Before Tucker Hibbert could beat most professional Snocross racers, he had to top his dad.
And he did it on a big stage.
In grand style.
The 28-year-old was first able to top pops at the 2000 Winter X Games in Mount Snow, Vt., earning the first of his seven X Games gold medals in the process.
“It was a pretty cool experience,” said Hibbert, who will be one of many professionals in this weekend’s AMSOIL Championship Snocross at Turtle Creek Casino. “I was racing in my first X Games. It was my first professional Snocross event — and I definitely wasn’t expecting to win.”
And he was only 15.
“That was a really cool opportunity to be able to race against my dad,” Hibbert said. “That was the first time we really competed against each other. For him to finish in fifth was pretty exciting.”
Luckily his father Kirk — who was inducted into the snow mobile Hall of Fame in 2007 — didn’t take the loss the wrong way, or it could have led to some awkward family dinners.
“No, not really,” Hibbert joked. “The first couple times I had to try to pass my dad on the track I was a little bit nervous and didn’t know what to do, but it was all good. We never got into any intense battles or anything bad. It was always lots of fun and good memories.”
They raced against each other about 15 times, Hibbert estimated, before his dad retired from pro racing about five years ago.
“He won a few and I won a few,” Hibbert said. “We went back and forth a little bit, but I’d like to say I won more than he did. We’ll just leave it at that.”
Since then, he’s racked up 11 Winter X Games medals and pulled off the first six-peat in X Games history by winning the Snocross event for the last half dozen years consecutively.
The six-peat came just in time, as he beat out Shaun White by a matter of hours two weekends ago. White won his sixth straight Snowboard Superpipe gold later in the day after Hibbert’s Snocross victory.
“Going for the six-peat was a really big goal for me,” Hibbert said.
To win that sixth gold, he had to pass Ross Martin, who will also be in pro events Friday and Saturday evenings that conclude each day packed with races.
Martin was able to avenge the X Games defeat in last week’s International Series of Champions race in Deadwood, S.D., to end Hibbert’s five-race series winning streak.
“I had a little bit of a winning streak going and I lost that on Saturday in South Dakota,” Hibbert said. “I’m motivated to get back on top and come away with some wins this weekend.
“Deadwood was good on Friday night. I won both of my qualifiers and the main event on Friday. On Saturday, I had not quite as good luck. I ended up in the 10th-place qualifying position, which put me on the far outside of the start line and I ended up going off the track on the first turn. So I started the race off on a bad foot. Then I tried to charge back up and made it to fifth place. I was somewhat happy, but a little disappointed with the results.”
The fifth-place finish was enough to hold on to the series points lead, which he’ll have to defend this weekend.
Hibbert comes in with 321 points to Martin’s 298 after eight events. Each night at Turtle Creek counts as a separate round for series points considerations. Robbie Malinoski (274), Tim Tremblay (272) and Logan Christian (231) round out the series’ top five with eight events remaining on the docket.
And in trying to hold onto that lead, Hibbert will have one advantage in his pocket.
He arrives in Traverse City for a press conference and demonstration tonight at Turtle Creek, which gives him first crack at the track as northern Michigan hosts its first national Snocross series event.
“It’s always a little bit of an advantage,” Hibbert said. “But usually the course isn’t completely done and how it will be when we race. So it’s not a huge advantage, but it definitely helps to get out there and test the sleds and get my body warmed up and ready to go.
“I’m just excited to get back on the track after not winning Saturday in Deadwood, I’m pretty motivated to go out and get back on top. Michigan’s got a lot of snow, so we should have a good track.”
Before Tucker Hibbert could beat most professional Snocross racers, he had to top his dad.
UPDATE: Judge's son injured in alcohol-related crash
A local judge's son could face a drunken driving charge after a two-vehicle crash along U.S. 31 that left him in the hospital, hundreds without power and a Kingsley man behind bars.Continued ...
UPDATE: Judge's son injured in U.S. 31 crash
TRAVERSE CITY — A local judge's son is in fair condition at Munson Medical Center after an alcohol-related, two-vehicle crash on U.S. 31. Munson officials confirmed Michael J. Stepka, 24, of Kalamazoo, is in the hospital's care. He's 86th District CoContinued ...
Man hospitalized, U.S. 31 closed after crash
TRAVERSE CITY — Remnants from an apparent drunken driving incident that left one man in jail and another hospitalized caused a traffic snarl along U.S. 31 near Three Mile Road.Continued ...
New challenges await Traverse City Wolves
Things are shaping up for the Traverse City Wolves. The semi-pro football team ended last season 5-5, just missing the playoffs. Then came an off-season of change.Continued ...
Community in Brief: 04/10/2014
Folk singer Miller here; Dunes Review launch; Food conference; TSO@theCommons; Torch area potluckContinued ...
Letters to the Editor: 04/10/2014
Makes problem worse; Let tourists join in; A positive influence.Continued ...
- Thursday, April 3, 2014
UPDATE: Kalkaska crash victims ID'd
Authorities identified two drivers who died in a head-on, two-vehicle crash in Kalkaska County.Continued ...
Deputy's tooth chipped, patrol car soiled
A drunken driving arrest in Garfield Township ended with a urine-soaked patrol car and chipped tooth for a sheriff's deputy.Continued ...
UPDATE: Two dead in Kalkaska County crash
A head-on, two-vehicle crash along an isolated stretch of Kalkaska County road claimed the lives of two drivers.Continued ...
Two dead in Kalkaska crash
Two Kalkaska County residents died after a head-on collision today on Supply Road in Boardman Township.Continued ...
Kale chip off the old block at Evergreen Market
Alex Pineau smiles as he sifts through pictures on his cellphone. He finds the shot, facing his phone out with a “proud Papa” smile.Continued ...
Kratky trial on hold
A private voice instructor’s sex crime trial is on hold until state appellate judges decide whether his charge aligns with a state law that bans educators from having sexual encounters with students.Continued ...
Editorial: Camp won't seek re-election; Mich. losing more clout
The issue: Rep. Dave Camp won’t seek reelection. Our view: Camp won wide respect for his knowledge, demeanor.Continued ...
State funds secured for cleanup
Grand Traverse County will receive $600,000 in state funds for cleanup of cyanide-contaminated groundwater beneath the Warehouse District off Grandview Parkway.Continued ...
Area runners expect celebration for Boston Marathon
It will have taken him a year, but Gary Lake is expecting to finally finish the Boston Marathon this time.Continued ...
Foodie with Family: Mix it up with DIY dressing
My do-it-yourself attitude in the kitchen that started as a way to help stretch money further has progressed over the years to a fiery desire to figure out how things are made and make them just because I can.Continued ...
Letters to the Editor: 04/03/2014
Let freedom ring.Continued ...
Local mental health programs face cuts
Community mental health programs in the Grand Traverse area stand to lose millions of dollars in state funding.Continued ...
Thompson signs with Ottawa
It’s been one whirlwind week for Garrett Thompson. And it could culminate with the Traverse City native making his professional hockey debut Friday.Continued ...
Nancy Krcek Allen: A way to better bitter greens
Nancy Krcek Allen has been a chef-educator for more than 25 years and has taught professional and recreational classes in California, New York City and Michigan.Continued ...
Program could ease sting of cuts
A new federal program eventually could provide some financial relief to community mental health organizations in Michigan in the wake of deep cuts to their state general-purpose funding.Continued ...
Win on walleye circuit 'validates existence' for duo
Scott Rhodes and Jeff Koester are back on top. The duo captured the Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit’s season-opener over the weekend in Spring Valley, Ill.Continued ...
Interlochen Arts Academy student receives top honors
Budding artists crave feedback. They want to know that the work they’re creating is reaching an audience, and they want to know what kind of impression it leaves.Continued ...
Sports in Brief: 04/03/2014
Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews will miss the rest of the regular season with an upper-body injury. (Plus more)Continued ...
Paperworks Studio folds
Paperworks Studios, a greeting card-making program that employed disabled and disadvantaged people, is folding operations after money that was supposed to carry the program through a transition from Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan to Grand Traverse Industries failed to materialize.Continued ...
- UPDATE: Judge's son injured in alcohol-related crash