COLD LAKE – All day Saturday, the Mason Watt Memorial Race Way in Cold Lake was filled with families, racers, and in the evening a live musical performance by Clayton Bellamy from The Road Hammers.
After the tragic loss of their son and brother, Mason, the Watt family decided to organize a memorial ride to bring the motocross community back together. Mason, a teenager from St. Paul, passed away from a traumatic brain injury at the age of 15 following an accident during a race in Two Hills, last fall.
“Everyone here is kind of like a ‘moto-family’ — that’s what we call it,” said Madi Watt, Mason’s oldest sister.
She said, the thought behind the memorial event was to have a fun day where Mason could be the central focus as a way to honour him. The event was six months in the making, and involved hard work and dedication from the Watt family, Cody Warmen and the Cold Lake Motocross Assocation.
“We wanted it to be a good day and not leave it as a sad thing,” Madi said. “This is the way he loved to spend his weekends and how we would be together as a family – we just wanted to have a fun weekend to remember him the way he was.”
Kicking off the first race at 9:30 a.m., several racing classes took to the hill side of the raceway. The classes varied from bike size, age group and even included a two-lap “Dad class,” which attracted riders who Madi describes as a heat for parental riders in retirement from competitive racing.
The last lap of the track was dedicated to Mason, and welcomed everyone on wheels to ride in silence.
The funds raised from the event’s registration, admission and silent auction went to support three charities the Watt family have an intimate connection to – The Ronald McDonald House, The Stollery Children's Hospital and STARS air ambulance.
“We ended up staying in the Ronald McDonald house about one and a half months to two months, and my brother was in the Stollery, STARS as well was a big help. So, the three of them just mean a lot to us and we want to help them help families who are going through really rough times,” explained Madi.
Madi says over the last year, her family has been overwhelmed with the support they have received.
“It’s like you know that Mason is still in everybody's thoughts. And he was just such a good kid, kind hearted. I don't think anyone really had a bad thing to say about him,” said Madi, smiling at the thought of her brother.
Beyond the logistics of planning the event, the Watt family had to make a personal decision as well —to ride or not to ride.
“Right after, we all kind of struggled with it and we did take a bit of a step back. Normally, we are racing every weekend through the summer, traveling all across Alberta, even into B.C. and Saskatchewan sometimes. This year, I’ve done one race,” she said. “But, I think we're going to step back. Still ride as a family and have fun, but not the competitive racing we used to do.”