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BATON ROUGE BLAST: Racing, BBQ, fireworks top weekend event

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By Bryan Marshall

When Kaleb Wells learned how to ride a bicycle when he was 2, that was just the beginning for the Dry Ridge Elementary second grader.

Forget about losing the training wheels, Wells now straps on a helmet to compete in motocross racing at the ripe age of 7.

“It’s exciting how fast I can go,” he said. “I go 35 or 40 miles per hour. It’s fun to jump the jumps and race the straight stretch.”

Wells, who has more trophies than most have in a lifetime, has competed in more than 40 races, 21 of which he placed first.

Racing in the 4 to 8-year-old group, he will attempt to keep his lead in the Kentuckiana MX Championship Series as part of the second annual Baton Rouge Blast this weekend at the Northern Kentucky Fairgrounds in Williamstown.

“I was in the basement doing some work and Kaleb came downstairs and said, ‘Daddy, will you come outside and watch me and see what I made,’” said Jim Wells, Kaleb’s dad and second vice president of the Grant County Fair Board.

“I went in the backyard and he had got a bunch of scrap 2 by 4s and made a ramp. He had the biggest kick just jumping that little ramp. So, I knew I was in trouble at that point” Wells said.

Wells said he is expecting 250 and 300 competitors in the July 3 races, which will be broken down in classes by age and size of bike.

The weekend festivities, however, will begin with a day filled with events culminating in fireworks July 2 at the fairgrounds.

Baton Rouge Blast will kick off with a motorcross practice from noon to 6 p.m. and the annual BBQ cookoff tasting at 5 p.m.

Participating teams will be offering samples and portions for purchase and vendors from the area will be onsite selling concessions all day.

First, second and third place winners will be announced in chicken, ribs, pork and brisket individual categories, along with overall winners at the start of the 9 p.m. concert by Dewayne Spaw.

“Last year, we did the Battle of the Bands,” said Tena Webster, fair board president. “This year, we hired entertainer Dewayne Spaw. He’s pretty cool. He does country music and he’s going to work some patriotic stuff into the fireworks show.”

Kids games, including relay races, pedal tractor pull, tug of war, hula hoop contest, inflatables and more will be available starting at 5 p.m.

This year, a freestyle motocross show also has been added at 8 p.m. featuring riders doing jumps and mid-air stunts using ramps.

Saturday’s 10 p.m. finale will light up the sky with a 20-minute fireworks display presented by Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks.

The motorcross race will take place Sunday morning following a 10 a.m. practice for riders.

“We thought last year’s event was very successful,” said Webster. “We estimated that there were about 3,000 people here by the time the fireworks started. So, we thought we’d try it again. It should be a good time.”

For more information about the Baton Rouge Blast, go to www.grantcofair.com.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
Saturday, July 2
Gate Fee $5 All Day
12-6 p.m.- Open Motocross Track Practice ($10/rider)
5 p.m.- BBQ Taste Testing and Food Vendors Open
6 p.m.- Kids Games
8 p.m.- Free-Style Motocross Show
9 p.m.- Dewayne Spaw Concert at Amphitheater
10 p.m.- Rozzi’s Fireworks Show

Sunday July 3      
Gate Fee $10 All Day
8 a.m.- Gates Open and Open Registration for MX Race
9 a.m.- FCA Church Service
10 a.m.- MX Practice Starts
After Practice- Kentuckiana Championship Series Racing Begins