Minnesota’s Tucker Hibbert has a chance to reach a professional milestone this weekend as he goes for his 100th career pro snocross victory during the Pirtek Snocross National at Canterbury Park in Shakopee.
Suffice to say, though, the personal milestone reached Thursday already has made Hibbert’s trip to this home state track worthwhile.
In conjunction with Make-A-Wish Minnesota, Hibbert surprised a 14-year-old Farmington boy named Nick K., who is battling leukemia, with a special day at the track.
Nick was told he was just going to Canterbury to meet Hibbert and to get a sneak peek at event preparations. Instead, he was presented with a $13,000 Arctic Cat Tucker Hibbert replica snowmobile — and then given the chance to go for a ride on the track with Hibbert.
The two of them made a dramatic entrance into Canterbury after an initial meet-and-greet. With all eyes and cameras trained on them, they wandered over toward the shiny craft.
“Look at that,” Hibbert said. “It’s yours. A shiny new sled. … What do you think?”
Nick, who wasted no time walking over and hopping right on, turned to him with a smile and said, “Nice.” A snowmobiling enthusiast, Nick said he plans to ride the new craft with family and friends.
It shouldn’t take him long to get acclimated because he already knew a lot of the mechanical details. When a representative from Arctic Cat tried to give him all the specs, Nick kept beating him to the punch.
When asked what he likes about snowmobiles, his response was priceless: “They’re fun. Loud. I like the noise. It smells better than perfume.”
He would get no argument from Hibbert, a snocross veteran who is a 12-time medalist at the X Games and a two-time world champion.
Hibbert, who has done other volunteer work through other organizations, said he was contacted by Make-A-Wish about Nick’s story and jumped at the chance.
“It’s just a great opportunity for us to give back, help this kid out and make his wish come true,” Hibbert said. “All in all, [we’re] just looking for an awesome weekend, and we’re excited to start it out today with Nick and the Make-A-Wish program. It’s a really cool opportunity.”
Almost on cue, as the pair was preparing to go for a test ride, Thursday’s precipitation intensified, giving the track a snow globe effect. It was a dream scene, only it was reality.
“It’s the best day in a long time,” Nick said.