As Tucker Hibbert zoomed around for a few practice laps on his snowmobile Thursday at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, he was described by an outsider as “the Michael Jordan of snocross.”
That might sound like hyperbole, but both the record book — and the meticulous manner in which Hibbert goes about his business — are reminiscent of superstars in other sports.
Hibbert, who splits his time between the Minnesota towns of Pelican Rapids and Thief River Falls, has 84 career victories in Pro National snocross events. That’s tied for the most all-time, and he has a chance to claim the record outright during events Friday and Saturday at Canterbury (see www.canterburypark.com for details on the event and tickets).
How he has arrived at the pinnacle of his sport at age 29 sounds very familiar in comparison to other elite athletes.
“It’s not like a 9-to-5 job. We try to have time off and not get too burned out, but for the most part it’s all day every day,” Hibbert said. “Everything I do is based around how to get better. It’s a combination of practicing at the track, training, testing and a ton of time in the shop building the sleds and parts.”
It’s added up to a dominant career for Hibbert, who is a seven-time national snocross champion and will attempt later this winter to win a seventh consecutive gold medal at the Winter X Games. He’s been racing professionally since he was a teenager — essentially half his life at this point.
“As soon as I was old enough to start racing, I couldn’t get enough of it,” he said. “It’s been my whole life. It’s all I know. … It would be awesome to beat the record in Minnesota. This is a home-state race for me.”
But it hardly sounds like it will be his last.
“I don’t have a date in mind when I want to retire. I’ve been doing this a long time, but I’m still motivated to go out there and get better. Being successful helps you stay motivated,” Hibbert said. “If I don’t feel like I’m driven to be better, I know it’s time to slow down. But I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon.”
Spoken like a true superstar of his sport.