At any track we witness the natural progression: empty space becomes structured, camping lots emerge and fill up, and with them, pro pits, vendor rows, media centers, and VIP zones appear.
But Redbud takes it to a whole new level. Their campsites have campsites. There’s even an 18 and older lot, where the real debauchery unfolds. Take a morning stroll past Lot B, and you will see more than a few people face down in the grass next to mountains of beer cans, music still blaring.
But don’t get me wrong, there’s more substance to the extravaganza than can be found in a can of Bud Light. I’m not sure if it’s because of the Fourth of July holiday or the incessant back-to-back race events (five events in three days!) or perhaps it’s simply the frantic excitement generated by the resounding, guttural cheers of, “Redbuuuuuuuuuuuuuuud” that make it such an extravaganza. Whatever it may be, it is an event that can only be learned through experience.
Working the podium at all four amateur events, we got to talk with the many people who come to Redbud to race. We greeted the champions who returned to winner’s circle again and again. We high-fived tiny kids who had just finished their first races.
We celebrated with proud moms and dads who we knew put in all the behind-the-scenes work to make it possible for their children to compete. We reminisced with vet riders, who were pleased that they ‘still had it’ after a good run on the track.
Watching the fireworks exploding, showering comets of red, white, and blue over the ruts and jumps of Redbud MX Park, I decide that if Redbud owes its reputation to any one thing, it’s tradition. Each year, the Ritchies and the rest of the Redbud staff put on the biggest, most impressive weekend of racing on the series. And each year, fans, competitors, friends, and families return to celebrate Independence Day together, creating the memories and traditions that shape our lives.
This year, I finally got to experience Redbud, and I must admit, it was worth the hype.