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Dirtbike Riding Dog

January 25 | 3 Comments

I’m sure you’ve all heard the joke, “What’s the difference between a Hoover vacuum cleaner and a Harley Davidson?” The answer of course is the location of the dirtbag.

Don’t get me wrong I’m pro Harley, and motorcycles in general, but if I have an opportunity to recycle a joke then, by golly, I’m going to do it.

My mother on the other hand is not a fan of motorized cycles of the two wheel variety. I know she’s forbidden my father to get one. It’s not because of safety concerns, but rather the fear he’d ride around town side saddle.

I’m with her. Can you imagine if he wanted to take me along for a ride? Not only would the dogs in town be woofing in laughter at me, but a chorus of cat meow snickering would surely follow!

Fortunately for a dog named Opee, he’s got an owner with a motorbike, an adventurous side and the foresight to ride like a man. The LA Times has the full story.

PERRIS, Calif. — Opee is only 8, but he’s already a popular veteran in the down and dirty sport of motocross.

He can pull 6 Gs. He’s been the centerfold for Cycle News and poses regularly for fan photos. He’s a survivor of the grueling Baja 500 and has racked up more than 10,000 hours on a dirt bike.

Sometimes, you can barely see the 70-pound pooch — a blue merle Australian shepherd — through the dust on his goggles and his custom helmet, complete with cam.

“I am his biggest fan,” said Mike Schelin, Opee’s owner, race partner and a purveyor of used motorcycle parts from a shop next to his mobile home.

Known as “The Dogfather” to some in the sport, Schelin always takes a back seat to Opee.

“He was my instant best friend,” Schelin said. “He slept in my tool bag. There was something about him. He’s had charisma since Day One. I knew I had a dog who could make a difference.”

So Schelin bought a four-wheeler and they went desert riding together. The dog didn’t like the dust in his eyes, so Schelin got him goggles. One day, Opee ditched the four-wheeler and hopped on the motorcycle tank, where he’s been ever since, Schelin said.Reaction to Opee was magic. He was an instant canine ambassador to off-roading. Finding sponsors was no problem and soon Opee had his own custom gear, including a specially made neck brace, inflatable vest, backpack, water supply and several jerseys.

Opee and Schelin race, but not to win. Because they’re different and for safety’s sake, they always start in the rear and they only compete with the cyclist in front of them, Schelin said.Even the most skilled motocross racer has a plaster cast past and Opee is no exception. His worst crash came in the 2006 Baja 500.

“We took a spill at 75 mph in the dirt and went into a 40-foot skid,” Schelin said.

The dog isn’t attached to the bike or Schelin in any way. He skinned his nose and scraped his paw. Schelin sliced his leg. The injuries weren’t enough to put them out of the race though.

“I would never do anything to hurt my dog,” Schelin said. “Opee keeps me in check at all times. If he doesn’t jump up on the bike, we don’t go.”

Interesting that there is no mention of Schelin’s first dog, Opoo the skydiving dog.

Comments

3 Responses to “Dirtbike Riding Dog”

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