TEUTOPOLIS -- It all started with a little Honda Z50 and a large imagination.
Katie Mette, then a wide-eyed three-year-old, wanted to do everything like her older brother Sam. So when she watched her older sibling design a makeshift course in the backyard to ride his new ATV, she only figured it was natural for her to tag along.
The two spent months designing and perfecting their course, then spent years racing around the area, never growing tired of the exhilarating sport.
“We used to ride around our house when we were little,” said Mette, now a 19-year-old student at Lake Land College. “I always followed him around. We grew up riding the trails, that’s all we would do, just ride all day long.”
At first it was done in fun, as Mette enjoyed the time spent with Sam and the thrill of the machine rushing her over hills and carving around tight corners. She also reveled in the chance to spend time with her father in the garage, tuning up bikes and learning about the mechanics.
Then Sam wanted to push the envelope as the years progressed, and he started entering local ATV motocross races and competitions around the area. To no surprise, Mette was close behind.
“When we went to the track, I would always get told that I was really fast for a girl,” she said.
With a brush of confidence, Mette tried her hand at a national race at age 16, competing in her first ATV MX National Motocross event. The series, which was formed in 1985, features the best riders around the United States, and frequently attracts riders from Canada and other countries.
But Mette had gone up against tough competition right in her own backyard for years, and pushed all nerves aside for a shocking showing in her first race on a much bigger stage.