BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. - For the first time in 15 years, the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Series made a stop in our region for the inaugural running of the Tennessee National.
The race has drawn a lot of excitement for several weeks, and the heat didn't keep the crowd away Saturday.
Michael Humpreys has been working for hours in the heat at Muddy Creek Raceway. "It's awful hot," he told us.
And he's not the only one beating the heat. Jen Kenyon, Media Manager with the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series, says a huge crowd showed up to see the two-wheeled action. "I don't have exact numbers as of right now, but we're well over 20,000 people here at this facility. I want to say that is probably the most they've had here at one time. So it's pretty exciting," Jen says.
With a crowd that large and temperatures well into the 80s, being outside a long time can get dangerous. "I knew somebody had a heat stroke a couple of hours ago," Humpreys said.
Deputy Chief Haynes Miller with Sullivan County emergency services says, "anytime you reach up in the 90s, start being concerned about your heat index. This breeze helps out a lot."
For the riders, who wear full suits, helmets, and body armor, it can get really hot for them as well. "These athletes are some of the most highly-trained professionals that they have out there," Jen continues. "These guys train for this kind of weather. When they come off the track we have a cool-down station that we bring to them right away. We give them water, we dump water all over them."
Emergency crews say they have several crews standing by just in case there's an emergency. "We do have Wings [Air Rescue], fire rescue standing by if we have anything critical. We can transport out. We also have four ambulances here standing by," Miller says.
But his best advice in this kind of weather is to stay hydrated. "Drink plenty of water, keep hydrated. Even if you're not thirsty, go ahead and drink you a bottle of water," he said.