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To the ranch

MILLVILLE, Minn. — A year after breaking four vertebrae in his back, Deegan Hepp will return to the Loretta Lynn Ranch.

Hepp, a 2021 Fort Dodge graduate, qualified in two events, joining friend Ronnie Orres, who has qualified in three events.

Both Hepp, and Orres, a St. Edmond student competed at Spring Creek MX Park in Millville, Minnesota.

The two riders will compete in the 41st annual Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at the historic Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn.

“This is my second year making it to Lorettas,” Hepp said. “I didn’t get to go last year due to breaking four vertebrae before Lorettas.”

Hepp will compete in the 450b and 250b events that will be held Aug. 2 through Aug. 7.

“It is a huge accomplishment to compete at Lorettas to race the biggest amateur race in the world,” said the 18-year-old Hepp. “It is the most unreal experience getting to line up with the best 43 riders in the world in your class.”

Orres, who will compete in his third Loretta Lynn championships, is a student at St. Edmond High School.

“Last year when I made it, I was hoping for a Top-15th place overall, but during the motos I crashed, preventing me from getting Top-15,” Orres said. “I ended up 23rd overall.

“It means a lot to me to qualify. I work very hard every year to try and make it.”

Orres will compete in Schoolboy1, Schoolboy2 and 250 B Limited.

“During spring, summer and fall my brother (James) and I race every weekend and all throughout the year I run and lift weights to help me stay in shape,” Orres said. “It means everything to me to be able to compete in this event. I know how much money, time, and effort my family puts in just so I can do what I love.”

Going back to Tennessee is something Orres looks forward to every August.

“Qualifying for this race is a very hard thing to do because the kids that qualify for it train and ride every day of the week when I can only ride on the weekends,” said the 16-year-old Orres.

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