At age 2, Talan Zollers learned how to ride how to ride a bicycle – without the aid of training wheels.
Now the 7-year-old is winning awards as a motocross rider. He was one of only 15 kids chosen from across the county to compete in March in the KTM Junior Supercross Challenge at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.
"I like going fast," said the Louise White Elementary School first-grade student.
The fact that he was competing in front of 67,000 people didn't unnerve him. Talan finished in eighth place in the competition.
"At first I was nervous, but once I got on the track, I wasn't," Talan said.
Talan, who first started racing when he was 4 years old, already has a dozen first place awards under his belt, including taking first place in last year's Winnebago County Fair Race in his age division. His dad, J.R. Zollers, introduced Talan to the sport of motocross racing.
"I started doing it when I was 8 years old," he said. "Somebody had taken me to a race and I fell in love with it."
Zollers owns Zollers Landscape Creations in Batavia.
To perfect his riding skills, Talan works with a trainer.
"The main thing is seat time," Zollers said. "The more you ride, the better you get."
Since motocross racing can be a dangerous sport, Talan always wears protective clothing like chest protectors, knee pads, goggles and gloves when he rides. And he doesn't let the occasional tumble slow him down.
"He had crashed after going down a downhill straightaway with a bunch of bumps," Zollers said. "But he got right back on."
Following in Talan's footsteps is his younger brother, Preston, 6.
"His technique follows Talan's," Zollers said.
Talan hopes to ride professionally someday and follow the lead of his hero, motocross rider James "Bubba" Stewart Jr., who was named 2002 rookie of the year in his debut pro season.
"He's my favorite rider," Talan said.