Local teen making his own path to chase his passion
MADISON – Beyond the playground at Shelton Park in Madison there is a trail that leads into the woods.
It is a quiet piece of land that is nestled around a bunch of neighborhoods that sit below the patch of trees.
Through the foliage a teenager on a yellow bike cuts through the sea of green with a smooth grace that makes him look like he is in his natural habitat.
The kid is 15-year-old Evan Gillespie, and he has built a network of trails up on this ridge in Shelton Park.
The dirt paths are immaculate. The have been raked and trimmed and ridden on daily because Gillespie loves to be outside and practice his passion.
Evan races dirt bikes around the southeast on the weekends and he has used the trail-building as a way to stay sharp and do something that he loves at the same time.
“After you build the trails it’s good training to ride them,” Gillespie said. “To just have fun on them because they are really fun to ride around on.”
Evan is homeschooled by his mother Lana so the pair can make the far away dirt bike competitions a little easier.
The goal is to one day turn pro and that takes a great deal of hard work and dedication.
It also takes money to keep the dirt bikes working properly and to travel like they do.
It is not uncommon to see Evan heading into the forest with his chainsaw to work on building his trails.
Gillespie and his neighborhood friends ride the dirt paths and make ramps with spare wood that they have found places.
One ramp that Evan launched from on his yellow bike was built out of old fence boards.
“I just figured it out myself really,” Gillespie said.
“My grandad and I used to build dirt bike trails and stuff.”
Evan’s grandad was the one who got him into riding when he was just 4 years old.
His grandad has since passed away, but Gillepie’s love to be outside on the dirt or mountain bike has remained.
While his current trail-building is remarkable, the teen has aspirations to do even more with the tucked away Shelton Park if he had city support or financial backing.
“Just better equipment. Better things to build bigger things. I we had like a skid steer or some kind of a tractor to clear the trails,” Gillespie said.
To help Evan Gillespie build the trails or to pursue his dirt biking goals reach out to his mother at Lana_m_pruitt@yahoo.com.