Some kids from small towns often grow up dreaming of making it in the big city but others such as Ty Erquiaga find success rooted firmly in their hometowns.
Erquiaga is the promoter of Octane Fest, a multi-platform motorsports event now in its third year in Fallon, his hometown.
His family has been in the Fallon area for more than 90 years, a fact Erquiaga doesn't take lightly as he pursues his goals.
"I always make things good," he says. "It may take awhile, but my family is much respected in this community. In my race career, I have to do the right thing by them, too."
Erquiaga's love for motor sports and racing led him back to Fallon after 12 years in Southern California where he worked as a heavy equipment operator. During his sojourn in Southern California, he also owned a clothing line with a buddy, which was successful despite the fact "we didn't know anything about anything," Erquiaga recalls.
He moved back to Nevada in 1996 because he saw an opportunity in all the old motocross tracks in northern Nevada. He wanted to open them back up, and that's pretty much what he did. From 1997 to 2006 he promoted about 180 motocross events.
Erquiaga began his athletic career in rodeos, competing at local events from the time he was about 9 years old. But he says his dad had really bad luck buying him horses, because he kept getting bucked off. One day, after a fall, Erquiaga saw another kid ride by on a dirt bike. The light bulb went on: These things weren't going to buck you off. So he traded horses for bikes, began riding, then quickly turned to racing.
"Riding is fun, but racing is just something that, once you experience it, it's part of your DNA," he says.
Erquiaga's enthusiasm about the sport continues to grow, but it took a few months before he committed to helming Octane Fest. While he's quick to point out his gratitude for the opportunities that have come with the venture, it hasn't been without its thorns.
"I knew it was going to be a brutal journey," he says. "And it has been. You have to stay open minded, though, and take the criticism and advice. This is not an ego mission; it's about growing the sport of motocross."
Growing the sport is a full-time job these days, and Erquiaga has plenty of praise for the support he gets from his wife, Robyn, and their three kids. Stepson Miles is just 4, but he started racing last year, and Erquiaga notes with a smile that "he's not very fast, but he thinks he is." Daughters Hanna, 10, and Sydney, 11, haven't gotten into racing so far, but if they wanted to, Erquiaga would understand. While he's busy promoting, he's still got his eye on racing.
"I'm a racer. Some of my best friends are still racing. It's what I love," he says.
That love of the sport keeps him focused on creating a bigger and better festival each year. Last year's event was plagued by rain, which Erquiaga believes kept the show from seeing a profit. He is confident this year Octane Fest will get its due. New sponsors, new events and the right staff in place are just some of the reasons he sees no limit to where the festival can go.
He believes smaller cities, like Fallon or a little larger, are the perfect venue for Octane Fest and his vision.
"(Octane Fest) is rooted in the participant and the happy spectator. If they are happy, then the show was good. When people leave your event happy, it's very rewarding," he says.
"I love Nevada, and I'm really passionate about it starting here in Fallon. This is the launch point and it always will be. But my mom taught me to think big, to have a big, strong vision," he says. "I have to build this into a big-ass event that can take it to additional cities. It's more than a passion; it's a mission."
And that mission to promote his hometown and his favorite sport keeps this small-town boy from Fallon racing toward the finish line.
Who: Ty Erquiaga, Event Series Promoter, Octane Fest
Family: Wife, Robyn. Daughters, Hanna, 10, and Sydney, 11. Son Miles, 4.
He says: "It's all about staying true to the motor sport."