Catching Up with…Shawn Rife

By Billy Rainford

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While I was down in Florida at the 45th Annual Thor Winter Olympics checking out all our Canadians competing, Friday came around and I had no way of getting in touch with #48 for the Update intro. Just as I was wondering what I was going to do, #48 walks right past me on the hill. Shawn Rife was down in Florida helping out a buddy of his. It was an extremely random sighting, to say the least. 

Here is the interview we did:

Shawn Rife Ulverton 2016

We grabbed Shawn Rife for a quick chat to talk about what he’s been up to lately and what his future plans are. | Bigwave photo

Direct Motocross: Hello, Shawn. It was good to bump into you last week at the Mini O’s. What were you doing at the races there?
Shawn Rife: Hey, Billy. It was good running into you at the Mini O’s. Actually, it was a spur of the moment decision to head down. A lifelong buddy of mind had gone down from Ohio so I decided to drive down and help him out a little during the week.
You’ve got quite a history with the event yourself. What is your best memory of the Mini O’s?
I’d have to say my best memory from the event would have to be when I won a championship on the SX track with a flat front tire. My dad actually knew on the line but didn’t tell me so that I wouldn’t panic.
Let’s back up a little. How did you get into motocross? 
I got into riding when I was three. My pops always got into bikes and things and one of his buddies bought their daughter a bike and at that time my dad got me one. I went to regular school through the greater part of my educational life where I rode in the field of a park until 6th grade.
Can you tell us what the highlight of your amateur career was?
I’d say the highlight of my amateur career would have to be winning the KTM Jr. Supercross Challenge in Vegas right after 9/11. I had my hair dyed and colored like the American flag and just really one of the greater memories I have.

Shawn Rife at the 2008 Sand Del Lee National where he finished 7th in MX2 | Bigwave photo

How did you first decide to come up to Canada to race?
I actually got tuned into the Canadian series through a buddy named Joey Leadbeater. Him and his brother had raced up there for a team at the time so I went up to check it out as I was still an amateur in America. It was a good way to judge some speed and get track time with long, rough motos.
How did your first visit go?
My first visits weren’t the best but they weren’t too bad either. I got top ten in all of the races, I do believe, and I thought it was a great stepping stone as it led me to awesome opportunities with Leading Edge and things.
What did you think of our series?
My thoughts on the series are and always have been on the positive side. You guys put on a great event, involving everybody and the atmosphere at each round is different but it still feels ‘homey,’ if that makes sense?
You came up to Canada in 2016 and raced 3 rounds. Can you take us through those?
I came up for 3 races. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity but not being behind a gate of that caliber since the winter before or summer before, I just wasn’t prepared mentally, so I definitely wasn’t prepared physically. I showed some good signs but some bad as well.
You didn’t come up and race the final round at Walton. How come? 
The final round they actually pulled a kid (Joey Crown) from amateurs up to ride the bike at Walton, which the kid deserved 100 percent.

Shawn will head back down to Florida in January to get ready for whatever happens this coming summer. He’s hoping to get support to go racing full-time again | Bigwave photo

What did you get up to next?
Since then, I’ve started working with my dad pretty much day in and day out. I still have bikes and ride when the time’s right.
You mentioned you are about to get back on a bike and get back to doing some racing. What’s next for you?
I plan on going to Florida in January and putting the hammer down on some laps, so hopefully come May I’m ready to go anywhere someone’s willing take me.
You also mentioned you’d love to come back to Canada. What are your plans for the future with racing?
I’d love to come back to Canada; I’m familiar with all of the rounds and the way the system works. It’s really easy to be liked up there and I feel like the respect is up a bit more in everybody’s aspect.
What do you do when you’re not riding or racing?
When I’m not riding I’m usually working and if I’m not working then 9 times out of 10 I’m making music. I picked it up as a hobby for something to do a few years ago and I’m only getting addicted to it.
What will you do when you’re done racing at the Pro level?
I would have to say when I’m done racing at any level I would love to start my own studio.
You’re in Myrtle Beach right now. What are you doing there?
I was in Myrtle Beach for storm clean up. My dad owns a tree service so we have been going out of town since the beginning of November, off and on.
Who impressed you at the Mini O’s?
Honestly, there were a few people that impressed me. (Carson) Mumford was impressive on the SX, along with (Challen) Tennant. I wish I could name them all. All I have to say is the future is bright for two wheels!
OK, thanks for taking the time with us. Good luck getting back at it. Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
I just gotta say thanks to anyone that’s ever given me an opportunity, because over all they’re the reason I’m still going. To my parents and all of my family – much love. Also, you can view my
Music on Riffy at SoundCloud: