Business

12-Year-Old Motocross Racer To Launch Chix Motorsports

By Patti Borda Mullins
The Frederick News-Post, Md.

At age 4, Melissa Murrah took to the terrain on her motorized four-wheeler, and she hasn’t looked back, except maybe to glance at the competition.

She is 12 now and in her second year of racing all-terrain quads in motocross events. Her family, especially father, Johnnie Murrah, support her and travel with her up and down the East Coast to MDRA District 6 events.

“I kept getting more into it,” Melissa said.

She has two Yamaha vehicles: a Raptor 250 and a YFZ 450. Last year, she entered six or seven races and placed second once and third twice.

Her zeal for the thrilling rides and especially hurtling over jumps impresses her father and makes for a bit of stress. Sometimes Melissa races in women’s competitions where other drivers can be three times her age.

“It’s very scary for me,” Johnnie Murrah said. “She is looking to turn pro.”

Her father said she turned to him last year, a bit tired of the standard attire, which is kind of male-oriented.

“Dad, I’d like to have my own shirts,” he remembered her saying.

So she will, and so can others.

On April 11 at Fredericktown Yamaha, Melissa will introduce her motorcross clothing line, designed for women. She dubbed it Chix Motorsports.

Fredericktown Yamaha is one of her race sponsors.

“They’ve been fantastic,” Murrah said.

The proud parent of the entrepreneur sees her filling a market need.

“There’s not a lot of clothing for women,” Murrah said. “She is going to be the face of Chix Motorsports.”

They are starting with shirts but plan to have all types of racing gear: clothing, helmets and goggles.

On a recent weeknight, father and daughter were toiling over the computer to get her business going.

“We’re working on the website,” Murrah said. “We just got off the phone with our graphics guy.”

The graphics guy is Bill Harris, of Creative Touch Graphix in Westminster. They cannot thank him enough for being another of Melissa’s sponsors and donating his expertise to help her get the Chix logo ready.

“It’s just God-given,” Murrah said.

Before the April 11 open house, Murrah hopes to have the website up and running. He has a roofing business and does as much of the mechanical work on Melissa’s vehicles as possible.

“We are looking for additional sponsors,” he said.

Next she plans to race at Budds Creek Motocross Park in Mechanicsville.

Everything about the racing suited her from the beginning, she said: long weekends, weight training, physical exertion, even the pressure at the starting gate.

“I just love the jumps,” she said.

“Jumping is her best,” Murrah said.

He makes sure she wears as much protective clothing and operates as safely as possible, he said, though the hazards are always present.

“For me, it’s a nightmare,” he said.

Father and daughter say the racing is a positive outlet for her youthful exuberance.

“The people are really nice,” Melissa said.

Murrah said he reminds his children, including Melissa’s three siblings, that they must always be thankful for what they have and be kind to others.

“We’re always going to be givers,” he said. “Nobody’s any better than anybody.”

The family experienced the death of Murrah’s son several years ago, and it has been hard for them, he said. He credits Melissa with persevering through difficulties to be not just a good quad racer, but also outstanding in basketball.

“She’s such a team player,” Murrah said.

The family hopes she will be able to get a basketball scholarship. She would like to play for the University of Maryland or University of Connecticut.

Melissa would like to race or play basketball professionally. She surprises some people when they hear about her racing.

“They usually think it’s a guys’ sport,” she said.

In all of her endeavors, she appreciates her family’s support, and made a sentimental choice for her racing number, 45.
“Cause it’s my dad’s old football number,” she said.

“It means the world to me,” Murrah said. “I don’t take it for granted.”

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