SHOOTING MY FIRST PRO NATIONAL
Everyone remembers their firsts in this sport: first time riding a dirt bike, first time racing, first time attending a pro-national. As you walk into the venue, the sound of bikes echoes through the trees. Thousands of fans pour through the gates and the smell of race gas lingers in the air. I’ve been to my fair share of nationals, but this time was different. This time, I had a press credential around my neck, and a camera in my hand. July 25th, 2021, I shot my first pro national at Washougal Motocross Park and it was rad.
It all started early this spring when I decided to set a goal for my summer; shoot a pro-national with a media credential. How? That I’d figure out as I went. Through the whole process, I told myself one thing – I’d not give up until the season was over. No matter what, I’d continue to pursue opportunities and reach out to publications asking for a chance. Spoiler alert, it worked out.
I reached out to all the major publications; Racer X, Motocross Action Magazine and the list goes on. When nothing came of that, I got in contact with every major motocross manufacturer, still to no avail. It was nearing the time I had to give up and accept shooting behind the fences at the fast approaching Washougal National when I remembered someone who may have some insider advice.
Wes Williams is someone I got in touch with earlier in the year, asking for advice and input on my recently released film RELENTLESS. I had been in back and forth DM conversations with him every few months and figured why not ask him if he’s got any leads on snagging the sought-after, pro-national press credential. The conversation went something like this…
Ryder – “Hey Wes! I’ve been loving the vurb content lately, you guys kill it. Do you have any knowledge of how to go about acquiring a media credential for a pro national race? I’d appreciate any advice or direction on getting one, cheers man!”
Wes – “What race do you wanna do? If you wanted to do some Vurb content I could make it happen”
Ryder – Jaw Drops* (Mind Blown)
The feeling was truly incredible and if you had overheard my phone call telling my dad what had happened, you may assume I was a middle school girl meeting Justin Beiber.
Now back to walking into Washougal, seven in the morning, race gas in the air, and a grin ear to ear. As I walked through the gate, my heart rate rose. I immediately spotted countless filmers, riders, mechanics and had to hold myself back from fangirling. People that I’ve followed and admired for their incredible talents such as Team Fried’s Tom Journet, and Jordan Hoover from Fox. All just there to do a job, but me, well, I was a kid in a candy store (Literally and metaphorically considering the absurdly large snack and drink table in the media tent).
The whole day was a bit of a blur and I really only came back to the media tent for fruit snacks and Red Bull, other than that I was on my feet hiking horsepower hill and getting WWE slammed by Coty Schock. I tried my best to not get too nervous and just take the day in as it came. I knew I could get quality footage if I just did my thing and had fun. Although I was happy with the footage I shot and the videos I put together, some of my favorite moments didn’t even involve a camera. Moments like when I was standing between Mike Emery and Tom Journet, and Justin Barcia overheard it was my first national and came over to congratulate me. Or running over to find my dad and uncle between motos to show them my favorite shots. While I look through the footage of that day, I’m reminded of how blessed I am to do what I love and remember all those fond memories. I’d like to once again thank Wes Williams for giving some kid with a camera a shot at producing content for one of the most prestigious and well-known motocross publications, and all those who helped me get to this point in my filmmaking career. Oh, and my Dad and Uncle for getting up and driving to the race before the sun was up so I could make it to the safety briefing. I have my blue media vest and credential framed up on my wall and sure hope it’s not the last one I get to put on.