TEDDER FAMILY FUN
Before “Team Tedder” was a thing, family patriarch Matt Tedder simply wanted something fun to do with his five sons. The boys, from the oldest to the youngest, are Matthew Jr., Chasen, Myles, Dakota, and then a six-year gap to Maxwell. Maxwell represented the last-ditch effort for Matt and his wife Christine to have a daughter.
Matt himself was a local pro in the ’80s, but he couldn’t chase that dream for too long. His father was a business owner, and Matt was going to have to take that business over at some point, so he eventually had to push the racing bug aside and went to school, got married, and started a family of his own. And the one thing he still knew and loved was the sport of motocross. His boys weren’t hard to convince, either.
“On the weekends, for recreation, we would race motocross,” Matt Tedder said. “We wouldn’t go out and ride desert – we would actually motocross race. As a family, we had this beat-up, old Winnebago and a crappy, old, enclosed trailer and every kind of bike you could think of with me and my five sons racing. Every color bike you could think of. I’m maintaining all the bikes; bald tires, burned-out clutches...”
For Matt, it was just a good time to spend with his family, but the boys eventually started becoming aware of some other racers who were quite a bit more serious about it. Dakota had befriended a young amateur standout named Blake Baggett, so he was inspired to do like Baggett was doing.
“I was probably 13 years old, or 14 and still just riding for fun,” Dakota said. “I was friends with Blake Baggett and his whole goal was to become a champion. For me, it was just to have fun riding. I just wanted to beat my brothers and have a good time at it on the weekend.”
“So they said, ‘Hey, dad, let’s give the nationals a try," Matt said. “Well, the only places we went to were Las Vegas and Mammoth. They were all young. Probably the youngest [Maxwell] was – I think we actually kind of fibbed a little bit on his age. You have to be maybe five years old to race and he was probably three or four, but he was a big kid. So, we got and we went to World Mini in Vegas and thoroughly got our butts kicked. So, the kids said they wanted to do better, so we trained for a whole year and did the World Mini again and really, really enjoyed it. But we would do World Mini and Mammoth, and that was pretty much it. Not driving across the country at all.”
And it was at Mammoth that things started to change for Team Tedder.
“Then I’m at Mammoth racing probably three or four classes, five sons, all racing three or four classes,” Matt said. “I have this handful of entry fees and the lines standing there to enter are big and long, so you’re talking to the guy next to you. This big guy I’m talking with, he says, ‘What team are you with? That’s a lot of entries!’ I started laughing. Turned out that was Craig Martin from Kawasaki. One thing led to another and a little while later, he asks, ‘How’d you like to ride Kawasakis?’ I said, ‘Oh, that’d be great!’ I thought he was joking. I said, ‘How much?’ Eventually, a big truck shows up and a bunch of Kawasakis come out. It’s like, wow, this is fantastic. So, with that kind of support, we decided to start hitting the national circuit. Then one thing led to another...”
Matt was still racing in the +50 Master class, and he ended up winning a few national championships at Loretta Lynn’s racing in that age group. And then word came in that Monster Energy was looking for some more wholesome brand representation.
“You know, you travel across the country, and in the Midwest, you’d see Monster Energy advertised with girls in bikinis, and I guess it just wasn’t hitting,” Matt said. “So, Monster was looking for a ‘family with extreme values.’ Basically, a family who participates in extreme activities. Motocross is pretty extreme. That was us. We fit right in. As a family growing up, that’s just what we did on weekends, and then eventually we would take off six weeks a year take a family vacation and go dirt bike racing. We did that for the longest time.”
“We just kind of took it step by step and it was like we went from 65s in an age group and then we got to 85s, then it goes to like a B class or whatever...” Dakota said. “I just kept moving up from that to 250s and then eventually it was like, what’s the next step? And we turned pro...”