Athlete of the Week: Cannon Tyler

Athlete of the Week: Cannon Tyler

(WTOL) - Jake Tyler is the sports turf manager for the Mud Hens. For someone who's on the diamond daily, you might expect his son to play baseball.

Like father-like son, Jake's son does spend time in the dirt, it's just not the kind you find on the diamond. Instead, Cannon Tyler prefers dirt you find on a track.

While most kids his age are playing soccer or baseball, eight-year-old Cannon gravitated towards dirt bikes. He saw riders like Ryan Dungey and Ricky Carmichael on TV and that's when he told his dad one simple phrase.

"I wanted to get a dirt bike," Cannon said.

Little did he know his dad used to race dirt bikes when he was a kid.

"It was funny because, you know, I never talked about racing with myself growing up until he brought it up," Jake said. "So I told him, I said, 'You know you save your money up for a year and if you want to buy a bike then we'll do that.'"

So Cannon saved up his money. Showing his commitment, and Jake held up his end of the deal, getting him his first dirt bike.

That was a year ago. Since then, Cannon has progressed so quickly, he's up three bike sizes. He started on a TTR50, then a KTM50 and now to his current bike, a KTM65.

"It's faster than a Yamaha, and it's faster than my first bike and my second bike," Cannon said.

Not to mention, this bike is manual. So mastering the clutch and shifting gears brought a new challenge. But that didn't seem to keep Cannon from placing first in three races and third in another, the key to winning being a good start.

"If you don't get the hole shot you're probably not going to get first," Cannon said.

Meanwhile Jake Tyler loves the extra time spent with his son.

"It's fun because it's a lot of quality time that we get spend together as well. It's a lot of father-son time," Jake said. "You know at this age he needs me to be able to come out here and race. He can't do it on his own, so we've got to be able to spend a lot of good time together, which is great for him and I."

Cannon has a goal he's trying to reach this weekend.

"My goal right now is trying to go to Red Bud and qualify for Loretta Lynn's and win Loretta Lynn's and get my pro card," Cannon said.

The Red Bud qualifier in Buchanan, Michigan is this weekend on May 5, 6 and 7.

If he gets his pro card, he's one step closer to the ultimate goal of being a supercross rider.

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