By: Ryan Kelly | WCTV Eyewitness News
November 9, 2018
CAIRO, Ga. (WCTV) – People come to the Big Bend and South Georgia from all over the world for many different reasons; education, business, natural resources, you name it.
But, a higher-octane reason has folks from near and far flocking to Grady County. Cairo, the seat of Grady County and the hospitality capital of Georgia, is known for football, syrup, and Supercross.
The Millsaps Training Facility is where some of the best and brightest up-and-comers in motocross come from all over the globe to train. Like Noah and Adam Smerdon from Australia, two brothers whose passion started on the family farm and grew thanks to some healthy sibling rivalry.
"I knocked my tooth out and I didn't ride it for a year I was so scared of it, and it was about half a year later Noah jumped on it and I was like, ‘Oh, if he can ride it I can go again, too,’" said Adam Smerdon.
"When I was four I really wanted to get on a bike for the first time but my mom and dad wouldn't let me until I was five. So, when I finally got on it, it was just a blast," said younger brother Noah Smerdon.
But as the years progressed and the boys continued riding, their parents, Kerry and Ros, discovered the duo might have more than just a passion.
Kerry Smerdon said, “It's taken a lot of years of coaching and everything to get where they are now but there was definitely a spark there to start with."
A spark that caught fire in the Aussie competitive scene and burned bright enough for some to think the Smerdons should move across the world and train in the States.
"It was late 2016 and my trainer was saying, ‘If you want to come over here, this is the time,’" said Adam.
It was a decision that didn’t come lightly. The Smerdons would be leaving behind an older son in college and a farming business that goes back three generations.
"Financially for us on the farm it may have been better to wait a few years, but the boys were at the age where we needed to bring them here and get them the biggest benefit as soon as they possibly could," said Ros Smerdon.
So, the family made the jump and moved to Grady County, where they now own a house and have started a business, finding that there are plenty of similarities between rural Georgia and rural Australia, with a few key differences.
"Like I love it for all the motocross but the food just gets me."
"The food mostly, the food got us."
"You put sugar in bread, I just don't understand it."
Dietary changes aside, the boys are as dedicated as ever, training on the course and in the gym, usually twice a day. Then they do schoolwork after that.
It’s a schedule the boys are happy to complete while training at MTF.
Adam said, “There's lots of training facilities in America but this one is probably one of the best in the world."
And, it’s a rush they say you can’t get doing anything else.
"The feeling of riding a bike every day, it's just hard to not do," said Noah.
"You can't explain it,” added Adam. “There's just something about doing all those laps, all those jumps, that you can't explain. It's just something you want to feel forever."
Riders from almost 40 countries are currently training at MTF. Twenty professional riders around the world have at one point been affiliated with the facility.