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MULTIMEDIA: On the right track

January 24, 2014

Josh Branch

 

Dirt Slingers provides an  outlet for riders in Ruston

Will Trahan
Staff Reporter

 

Josh Branch said the life of a motocross racer requires having passion to stick with the sport.

 

As a testament to that passion, Branch, a 32-year-old former motocross racer, opened his own track called Dirt Slingers to stay involved in the sport even after his retirement.

 

“It is an awesome way for me to stay in the racing scene without having to compete,” Branch said.

 

Branch said the track started small and expanded into what it is today.

 

BRANCH

BRANCH

“It started as my practice facility and I opened it up to the public,” Branch said. “I have had over a thousand riders come through from five states.”

 

Riders come from Louisiana, East Texas, Southern Arkansas, Western Mississippi and Missouri to events at the track.

 

Gary Albritton, a regular at Dirt Slingers, races competitively throughout the state but chooses Branch’s track to train on because of the quality of the course.

 

“I love this track and this sport, and Josh is a great guy,” Albritton said.

 

Branch has no problem remembering the people who come through the track.

 

“The motocross community is like a family,” Branch said.

 

“Everyone knows each other and when things happen with riders, people pull together and help each other out.”

 

Branch held a charity fundraiser at his track to help one of the riders for his race team.

 

The rider’s father died of a heart attack, and the event raised $7,000 for the family of the rider.

Gary Albritton

ALBRITTON

 

The track is not just a facility for racing, as Branch also offers lessons for beginners at his track with qualified teachers.

 

“We get to work with a lot of kids with our race team, which I really enjoy,” Branch said.

 

Branch said people who are passionate and involved in motocross are in for life.

 

“Once people get into this life, it is hard to just quit,” Branch said. “It is the ultimate adrenaline rush and it can not be replicated.”

 

Students at Tech who are not from around here are encouraged by Branch to come out and experience his track.

 

“I have had students before who rode for me that lived close by who came and trained here all the time, “ Branch said.

Michael Baca

BACA

 

Branch said a problem for students who live in Tech’s dorms is the lack of a place to store their bikes.

 

“I have let students who didn’t have anywhere to put their bikes leave them here to give them the opportunity to ride when they want to,” Branch said.

 

Michael Baca, a Shreveport high school student, is thinking about coming to Louisiana Tech but is worried about keeping up with his hobby.

 

“If I come to Tech and cannot store my bike, I think Josh will let me store it and I will get to train all the time,” Baca said.

 

Branch said that he has plans to make the track’s amenities bigger and better.

 

“Something that I have been thinking about doing is building a storage facility for riders to store their bikes if they have nowhere else,” Branch said.

 

Branch said the track is the culmination of his love for his sport, and anyone who wants to should come be part of the motocross family.

 

Email comments to bwt008@latech.edu.

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