She rides like a girl, or does she?

She rides like a girl, or does she?

Most 16-year-old girls are consumed with thoughts of school and hanging out with friends. Emma Hadley is no different, but racing dirt bikes also consumes her time. The West Washington junior has been successful in a sport considered mostly for boys and she only started riding a bike a little less than two years ago.

She was introduced to the sport by her step-dad, Tyson Shields. He was teaching her mom, Devin, how to ride a street bike and Emma took a turn. “She did real well with it,” Devin said. After seeing how easily she took to it, Tyson asked if she wanted to try a dirt bike. They borrowed one and she fell in love with it. Then he asked her if she wanted to ride or race. She said, “I want to race.” 

“She took off so fast,” Devin said. “Most people, nine times out of 10, that she is riding against are riders who have been riding since they were like two years old.” In fact, Emma’s two year old sister, Stella, has her own bike and gear. She is Emma’s biggest fan.

“Every track there is going to be girls, but not many at all.” Emma said. Some of the boys are accepting of her and others start out as naysayers, but all it takes is to win against them and they become believers in her talent. Tyson has taught her to stand on her own against those who give her a hard time.

Earlier this season she was leading the pack, first in points, and was on the fast track to the Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross championship at Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, reserved for only 42 riders. She was sure to advance after qualifying for two regional qualifying races in the women’s division. But on Mother’s Day, she had a wreck at Parsons Motorcross Compound. “We thought she had broke her tibia,” Devin said. 

“It was pretty disappointing,” Emma said. “I’ve worked so hard to get to that point and then end up crashing.” It was on her first lap, too, at her favorite track. They had just done some maintenance and it was rough from where riders had been practicing. But Emma was quick to say, “It wasn’t their fault, it could happen anywhere.”

The complete story can be read in the July 15, edition of The Salem Democrat. If you want to follow Emma on Facebook, her racing page is Hair Ties and Holeshots Racing.


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