Perry native continuing career as top stunt rider
Cris Ritchie — Editor
HAZARD — Bill Dixon continues to ride high in the sport of motorcycle stunt riding, last year claiming his fourth straight Xtreme Drift League (XDL) Championship. Now the Perry County native is gearing up for one more run at the title.
Many in Perry County may remember Dixon, a graduate of Hazard High School. He began competing as a stunt rider in the XDL six years ago, and in just his second year earned a second place finish. He has now won the championship the last four.
“More or less, at first I did it because I wanted to be better than everyone else, but now it’s just basically my life,” Dixon said of his career. “It’s all I do.”
Dixon lives for much of the year in Arizona, and in addition to the time he spends competing, he has also performed in various shows all over the country and in several different nations, including Panama, Thailand, and the Bahamas. He will also be competing outside of the United States during next year’s XDL series, which he noted will take competitors to countries like Vietnam and Bulgaria among others.
And this next year of competition will likely be his last, he noted during a recent interview with the Herald, as he expects to focus more on performing for just the fans rather than judges.
“That’s what I’ve been doing for the last two years,” he said. “That’s more fun than competing, there’s less stress, less work involved, and I can focus on other things that make more money and more income.”
Dixon’s career as a stunt rider wasn’t something he had planned to do. He remembers when he first started riding, which he admits was to help attract girls’ attention. But then he started to pay attention to how he was able to handle his bike.
“I didn’t really realize I was getting good,” he said. “I was just having fun.”
But when someone suggested he enter a competition, he took the plunge. He first competed against other riders in 2001. They were good then, but he saw room for improvement in the sport, so he practiced, spending hours every day learning his bike and what he could do with it. He developed new tricks, sometimes by accident, and he credits his control of the bike as being a big reason why he is able to come up with new tricks that have helped propel him to the top of his sport.
“I learned how to control the motorcycle before I tried to learn how to do a bunch of cool tricks,” he said. “When I get into a situation where I’m almost out of control, I can bring it back because I’ve had so much practice time.”
Fast forward just a few years and he continues to keep up the practice, and that time honing his craft has translated into multiple national championships and made Dixon the rider to beat in the XDL.
Dixon’s talent has also transcended his sport. Just last month he was set to travel to New York to film a commercial for the Lee’s jeans company.
No matter where his talent takes him, Dixon always remembers his home in Eastern Kentucky. He was in Hazard just last month where he performed in front of a hometown crowd for the King’s Pharmacy Customer Appreciation Day, something he said is always a treat.
“It’s better here, because I see all these faces I know from growing up,” he said. “It’s almost more rewarding to do something for the people that I know than it is for the people that I don’t know.”
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