Final Ride On Earth But Still Riding Hard In Heaven
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]lthough August marked the 1-year anniversary of Chris Blankenship’s passing, his memory rides on! From local kids tuning up for Loretta Lynns to top level pros like his buddy Kevin Windham, Chris “Short” Blankenship touched many in the motocross community before his untimely passing in a racing accident at age 38.
A former pro racer, Chris was a valued member of the Dirt Wurx USA crew and was responsible for Supercross track construction, not only in the United States, but all over the world. However he never forgot his roots and could always be counted on as the first one to step up when something needed doing.
Now the motocross community is stepping up for Short. Last fall, The Legends and Heroes of Supercoss put Short’s Suzuki on display at the St. Louis Supercross round. Kevin Windham and Dirt Wurx teamed up for “Party In The Pasture” featuring entertainment from Windham’s country western recording star buddy, Craig Morgan, along with a host of pro MX/SX and FMX athletes, including Wil Hahn, Davi Millsaps, Brett Cue, Josh Grant, Broc Tickle, Matt Lemoine, Johnny Moore, Mike Mason, Adam Jones and Kenny Bartram.
“K-Dub’s been a friend of the Dirt Wurx team for years, and he was an excellent friend of Chris’,” says Dirt Wurx president Rich Winkler. “We all wanted to do something for Chris’ wife Crystal, and his children.”
That sentiment was echoed at the local dealership level. “Chris was a lifelong customer of J & W Cycles, but more than that he was a close personal friend,” says the Washington, Missouri, dealership owner Bob Jones. “Chris has been building our MX track at the fair for the last 10-12 years. Chris was best known for his optimistic personality and his constant goofy grin. He is sorely missed.”
He also left behind a wife and two kids. “As a small gesture to help out his kids, J & W Cycles organized a fundraiser for Kate and Macen’s educational fund,” adds Jones. “It took place at the Moto Museum in downtown St. Louis the night before the St. Louis Supercross.” There was a silent auction as well as a live auction featuring everything from DC shoes autographed by Malcolm Smith to Bob Jones putting his vintage Penton up for bid.
“We had a great turnout and can’t thank the industry enough for the support,” says Jones. “Moto Museum donated the use of the hall, Grey Eagle Distributing donated the beer and Hebbler Bottling ponied up for Pepsi products I have been blessed with a bunch of volunteers.”
In addition to the fundraisers by J & W Cycles, Dirt Wurx, Kevin Windham and crew, there is still more that needs to be done. Look for a similar event in conjunction with the St. Louis SX round this year. There is also a memorial page for Short set up on Facebook to stay updated on what is going on and to keep Chris’ memory riding hard: www.facebook.com/shortblankenship