Monster Mountain under new ownership
By Michael Butler
The buzz of motorcycle engines can still be heard regularly off Burt Mill Road just outside of the Tallassee city limits. The motocross track Monster Mountain MX has been attracting riders for 20 years. Now, it has a new owner.
Keith Kingsfield had been working in the banking industry in Athens, Ga., but he was looking for a change.
"We purchased it in December of last year," Kingsfield said. "I'm a retired banker. I was in banking for 25 years and was going to try to find the thing that was the furthest away from banking. Motocross was in my family's life since I was a kid. We thought it'd be fun for us to create an environment where kids could chase their dreams."
Monster Mountain now has a training academy for riders and offers homeschooling. There were 30 students on site over the summer.
Tyler Thompson is the trainer and a rider himself.
"I've been around motocross for 35 years I guess. I jumped on a bike when I was two. I'll be 38 soon. I've been training kids for close to 20 years. I enjoy every minute of it. Most of the racing is all over the country. We're getting ready to hit Oklahoma. There's roughly 10-12 big races a year. We'll go to Texas and California. We'll also go to Florida, Tennessee, Michigan. It varies."
Thompson's son Ryder is 13. Like his dad, he got on a bike when he was two in Indiana.
"My goal is to become the best rider I can be," Ryder said. "I want to be a great ambassador for my sport and sponsors."
Stephen Persine (left) and Ryder Thompson
Stephen Persine also trains at Monster Mountain. He is 17 and from Michigan.
"I came down here and decided to go big or go home," Persine said.
Persine and Thompson just signed contracts with Team Sakai.
"The contracts that both Stephan and Ryder signed is help," Thompson said. "It's not a full ride. It's definitely a help to get them so they can excel more."
Persine is getting used to being in Tallassee but likes it.
"The group we have at Monster are all brothers," he said. "It's great that Walmart's seven minutes away. They've got Dairy Queen. It's good."
There are three races remaining on this year's circuit for locals to watch. The next will be the Top Kids Showcase on Halloween weekend, Oct. 30 - Nov. 1. Tickets are $10.
"It is a nationally known track," said Kingsfield. "Anybody that knows anything about motocross knows about Monster Mountain. It's kind of a destination. We're trying to add some big racing which will add to the economy of Tallassee."