Kenny Coolbeth: Be Supportive
By Bill Kresnak
Kenny Coolbeth has risen to the top of the sport in the AMA Flat Track Championship, with both Singles and Twins titles on his resume. He’s also been racing since he was 5, and credits his family with helping him become what he is. Here’s his take on racing and kids.
On continuing the family tradition: I started racing when I was 5 years old. My dad raced, and his dad raced. One day I was riding a JR50 around the yard, and my dad asked me if I wanted to race that weekend, and I said, “Yes.” I raced every weekend after that.
On the family atmostphere: My parents were really important. Every weekend was a family weekend, because we had a motorhome and a trailer and we would make a weekend vacation out of it and have fun. It was great. We’d load up on Thursday or Friday and live in our motorhome, and I would get dropped off at school the next week from the motorhome. We got the schoolwork we were going to miss, and I did it on the road.
On what made the biggest difference for him: My parents just told me to have fun. My dad never yelled at me. They patted me on the back when I came off the track—it didn’t matter whether I won or not. It’s a big confidence boost when your parents are happy, so it was their attitude as well as mine that made racing fun.
On what not to do: Other parents would be yelling at their kids, and I was just thankful my parents didn’t do that. If parents do that, their kids are going to ride over their heads and get hurt. There’s no need for it. If the kid’s riding the best he can and having fun, then you should just let him have fun.