The Winter X- and Summer X-Games have been a huge success for ESPN television.
For the ISOC snowmobile series, the success of the Winter-X Games has helped to revitalize the sport.
Levi LaVallee, who finished just out of the elimination round with a fifth-place finish in the Freestyle event at the X-Games in Aspen, Colo., two weeks ago, points out that areas of the country that knew little about snowmobiling are developing an interest in it.
"The X-Games have been huge for the sport of snowmobile racing in general," LaVallee said. "It has taken a sport that was just a northern sport and put it on a huge stage so that everyone can see it. There is no snowmobiling in Texas but the funniest thing is that I'm doing interviews from guys in Texas so it's creating a little stir and making people aware of what we are doing."
Levi LaVallee was airborne over the crowd as he raced to third place in the Pro Open on Sunday at BIR. Brainerd Dispatch/ Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
LaVallee, from Longville, raced in what he believes is his home event in the snocross at Brainerd International Raceway. The hometown fans were a large part of LaVallee having a successful weekend, with a third-place podium finish in the Pro Open on Sunday.
"It was awesome and having the fans in the grandstand was really great," he said. "The track was fun with a really crazy rhythm section and an elevated corner was really good. For me, and this kind of being my hometown race, I am super excited to be here and fortunate enough to be up on the podium."
LaVallee has a personality and passion for the sport that is authentic and contagious. He believes that in an economy that is hurting, ISOC racing and snowmobile manufacturers have made strides to make the sport popular and affordable.
"One of the things that the manufacturers are trying to do is make the machines and the sport a little less expensive for the up-and-coming guy to get into it," he said. "For a while there it was getting out of hand where guys had to have two sleds with a mock sled and a stock sled and all kinds of crazy expenses.
"They are trying to make it more affordable for an everyday driver, like in motocross racing where guys show up with the bike in the back of their pickup. With the exposure we are getting at the X-Games I hope that word gets out and that kids don't feel scared to go and try it. There are regional series where they don't have to have a new sled to be competitive. Just go out and have fun and if it goes from there so be it."
LaVallee is looking forward to the last four races of the season. He is nursing injuries that he has gained throughout the season in a sport that is hard on one's body.
"I'm definitely looking forward to it," he said. "I'm a little banged up right now but I was happy to be out there ripping around. I'm looking forward to pumping away at these next few races and we can take that title."
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.