The Vanderploeg family has racing in their blood. As a child, Eric raced go carts across the country as a hobby with his father. He won 13 national championships in go cart racing before moving up to sprint cars in Knoxville, where he won featured events. Some of these included racing against names such as Landen Castle and Tony Stewart. Now it’s his son’s turn to compete.
“I had a tradition of racing growing up, Eric says. “Now I’m ready to pass on the torch.”
At just 4 years old, Eric’s son Clayton currently races Strider bikes at Ewing Park on the south side of Des Moines. These races, which take place on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, are held on dirt tracks and include jumps.
Since his first race, Clayton has won the regional championship and state qualifier. A at the end of September, Clayton competed in his first state championship.
“I like the values that racing teaches my children,” Eric says. “It teaches hard work and how to deal with defeat. These are values that will not only help my son throughout his racing career, but throughout life as well.”
Eric attributes the lessons he has learned in his racing career with helping him run a successful business.
As far as future races go, there are currently many states that host Strider Bike races. Eric and his family hope to be able to travel to these races in order to become more competitive. These include competitions at the race track in Cedar Rapids and the Strider Nationals in Rapid City, South Dakota.
Those who participate in Strider bike races range from ages 2-5. After the age of 5, Clayton will move on to BMX bikes and eventually dirt bikes.
Clayton’s current No. 1 sponsor is Burtek Dry Ice, a distributing company owned and operated by his father.
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