- Associated Press - Sunday, August 16, 2015

RUTHVILLE, N.D. (AP) - Trailers were parked side by side as far as the eye could see.

Competitors raced for eight hours on a hot sunny Saturday afternoon at the Magic City Motocross Park in Ruthville.

And simply put, the first annual Kris Barnes Memorial motocross race day was a success, the Minot Daily News (https://bit.ly/1MmB3sJ ) reported.

“I think it’s wonderful that so many people are here today,” said Karen Barnes, Kris’ mother. “Having the memorial for Kristopher is great. He’d been riding ever since he was 7, and not seeing him here breaks my heart, but it makes me really feel good that so many people support him.”

Motocross was Kris Barnes’ passion, but about a year and half ago, an oil-drilling rig accident took his life at just 32 years old, leaving behind a wife, three kids, two parents and several heartbroken fans.

The benefit was welcomed with gratitude by the Barnes family, but words were hard to come by.

“It’s hard to pick out any words that are in the dictionary,” said Monte Barnes, fighting back tears. “It’s happy and it’s sad.”

As Monte watched racers traverse a track of jumps and sharp turns from the bleachers, he couldn’t help but picture his son doing the same thing.

“I look out on the track and I know what he would be doing and who he would be picking off,” Monte Barnes said. “Motocross has been in the family and has for a long, long time.

“It’s his identity, and he’s here now with us and he always will be. I can’t put it into words. We hurt so much and we miss him so much. We knew how much he was a part of us, but now that he’s gone we find out how much bigger of a part he was. He was the hub, and we are the spokes that would go out.”

Kris and his brother, Michael, started riding when they were young kids. However, they weren’t pressured by their old man, who did and still does ride.

“It was their enthusiasm. I never had a plan for them to start riding at a certain age,” Monte Barnes said. “They came to me and asked and I said, ‘Try it out.’ Their talent comes from within them. They see things differently.”

In addition to the races, the benefit offered a 50-50 raffle and a silent auction, and 100 percent of the proceeds were donated to the Barnes family.

“Kris Barnes was a long-time rider in this area for many years, and this memorial race was a way for his racing family to give back to his family,” said Jess Francis, secretary for Magic City Motocross Club.

On the surface, motocross may simply appear simply appear to be a barrage of noisy bikes traversing over a winding dirt track, but to the Barnes family, it means so much more.

“I absolutely love it,” said Terry Barnes, Kris’ wife. “I love the sounds and the smells. This is something Kris and I enjoyed together. It was good family thing for us to do.”

And the family event doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon, as Terry’s two youngest children seem to already have developed a passion for the sport.

“My 4-year-old loves this,” Terry said. “He said to me today, ‘Mom, I like the orange guy with the Mohawk.’ I can definitely see him doing this, and my daughter loves it too.”

Kris was a well-respected rider, but when the dust settled and the bikes were packed away, that’s when Kris truly shined.

“He had a happy-go-lucky attitude,” Monte Barnes said. “Everybody who came in contact with him would be friends with him in five minutes.”

So even though Kris is gone, his brother Michael and his entire family will continue to participate in the sport they love.

“The most important thing in his life behind his family was dirt-bike motocross,” he said. “The sign on the trailer says it all: Team Barnes Motocross. The whole family made that team. It’s going to still be team Barnes motocross forever.”


Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com

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