Westmoreland Fairgrounds MX History

We started racing at the fairgrounds in 1991. It all got started as a plan for Bob Thomas Honda to hold a few races at the fairgrounds. I worked for them for many years and had been announcing for Dave & Rita Coombs for just about as long. The fairgrounds had been working on plans to build a new arena that was to be completed by the spring of 1991. They were looking for a way to use the new facility more than one week (fair week) a year. My old boss, Vince Halverson, wanted me to come up with a plan where Kim and I put together a staff to promote a few events for them. It was to be a way to promote their dealership exclusively at the fairgrounds.

We presented our plan to the fairgrounds and they accepted our proposal. This is when things took a peculiar turn. Vince didn’t think they should get involved (it might have been for liability risk reasons, I don’t remember ) with the new racing facility after extensive consideration. At this point, DBL Sports Promotions was born.

Our proposal had been accepted but now we had no financial backing. We attempted to put together sponsor proposals for various area motorcycle dealers, and came across Bill Bentley. Bill offered to sponsor our Supercross events at the fairgrounds as well as our first Jet Ski races held at the Riverfront Aquatorium in Monongahela, PA. (The AMA was quick to tell me NOT to use the word ?Supercross?.) His only stipulation was that he be the exclusive dealer involved. We will be forever thankful for Mr. Bentleys help and faith in our ability to promote his dealerships that first season.

Bentleys also sponsored Mike Jones that year. Mike had finished second in the East Coast 125 Supercross Series in 1989, and was probably the most popular racer in the area at the time. We had known Mike since 1984 when he was a "Team Tamm" 125B rider. Mike, who wasn’t "Mad Mike Jones" yet, worked with us to design our first track in 1991.

Davey Yezek was destined to battle it out with Timmy Ferry for the Schoolboy championship at Loretta Lynns that year. Until we invited him to the track to do a little testing. We had met the Yezek family at an area qualifier at Rocky Ridge in 83 or 84, when Davey was on a 60.

Mike had started to build this huge finish line jump in front of the new grandstands at the fairgrounds. The jump wasn’t really completed yet when Davey arrived with his father. Mike had been clearing the jump, but only for a short period of time before Davey decided to give it a try. Something at the top of the jump kicked Yezeks back wheel way out to the side. He was still completely sideways, panic rev and all, when he hit the ground. He put his arm out instinctively and broke his wrist. We were all in shock. All I could think about was how a wrist injury had ended Rick Johnsons career, and this kids career hadn’t even started yet. Fortunately, the injury did not end his career. It was heartbreaking, I know, for him and his family. Kim and I didn’t know how we could ever make it up to the Yezek family, who had become (by then) great friends.

We have been fortunate, over the years, to have a great group of riders start their racing career at the fairgrounds. Gene Stull started in the early years at the fairgrounds on a clapped out, yellow PW50. He was dangerous! He was also fast from day one, and then went on to Suzuki stardom for a while. Dan Pastor started as an 80 rider. As a 125B rider, he was always doing big heel clickers off the finish line jump. Today he is a world class freestyle rider with his roots still deep in Greensburg. Bill Ursic started at the fairgrounds. Broc Hepler and Brandon Jesseman raced with us on mini-bikes on a regular basis. Getting numerous people started in our sport is what we are most proud of. We also at times employed our injured rider friends to help keep them close to the sport. Davey Yezek, Dan Pastor and Chad Sanner worked as our stager at various times throughout our history at the fairgrounds. All 3 of these guys were recovering from broken backs at their time of employment. My old friend Norm Lamacz (from Bob Thomas Honda / Kawsaki )worked the staging area while recovering from a broken neck! None of those injuries happened at the Fairgrounds, by the way.

The fairground has grown a lot over the years. A few years ago Latrobe Brewery (Rolling Rock Beer) bought the naming rights of the arena with the stipulation that most of the money was to be spent on improvements for the arena. First they added a new lower section onto the bleachers. The next improvement was a new roof, which covered the grandstand area. They finalized their improvements by adding more bleachers on the lower level.

Our schedule of events has grown from 4 races in 1991, to an average of 12 to 14 night races plus we have had 3 or 4 Sunday events at times per season. We moved our District 5 State Championship race to the fairgrounds in 1998. We never had a state race in our early years due to our low rung on the District 5 totem pole. When Dream Mountain closed, we moved up one spot and inherited a round of the state championship series. We held our round of the series at Starvation Point Park in Elizabeth, West Virginia initially. We closed Starvation Point and moved the state race to the fairgrounds after the end of the 1997 season. We have since moved that State Championship event to Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex in Markleysburg.