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Ryan Villopoto & Co take the reins at Straddleline

The next set of upgrades are on the way

Rewind to 2010 when Thurston County ORV Park was on the ropes. Basically done. The park was in disrepair, in the red, and Thurston County, the owner, and its residents wanted nothing more to do with it.

Enter Grays Harbor County. That entity was willing to take it over, but to do so meant changing the county lines. And so it happened. The ORV park was so close to its opposing county, swapping out the county lines worked to satisfy the goals of the park and deaden the opposition to the park by Thurston County residents. Done deal. Funny that even today, many online maps still show Thurston County in possession of the park, which it is not.

Fast Forward to 2016 - or is it 2017??? Well… it will be.

By September 29, 2016, the operators of Straddleine ORV Park, Promoto, let it be known through a Facebook post that they would no longer operate the park. After 6 years of upgrades and making it a livable place once again, their time had ended for reasons unknown. But they’d made a good go at it, promoting the park right through the 2016 season.

Or had they? With only a Facebook page and no website, they were only reaching a small population of riders who might otherwise utilize the park. Smart operators know you need to have a multiple placement online to let interested users know all that is available. And that includes a www domain (it’s been that way for at least a decade –right… banjo begins to play).

Bids were placed by other entities. One such entity, almost unthought of, was Ryan Villopoto and his business team who presented a more convincing proposal than a member of the former operators. Villopoto’s business plan, as reported by thevitte online news, included improvements to the tracks (there are three) to improve their safety, moving of the kids track to a safer area away from the other two tracks and the addition of single track ATV and BMX trails.

Ted Duvall, a long-standing supporter of not only off-road racing, but the gear behind it, said it would be akin to “Russell Wilson retiring and coming down here to start up a football camp.” One can only know if that is truth after a look at the future – and we’ll cross our fingers. But it’s a good point…

Here’s why.

Villopoto lives just up the road in Poulsbo, or so you might think… It’s a long drive between the two locales (remember this is further away than everyone’s’ favorite stop in between, Tahuya) about two hours – wow. Maybe he should move closer, or buy a tent. But at least he’s in Washington and not New York or somewhere far away.

Villopoto made a lot of money in his years of MX and SX. In fact, per Bing, his net worth is $5M. Did you need us to spell out the million part…? He has some money to move the facility forward.

Villopoto has a few friends. He’s already confident he can bring Monster and Kawasaki to the party as park sponsors and that could go a long way where no one else has ever been able to bring in that kind of support.

Villopoto owns a few bikes. If he needs more, he can get them. There may be several days a week he would teach some level of off-pavement riding. MX, SX or otherwise. You don’t own that bike? Maybe not a problem, you could rent/use on of theirs.

Villopoto, like so many motocross riders, understands the importance of mountain bike riding and wants to introduce some BMX areas to the property, something that would be much appreciated by year-around motorcycle riders.

Brent Davis is the one to watch here, as he’s basically the representative (is this the guy with the tent living at Straddleline?), so if you want to follow a name, follow this one.

Hey, here’s to Ryan, taking over a Pacific Northwest riding space and hopefully making it a better place – we salute you. Let us know when we can sign up for the very first NW Moto MX track day and we will be there – with you as our teach in command.

Gary Meeker/December 16


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