Belgrade youth excelling at motorcross
While most 10-year-old boys are busy with collecting action figures or
trading cards, Blake Ard is a little more ambitious. He collects trophies
lots of trophies.
His most recent acquisition was a four-foot tall beauty nearly as big as
Blake himself. He collected it last Saturday in Great Falls after being
honored as Montanas back-to-back state champion in the High Country
Motorcross Association circuit.
This one, I think, is the best so far, said Blake, who recently dyed
his hair bright pink.
Blake, a fifth grader at Belgrade Intermediate School, won his second
straight title back in July after competing in the 10-12 year-old 60B class
in the HCMA circuit. Blake finished as the points leader for the 2006
season, and beat out 66 other riders including his sister, Hannah, for the
championship. Hannah was 37th.
The trophy was the biggest that Blake has received to date, and one of
more than 300 he has earned since beginning motorcross five and a half years
I try to keep most of them in storage, said Blakes mother, Mandy.
Once they filled his room, his sisters room, and the living room, I was
like, OOkay, the big ones can stay. All the rest of them have to go.
The big ones include Blakes two state championship trophies, a runnerup
trophy, a consolation trophy, a fourth place trophy, and a 12th place trophy
all from state competition.
Although hes still three years away from his teens, Blake has emerged as
one of the best youth motorcross riders in the state. In addition to racing
in the HCMA circuit, Blake has also competed in the Mon-Dak races, the AMA
ProAm Nationals (the United States circuit) and is currently riding in the
Rapid City (S.D.) circuit.
Blake began riding at the tender age of four after pleading for a bike.
The very first time I got involved in this, I kept begging my parents to
get me a dirt bike. When I was like two or three, said Blake. And they
finally bought me a PW, and then I saw a race.
The first race he went to was just to see, added Mandy. And then we
just took it from there.
In motorcross its common for aspiring riders to begin racing at a very
young age. And as is the case with just about any other sport, there is a
pee wee division. Thats where Blake got his start, in the 50 class which
refers to the size of the bike.
Ya know they start out so little. We watch some of the little 50 pee
wees that start at (age) four. And theyre so little they barely and hook up
their boots. Theyre cute, said Mandy. But its not so cute anymore. Its
getting a little bit scarier now he can jump 82 feet on this bike. So its
getting a little scary.
Theyre have been some bumps and bruises over the years, including a
concussion during the 2006 season. But Blake was quick to state that racing
was exciting unless you wreck.
Said Mandy: Weve only made one hospital visit in five and a half years,
so I think were pretty lucky.
Currently the HMCA circuit is on hiatus for the winter. But Blake will
continue to race over the next five months in arenacross (indoors). The
closest facility for the Ards is in Rapid City, S.D., and Blake was
encourage to keep racing by his main sponsor, Hi-Tech Motor Sports in
Its hard to cool off for five months and then be expected to go out and
win, noted Mandy. So were keeping him in it year round now.
Blake and his sister Hannah have competed on every course in Montana from
Livingston to Hungry Horse to Malta. The duo also rode in the Washougal
ProAm National in Washougal, Wash., a race that featured 48 competitors at
the start line in their heat.
With those events, and now the trips to Rapid City, the Ards have put
plenty of miles on the family vehicle 30,000 since April to be exact.
We do travel a lot, said Mandy. We only do the Montana state circuit
and then we went out and did a few ProAm National races just to see how
theyd do against the national circuit. And he trophied in both of them. He
The HCMA features nearly 600 racers in the local circuit across Montana.
Most of the events take place at the MetraPark Arena in Billings, and Blake
said he knows nearly all of the other riders.
While in the Gallatin Valley, Blake often practices at the Van Ry MX Park
adjacent to Interstate 90 about five miles west of Belgrade.
The Ards are in the process of preparing to build a new home next spring
on 10 acres of land that will incorporate their own practice track. And with
the extra space, Blake hopes to pull some of those boxed up trophies out of
He wants to build them (the trophies) into his walls, said Mandy.
And in the long run, Blake plans on sticking with the sports he loves.
I want to try and do it until I get into the pros an stuff, said Blake.
And earn some money, added Mandy.