By Travis Sloat
Phoenix Staff Writer
The roar of airplane engines will be replaced by the drone of all-terrain vehicle engines this weekend at the Love-Hatbox Sports Complex.
The complex is hosting the American Motorcyclist Association All Terrain Vehicle Extreme Dirt Track National Series today. The event is bringing top competitors of the sport to Muskogee to duel for a professional purse worth $6,000 and amateur prizes worth $4,000.
Daniel Chepkauskas, professional ATV racer and Muskogee native, said the event would give him a shot at a coveted national title.
“It’s an opportunity for me to compete with the best in the entire country,” Chepkauskas said. “I’ve been competing four years now, and I want a title.”
The racers competed on June 17 and 18 last year for the EDT Regional Series races. On June 24, the racers gathered to practice for the National races, taking as many as 100 laps around the dirt track near the end of the Love-Hatbox runway.
Approximately 250 racers will take their marks for the heat races beginning at 10 a.m. today. The main races will begin at 1 p.m. and continue on in to the afternoon.
The track allows for top speeds of up to 85 mph, and features alternate routes for drivers to choose from, high speed turns and small jumps throughout.
Chepkauskas, who placed first in the regional series, said the races are bringing prestige to Muskogee.
“It gives people from out of town the chance to see the hospitality of our city,” he said. “It will also help bring revenue as well.”
General admission for the races will be $10 for adults 11 and up, $5 for children ages 5-10 and children under 5 get in free. EDT has also teamed with First Baptist Church of Muskogee to help provide relief for those affected by the Moore tornado. There will be an area at the track designated for donations of water, clothing and non-perishable food items.
Reach Travis Sloat at (918) 684-2908 or firstname.lastname@example.org.