Tea 8-year-old Sammy Toupal’s dedication to motocross paid off in April when he finished third at the KTM 5X Challenge in Minneapolis.
Sammy’s dad, Cody, said he was invited to compete with 14 other 7 and 8-year-olds during the pro motocross tour stop in Minneapolis. The tour stops at large stadiums around the country and brings in more than 40,000 fans.
While Sammy races all over the five-state area, riding at US Bank Stadium is the largest venue he has raced in.
“It was by invite only so there was probably 800-1,000 kids that applied for it. Out of 800 that apply they only take 15. They try to take the best riders in the country and they bring them there and put them in front of 45,000 people on live TV,” Cody said. “It was a pretty big deal.”
Cody said Sammy did not realize how big it was until they got home and he watched himself on Fox Sports 1. Sammy raced against kids from Arizona, Texas, Ohio and North Carolina. With competition from all over the country, Cody did not know how Sammy would do.
“We didn’t expect much, especially against kids who didn’t have snow all winter. He went there and ended up getting third place and he was on national TV,” Cody said. “It’s the first time a South Dakota kid ever placed at the KTM Junior Challenge race.”
Sammy started racing at 4-years-old and practices at the Sioux Valley Cycle Club in Renner. Motocross racing is a family affair for the Toupals.
Cody grew up in Chamberlain and grew up racing before graduating from Northern State University. After college he traveled with the world’s best riders and worked as a motocross mechanic.
Besides Sammy, his younger brother started racing this year. His mom helps to sign up for races and keeping equipment clean, while Cody keeps the bikes ready to go.
“It’s a racing family affair. We race every weekend as a family,” Cody said. “We spend every weekend together. We love it.