Natalie got his first taste of ATV racing action at the tender age of four years when his parents gave him a three-wheeler as a gift. From that point on, Natalie was hooked, and the 29-year-old has been racing competitively for the last 15 years.
“Four wheelers are my life,” Natalie said. “I love to compete, and I love to race. My ultimate goal as a professional rider is to see this sport grow and make a living doing what I love.
“The sport has been self-contained for the last 10 years without much support,” he added, “but we’ve all seen a big change in the last few years.”
ESPN’s Great Outdoor Games VI features two ATV events: Four Wheel Frenzy and Terracross. Natalie will be revving his engine in the Four Wheel Frenzy. The final round of that competition is set for Saturday, July 9 at 8:30 p.m.
“I think people are starting to realize just how exciting the sport is. Most people don’t realize what you can do with a four-wheeler and are amazed to see us take jumps over 80 feet.”
Doubling, tripling and sometimes even quadrupling the weight of its rider, the racing ATV averages 350 pounds, while the utility ATV averages 650 pounds. Battling road obstacles, water hazards and tight turns, riders must maintain control of the vehicle at speeds up to 50 mph.
“ATV’s are very physically demanding and tough to handle for 20 to 23 minutes at a time,” said Natalie. “You’ve got to stay in good condition to maintain control of the vehicle and keep it on the track.”
With three wins under his belt this year alone, Natalie enters the Great Outdoor Games with confidence and excitement.
“I have a good idea of who I’ll be competing against,” said Natalie. “We’re all pretty tight, and it’s going to be close, but I think I have an edge mentally since I’ve been doing well recently.”
Natalie’s favorite part of the race?
“I definitely love jumping 70 to 80 feet and getting as high as 30 to 40 feet in the air. Getting that much air is an adrenaline rush. It’s like being able to fly for a few seconds.”
With the attention generated by the Great Outdoor Games, Natalie hopes to increase exposure of the sport, attracting new fans and sending it into the mainstream of motor sport racing.
“Being a part of the Great Outdoor Games really means a lot to this sport,” said Natalie. “It is one of the fastest growing motor sports right now, and, with the support of ESPN, it’ll help attract sponsors, fans and millions of viewers to really make it explode.
“If anybody misses the show, they’re going to be disappointed because it’s going to be awesome. I want to put on a good show, and I know it’ll be something worth watching!”
Fans can catch the Great Outdoor Games live July 7-10, 2005 at Disney's Wide World of Sports ® Complex. Admission to the 2005 Great Outdoor Games is $5 per person per day, with children 10 and under free. Re-entry is allowed each day. Tickets can be purchased on ticketmaster.com through June 26 and purchased at the door the day of the event.
The Games will be aired on ESPN and ABC Sports July 14-17, 2005. For more information visit www.greatoutdoorgames.com.
The ESPN Great Outdoor Games feature top outdoor athletes from around the world and are the ultimate championship of outdoor sports, featuring one-of-a-kind, head-to-head competition in timber and target events, sporting dogs and ATV skills competitions. While entertaining large crowds on site, the ESPN Great Outdoor Games also draw a worldwide television audience on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC Sports.
Since its inception in 2001, ESPN Outdoors has strived to inform and entertain anglers, hunters, campers and people of all ages who enjoy the outdoors. ESPN Outdoors is committed to increasing awareness of outdoor activities, a direction best exemplified by daily television programming totaling nearly 1,000 hours annually on ESPN and ESPN2.
Each year, ESPN Outdoors stages more than 30 marquee events including the CITGO Bassmaster Classic and the ESPN Great Outdoor Games. ESPN Outdoors comprises BASS, the worldwide authority on bass fishing that sanctions more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation. ESPN Outdoors also features Bassmaster.com, ESPNOutdoors.com, a weekly outdoors show on ESPN Radio as well as a growing array of promotions and activities that deliver a clear message of conservation and ethical sportsmanship.
For more information, contact Kim Jessup, ESPN Communications at (407) 566-2175.