross community. But this year things are a bit different… not only did I make the trophies for RedBud, I’m going to try and qualify for the National. I came into the racing scene a little bit later than most, but I decided a few years back if I focused on riding and training, there’s no reason why I couldn’t get my pro license and actually try to qualify for a race. Last summer my dad traveled with me as I raced some Pro-Ams and I collected enough points to make it official. It’s truly a dream come true to attend this year’s National not only as a fan, but also a racer.
This year’s trophies for RedBud showcase the spirit and theme of the weekend: The Fourth of July. Arguably the pinnacle of the series, RedBud always falls around the 4th of July and nothing is more American than thousands of fans celebrating the holiday and cheering on their favorite riders. Can I say, Reddddddd Budddddd?!? My starting point on the design was the massive American flag proudly flying the stars and stripes above the track, an iconic part of RedBud. I decided to juxtapose the flag over an outline of the U.S. As their slogan states, RedBud is “America’s Motocross Track.” From there we had to bring out the detail so I used a mix of Michigan hardwoods, cherry and walnut. One of the neat aspects of my business is we cut, mill, and dry our own lumber. The Walnut lumber used on this year’s trophies were sourced directly from my back yard and the Cherry lumber was salvaged dead-fall, all milled and dried in an environmentally friendly way. It’s awesome to make the trophies using Michigan materials, in Michigan, for a Michigan track!
The 2017 RedBud MX National Trophy
As the race approaches my excitement is a mile high. It’s hard to believe I’ve reached this point, both the opportunity to make high-end custom awards as well as trying to race at the highest level. I can’t thank the Ritchie’s enough for the chance to make their trophies back in 2015 and for all the help and support I’ve received from family and friends allowing me to pursue my dream of racing Pro Motocross. The people, promoters and riders I’ve met along this journey have been amazing, and I’m looking forward to this weekend. See you all at RedBud!