At the end of the month, the best Motocross racers in the country will meet for a national title, and one rider is representing Green Country.
Spend any time watching Motocross and you’ll agree, it’s one of the most physically demanding sports out there.
But 17-year-old Ronny Paeper takes that challenge and embraces it. He’s part of a racing family and is quickly climbing the Motocross ladder.
"I started racing whenever I was about eight or nine," Paeper said.
"When he was two, we put him in a go-kart, riding around the yard, and from that point in time on, I knew he was set for a motorcycle," said Paeper’s mother, Dayna James. "Seeing him jump 150, 200-foot jumps at one time, scare you a whole lot, but it's fun."
This year, that’s carried him to the National Motocross Championships at Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurrican Mills, Tennessee.
"It's kinda what my goal has been. I wanted to make it to Loretta’s, so, my dad told me ‘Hey, we're going to make it no matter what,’" Paeper said.
Paeper has gotten close to this level several times in past years but never could quite get over the hump. He decided, though, this year was the year he finally did, but an early season injury almost derailed those hopes before they even began."
"I broke my thumb in three places. I had tipped over and fell and jammed my thumb a little bit. Ended up breaking it," he said.
But Paeper persevered, and now he’s on the cusp of a national title.
"Right now, I feel like I have a good chance to get top three. I'm hoping to go over there and win it, but if I don't, I'm happy to even make it," he said.