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July 16, 2009     Tri-County News
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July 16, 2009

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Thursday, July 16, 2009 Co]lm]li lty Tri-County News Kimball, MN ,&apos; The unstoppable 'Monster' Mike Schultz By Jean Doran Matua, Editor Mike Schultz has been racing most of his life, professionally for 12 years. If it goes fast Mike has raced it: snowmobiles in winter, and dirtbikes in spring as soon as the ground was firm enough. That could have come to an abrupt end last December when "Monster" Mike took a bad snow- mobile landing during a snocross competition and severely injured his left leg. After several surgeries to save it, doctors had to amputate above the knee. A normal person would have taken that as a sign to make a dra- matic lifestyle change, give up rac- ing altogether, and take up some- thing more sedate. Mike was quoted in the Brain- erd Dispatch recently as holding his wife Sara's hand after his pain- ful injury, and telling her, "Sara, I'm never racing again." But now, a short six months later, Mike is racing again. During the weeks and months following his injury, Mike worked through his pain - including hor- rible phantom-limb pains. He was up walking on crutches just days after his surgery, and he was walk- ing on a prosthetic limb just five weeks later. Unstoppable, Mike was back on a snowmobile just a month after his accident, racing in the "mechanics' race" of the ISOC tour in which he'd been injured. But riding, let alone racing, dirt- bikes posed a whole other issue. "Every spring I always looked forward to it," Mike told the Brain- erd Dispatch. "When the acci- dent happened, I was like, 'Man, I'm going to have to get rid of my dirt bike. I'm not going to be able to shift with it because I can't bal- ance off my foot." In "Monster" Mike style, though, this didn't stop him for long. The problem was that stan- dard leg prostheses are designed for walking or jogging, not for the needs and abuse of racing dirt- bikes. So Mike took on designing his own prosthesis. In particu- lar, he designed an artificial knee, which is in patenting. "I knew what I wanted," Mike told ESPN in a June interview, "something . that would allow me to do high-impact things. So I went to the drawing board in March," Needless to say, it's work- ing out better than he or anyone else expected. This past weekend, Mike raced in the Extremity Games in Mich- igan. In an e-mail Sunday, Mike explained that he wasn't yet up to taking the 50-, 75- or 100-foot jumps that other racers were tak- ing. "I checked up and didn't go for it," he wrote. "The wind had gotten pretty strong and I didn't want to take the chance. I pushed as hard as I could through everything else." Mike took a strong second, about 8-10 seconds behind the winner and last year's gold-med- alist Chris Ridgway. (Ridgway is a long-time BMX racer who also lost his left leg in a racing accident.) The last race of the day (July 11) was the qualifier for the X Games. Mike was among those few already invited, but he was allowed to race with everyone else. Again Mike shied away from the big jumps, and again he tool second to Ridg- way. "I was so pumped after all the races," Mike wrote, "I can't wait for the summer X Games a.t the end of July." He'll be in the Summer X Games in Los Angeles starting July 3!. To prepare, Mike will spend the next two weeks intensively training. His goal: to give Chris Ridgway a run for his money and, ultimately, win a gold medal. ESPN is interviewing Mike again this week, and the interview will be aired July 23 and during the X Games. The X Games will be broadcast on ESPN, and Mike will be racing in the "Adaptive MX" (check TV listings for the sched- ule). Mike credits many, most of all his wife Sara (Becker) for his quick come-back. He also has a good deal of philanthropic and corpo- rate support. You can follow Mike at his Web site: <>. Both Mike and Sara are KAHS alumni. They cur- rently live in Pillager, Minn., near Brainerd. Mike Schultz raced July 11 in Michigan. He twice came in sec- ond to last year's gold medalist, Chris Rldgway. Mike and Chris are shown above holding their winnings. The two are sched- uled to meet on the track again July 31, this time at the ESPN X Games in Los Angeles. Local volunteer opportunities Qutef Oaks Hospice Quiet Oaks Hospice HouSe relies on many community members to make up their volunteer team. Vol- unteers are provided with an indi- vidualized in-depth training pro- gram to completelyprepare them for their tasks. House volunteers are needed to provide hospital- ity for residents and guests by pre- paring meals, baking, answering telephones, and visits with resi- dents and family members, as well as perform the daily tasks of any home. House volunteers-are essen- tialto the operations of Quiet Oaks. Volunteer shifts are four hours. Volunteers are asked to commit to one four-h0ur shift a week or two four-hour shifts a month. Contact Connie Bauman, Vol- unteer Coordinator at (320) 255- 5433 Page 9 Monster" Mike Schultz has defied severe injury that cost him his left leg. A short six months later he is racing motocross.and will compete in the ESPN X Games in Los Angeles July 31. Above, he poseswith a prosthetic knee he designed to withstand the rigors of racing. Below, he poses with his wife Sara; she has been a pillar of strength and sup- port through his injury, surgeries, recovery, and now his return to rac- ing. Photos by Sara Schu/tz. V'A '5