Young Widowmaker riders learn safety

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MORGAN COUNTY -- Danger is a big part of the thrill, but so is safety, at the Utah Widowmaker motorcycle hill-climbing event. Riders as young as 3 years old participate and learn about safety early on.

Widowmaker is held every summer in Croydon, in Morgan County. Event volunteer Mike Favatella said, "If you're into hill climbing and bikes, this is the place to be."

Moe Lund is an organizer for the event. He said, "There's no hill like this in the world."

The basics are simple: Ride as far up as you can, as fast as you can.


There are different divisions to the competition, including a smaller hill for younger riders. One of the best is 6-year-old Axel Compton of Farmington. His mother, Carly Compton, said, "He started riding Widowmaker when he was 3."

But before his parents would let him ride, he had to learn about safety. He's not allowed on his bike without his safety gear.

His father, DJ Compton, said, "Everything from head to toe, always. Boots, kneepads, pants, hip pads, chest protector, and always a helmet."

On the hill, volunteers catch riders if they start falling. Even at the Widowmaker, they want to be the "safetymaker."

Lund said, "That's one of the reasons we do this here. The parents can allow their child to do something that otherwise would be too extreme."

In fact, some of the professional riders say part of their responsibility is to teach younger riders to be smart and safe.

Pete Krunich is a pro. "Safety is a big factor to keep the sport alive," he said.

He and his son, Pete Jr., are two of the most popular riders on the hill-climbing circuit. They know younger riders watch and copy them.

Pete Krunich Jr. said, "You've got to wear all your gear, for sure."

There are also several medics at the event who are ready in case someone gets seriously injured.


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