Clark County Fair ramps up, flies high

X Games gold medalist back to work during motocross, special bike performance

By Adam Littman, Columbian Staff Writer

Published:

 

If You Go

What: Clark County Fair.

Hours Thursday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: 17402 N.E. Delfel Road.

Admission: Adults, $11.25; seniors 62 and older, $9.25; kids 7-12, $8.25; kids 6 and younger, free.

Parking and transportation: Parking, $6 per vehicle; C-Tran shuttle, free from six main transfer stations; $1 discount on full gate admission with coupon from bus driver. Schedules at www.c-tran.com/clarkcountyfair

Carnival: Opens at noon.

Free grandstand entertainment: Demolition derby, 2 and 7 p.m.

Pets: Not permitted, except for service animals or those on exhibit or in competition.

More information: www.clarkcofair.com or call 360-397-6180

Destin Cantrell accomplished a lifelong dream last month when he won a gold medal at the X Games, but soon after, it was back to work.

Cantrell won gold in the Moto X Best Whip category while competing in his first X Games. A whip is when a rider angles the tail end of their bike forward while in the air and brings it back behind them before landing. During his gold medal ride, Cantrell nearly spun around 180 degrees before returning to his original position.

He showed off his whipping skills Wednesday at the Clark County Fair during the motocross and special bike performance. Cantrell spends most of his year traveling around performing in events like Wednesday’s more than competing in national competitions.

“It’s pretty unreal,” said Cantrell, who started riding at 4 and competing professionally at 15. “While it’s been a goal to win at the X Games, this is really what I love to do. This is my job. We do maybe 50 shows like this a year, almost every weekend. We’re on the road all the time, but it’s worth it to get out here and see the fans up close and get to meet them after the show.”

For other riders, like Robert Haslam, the Clark County Fair gig is welcome because it’s a chance to spend the night at home.

Haslam was born in the Seattle area, where he still lives with his family.

“I love the hometown aspect of it,” Haslam said after Wednesday’s 2 p.m. show while hanging out with his wife and kids. “I can sleep in my own bed. We woke up, drove down here and we’ll go back up (Wednesday night). I’ve been doing this about a decade. Traveling around is fun and all, but it takes a toll on you.”

While Haslam didn’t attend the fair as a kid, this was his fourth year riding at the event.

“This one is one of my favorites,” he said. “For some reason, this one always gets a bunch of riders to come out, so its like a mini reunion.”

At the 2 p.m. show on Wednesday — there was also a 7 p.m. show — there were seven riders, six on bikes and one on a quad. Cantrell wasn’t the only recent X Games gold medal winner at the fair on Wednesday, as Colby Raha also performed. Raha, of Palmdale, Calif., won the Moto X Quarterpipe High Air contest last month. Cal Vallone was named favorite rider of the early show by fans.

The riders took turns performing tricks during their individual sets, and the show ended with a freestyle jam, where they jumped off the three ramps simultaneously or one right after the other. The three launch and landing ramps were each about 75 feet apart and about 30 feet high, which are standard dimensions, Cantrell said.

This was the first time the motocross show at the fair has had three ramps, according to John Borba, founder of WGAS Motorsports, the organizer of all motorsports events at the fair.

WGAS is based in Cool, Calif., and Borba said they put on motorsports events up and down the West Coast.

Borba said WGAS has been bringing motocross to the Clark County Fair for at least 10 years, and it’s continued to grow. It started with an event that also featured kids riding around, and has grown into five days of events: motocross, demolition derby, two days of Tuff Truck Racing and monster trucks.

“Last year, we had 100 entries for Tuff Trucks,” Borba said. “Kids just want to go all out and see who can tear up a truck the most.”