Local motocross event celebrates 20 years of giving back to Ansonia Local Schools


By Drew Terhall


ANSONIA — What started as a small gathering of friends has turned into a weekend full of dirt bike riding and competitions. Chris Cox and his brother, Jeff, started the FMC Memorial Day Weekend Event after their father, Francis Marion Cox, passed away. This year they are celebrating their 20th anniversary.

Francis was an active motorcyclist and a big proponent of the Ansonia Alumni Association. Cox said his father, him and his children are all Ansonia graduates. He also said his mother was a principal at Ansonia for about 20 years.

With the whole family being riders, Cox and a group of six to eight more people got together and rode in Francis’ honor. They went a step further and pooled money together to donate towards a scholarship for an Ansonia student.

“After he passed away, a group of us, my friends and people I work with, decided to have a little event and we were going to donate some money. We were going to put a scholarship together in his name,” Cox said.

For the past 20 years, the event has raised nearly $20,000 with all the money going towards graduating Ansonia students. Cox said this year, they plan to award two scholarships and have done that a few times in the past.

Like any other scholarship, students can apply for it. The scholarship isn’t based solely on a student’s GPA. They want to help kids that were just like Francis.

“Put it together to focus on kids that were kind of like him. Weren’t the valedictorian, were interested in AG and more into technical things more so than just pure studies,” Cox said.

Cox said the event has grown from around eight hardcore riders to about 40 people with 75-100 more in family and friends spectating the event.

The event is held in Woodington on Cox’s farm. Cox said his father bought the land back in the 60s and Cox built a house on the property.

Cox said they held the one-day event on New Year’s Day for the first year or two, but the event outgrew his garage and they didn’t want to deal with the winter weather.

Now held over Memorial Day weekend, Cox’s friends and family along with some riders from around the country head out to the 45 acres of land and enjoy a weekend of riding.

Cox said they will have about 10-15 campers come out on Friday and stay through the weekend.

As more people show up for the event, the more money Cox raises for the scholarship. Any money Cox makes over the weekend goes directly towards the scholarship.

“Everybody donates money in a big bucket. My wife prints and makes t-shirts and sweatshirts that she sells for the event. Everybody likes them so all the money we make goes into a big bucket believe it or not,” Cox said. “We put it in the bank. We’ve had an account for 20 years. We keep putting the money in there and give it away as we have it.”

Throughout the event, riders will compete in an endurocross style of dirt bike riding and look to win a rotating trophy. Riders will race for about an hour and a half. Cox said winners usually add something to the trophy when they win it and it is a big deal to win it in his group.

With more people joining in on the fun, Cox has expanded and added in more events. He said they have open riding now and have time dedicated for the kids to join the ride. It’s a great time for riders to teach their kids or grand kids how to ride.

This year, they will introduce a women division as they have seen more female riders attend the event.

There has been some pros who have competed in the event. Cox said he brought in a seven time national off-road champion, Scott Summers, in as a ringer one time. He also said about five years ago, a rider who he worked with and was just starting his racing career competed in the event. Cox said that racer just recently won a national championship out in California.

Over the years, Cox has seen some great riders attend their event. Some come from around the country and some are from around the county.

“I’m 62. Some of the group are older. We’re happy now we’re getting second and third generations riders. Some of these people I’ve been riding with since high school. We still ride pretty hardcore,” Cox said. “People would be surprised if they knew in Darke County, in the surrounding areas, how many hardcore off-road motorcycle riders there are. And how many have had some really good success all over the country.”

More activities has been added to the weekend event as more people join. Cox said everyone gets together to share a meal after the main ride. They also have an unofficial trap shot and a pizza cook off on Sunday night.

The events has still gone on even when Cox has moved out of the state. He said his job has moved him out to California two times and moved him to South Carolina two times. He still made sure to return to Ohio in time for the yearly event.

A lot has changed since that first event on New Year’s Day. Cox said there has been many great moments and memories over the course of the FMC Memorial Day Weekend Event’s history.

One year, one of the the scholarship winners attended the event and rode with them. Another year, Cox said his son almost won the trophy and that was a big deal for him.

One of the original participants, Bill Harter, got to share the trail with his son and his grandson. Harter’s father also participated in the event before he passed away. Four generations has rode in the event and three of them got to do it together.

Cox said him and his brother as still avid riders and travel to different races from time to time. He never gets tired of seeing someone sport one of their t-shirts at one of the races.

“The real highlight is I’m at a race in who knows, Illinois or Tennessee. Somebody walks up wearing a FMC Memorial t-shirt. Sometimes I know when they got it and sometimes I don’t know. It’s like, ‘Oh yeah, five years ago that guy showed up.’ There’s people from Oklahoma here, people from California. There’s been people from all over here for the event,” Cox said.

Cox said he couldn’t have keep this thing going without his hard working wife and his entire family. He would also like to thank Darren and Cindy Shook, Greg and Barb Kimmel, Jeremy and Amy Pelaston, Tim and Polly Grow and Rehmert Cycle. Owner Howard Rehmert and Francis were good friends and rode together in the 50s and 60s and have support the event for the last 20 years.

Contact Daily Advocate sports editor Drew Terhall at [email protected].

No posts to display