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The First Time Rancher

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

I first penned this post over two years ago, when a MotoMom in a social media group said they were prepping for their first trip. I’ve been a few times as a MotoSis and have worked an industry booth as a promo model/spokes gal/water-hander-outer. My sons weren’t very active in moto when I wrote this, and based it on the week my family would spend at the Ranch each summer. Now that my boys are really involved in racing, this sits a little higher in my heart. As you make your final preparations to head through the Cumberland Gap and the lands of Ya’ll and Ma’am, I have some advice.

When asked about what first timer’s should know about Loretta’s:

The Ranch isn’t about winning or losing, except for those select few. The ride to The Ranch is done. Tickets, punched. You made it to the dance.

You’re gonna sit in blistering heat. You’re gonna have swamp ass and mosquito bites. The showers are cold. There’s spiders.

Inevitably, weather man be damned, it’s gonna rain. Probably a lot.

None of this matters. What matters is you get an inner tube and float All. The. Way. Down to the falls and hitch a ride back. What matters is you spend a few bucks playing some pool. Eat a snow cone, corn dog on a stick, or whatever tickles your fancy.

Shop the vendors. Especially the small, independent ones that have put their whole year into making their profits at The Ranch. Tell them you are so glad they made it.

Go to the fashion show, talent show, dance - participate in whatever silly and cheesy thing there is, because you might not ever have this chance again. Remember what it’s like to be 14 or 15 years old at them.

Covid killed the beer garden. It didn’t kill beer drinking you just need to do it at your own pit.

Look at the big kids, little kids, really big kids and the grown ups that never grew up out on the track and be envious of their ability to shut it all out and just race.

Hug your kid and tell you that you love them. Tell them before they go to the line, and after the checkered flag. Then do it all over again a dozen times.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will save your life.

Find some random track rat squirt and grab and toy dirt bike and build a mudtrack with them. Ask them for their autograph. High-5 every shaft class racer on their way to the line. High-5 every vet class racer on their way to the line, too. Those classes are the far extremes but it’s safe to buy they are the happiest racers on the track.

Sit in a golf cart on Stagecoach Hill and just watch the people.

You may have sacrificed everything to get your family into this event. But don’t forget for one second why you did it. If it’s not bringing you and yours joy you’re there for the wrong reasons.

The pool is closed this year. It’s usually nasty by Wednesday anyway.

Make friends. New ones, from across the country. Tell your kid to make friends. There’s hardly any service so put your phone in the motorhome and forget you own one.

Smile. Really freaking big. Some of us roll in diesel pusher American Eagle freightliner buses with full hook ups. Some of us second mortgage our American Dream homes so our kid can have one chance at chasing theirs.

This is what Loretta’s is. This is what you need to remember. Say I love you. Say I’m proud of you. Take some pictures. Take home a cool rock. Take home memories.

Don’t forget to frame the bib when you get home, and whatever you do, don’t wash it first.


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