Trailcraft Maxwell 24 Review

Trailcraft Maxwell 24
Trailcraft Maxwell 24
The Trailcraft Maxwell 24 with XT M8000 components cleans up nice and dirties up even better.

This is the Maxwell 24 with Pro XT M8000 build from Trailcraft Cycles. We were lucky enough to get our paws on one of these weapons of mass progression and put it through its paces for a few weeks.

Our initial impression was that this thing is pretty boss. Aficionados of kids’ mountain bikes already know of the Trailcraft brand and their offerings; but to newcomers, this ride is on par with premium adult builds. If you have an aspiring XC racer or enduro kid, the Maxwell 24 deserves its position at the head of the pack due to its weight, geometry, and options for components.

Brett Rosenbauer of Trailcraft Cycles

After you visit their website, get in touch with Trailcraft Cycles. If you call, one of the owners (Ginger or Brett Rosenbauer) will pick up the phone and take you through all of the options for one of their bikes.

Some Numbers For The Trailcraft Maxwell 24 With Pro XT M8000 Build 

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25 inches

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1 x 11

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24 inches

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About 24 pounds

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Approx. 7 – 10

The Maxwell 24 Frame And Geometry

All builds for the Maxwell 24 start with an aluminum-alloy frame with a 74º head tube angle, 390mm chain stay length and 630mm / 24.8inch standover height. With a 2.1inch tire on the rim, the bottom bracket height is about 11.8inches from the trail. We know that fit is first when it comes to choosing the right bike for your kid, so it will be good to learn that the horizontal top tube length is 500mm / 19.6inches.

If you believe your rider is in need of a dropper post, the frame can accommodate one of the stealth variety. There is an additional port on the drivetrain side of the seat tube above the bottom bracket shell.

Drivetrain, Suspension And Brakes

Let’s start with a tour of the crankset. The Maxwell 24 with Pro XT M8000 build begins with the direct mount 140mm cranks with options for a 26t, 28t, 30t, or 32t chainring up front. No front derailleur here – as these kids’ bikes are of a contemporary bevy. This not only saves weight, but also eliminates the hassle of having to maintain an additional element of shifting opportunities for curious fingers and thumbs.

The rear cassette on our bike was fit with a 11-speed Shimano XT M8000. It’s cluster was composed of sprockets sized 11-42 and our rider thought this factory set up was pretty nifty. The transmission on the Maxwell 24 with Pro XT M8000 build is controlled by a Shimano XT M8000 11 Speed I-Spec shifter. Throw some decent pedals on this sled. The pedals shown in our photos are not included.

This ride gets its 100mm squish from a RockShox Monarch R in the rear and a RST Snyper fork. Both of these air shocks feature lock outs so your young rider can achieve maximum efficiency for the climbs.

Who doesn’t love Shimano XT M8000 brakes? The list is small and unless you have a better pair laying around the garage, we think these will remain on board. The additional bonus with these brakes is that the reach from lever-to-grip can be adjusted so your young biker can easily grab the stoppers and feather them with ease.

Rear shock on the Trailcraft Maxwell 24
Trailcraft Maxwell 24 brake lever detail
Trailcraft Maxwell 24 rear cassette
RST Snyper air fork on the Trailcraft Maxwell 24
Shimano XT brake detail on the Trailcraft Maxwell 24

The Wheels

We were very excited to learn that Trailcraft bikes were the inception of Stans No Tubes manufacturing their 24-inch tubeless-ready rims. What a wonderful solution for increasing the strength and integrity of a kid specific product while keeping off the grams. Your Trailcraft Maxwell 24 with Pro XT M8000 build will arrive with Stans Crest MK3 24-hole rims laced to Superlight alloy hubs.

Bars and Saddle For The Maxwell 24 With Pro XT M8000 Build

Carbon bars on a kids’ mountain bike straight from the manufacturer? Yep – they are just a womp rat’s hair wider than 28 inches. The lock-on grips are also kid specific measuring about 3.75inches in length. The saddle is smaller sized and the seat post is held in place with a quick-release lever.

Tapered head tube on the Trailcraft Maxwell 24
Quick release seatpost collar on the Trailcraft Maxwell 24
Carbon bars on the Trailcraft Maxwell 24

Riding the Trailcraft Maxwell 24

Our rider was able to take this bike out for a few rides on varying terrain as well as a cross-country race. She really enjoyed it. She said, “I noticed how light it was compared to my other bikes and it looks really cool.” Parents agreed wherever this bike showed up. One parent told us, “If my spouse would let me, this is the mountain bike I would buy my kid.”

The Trailcraft Maxwell 24 is one of the best mountain bikes for kids

Kid specific bikes all boast of a proper geometry. And that rings true for most kids’ mountain bikes. Your kid is only going to be on a bike this size for a limited time. What makes riding the Trailcraft Maxwell 24 a good value is not only the geometry of the frame. It’s also the frame material, the frame design, the drivetrain, the suspension, the brakes and the wheel set. All these factors come together to form a high-end performance machine for young riders.

Style for miles is feasible on the Trailcraft Maxwell 24
Our rider exhibited confidence when riding the Trailcraft Maxwell 24
Get comfortable with balance skills on this great kids' mountain bike

“The suspension is really squishy!” our rider exclaimed. This was not due to having the suspension set up incorrectly. It was because this was the first time our rider was on a full-suspension mountain bike built for kids. We were able to tune the air fork and shock properly based on our rider’s weight and riding style.

All the components of the bike performed as advertised. Our rider really liked the brakes because the reach could be adjusted. The Schwalbe Rocket Ron tires accomplished all that was asked of them on grass, dry dirt, and wooden features.

Using the great gear range provided by the Trailcraft Maxwell 24

Summing Up The Trailcraft Maxwell 24

When you first looked at this bike your first thought should be “This is an expensive kids’ bike”. Well, it’s an expensive kids’ because it’s a great kids bike. It’s a high-performance machine meant for kids who will use it, race it, and yes – eventually grow out of it. When we buy our kids bikes, we have learned that we are not owning the bike forever. We know that we are basically “renting” a bike for a season or two. And, the more we spend on something – the more it can hold its value.

The Trailcraft Maxwell 24 with Pro XT M8000 build is certainly one of the few premium options for young mountain bikers. Trailcraft also has more builds for this frame including the Pro Deore M6000 and the Special Build. You can also purchase an option including the frame, fork, wheels, and cranks. The frame can be acquired a-la-carte so you can build up a complete bike with all the customizations and parts you’ve had lying around.

Looking for something a littler larger? If this bike sounds amazing, but is a bit too small for your rider, check out our Trailcraft Maxwell 26 Review.

Mountain Biking Dads – Father’s Day 2018

Mountain biking dads - Father's Day, 2018
Mountain biking dads - Father's Day, 2018

Happy Father’s Day to all of the mountain biking dads who are helping their children become a part of the wonderful sport of mountain biking. We have fathers from Hong Kong, Venezuela, Italy and Canada sharing some words and pictures. Be sure to follow these dads and their families on Instagram so you can keep up with the progression of these young riders. Many thanks to Steve “Chewy Gould, Marcos Guarapo, Lucio Stefani, and Jason Teetaert for participating.

Steve “Chewy” Gould, Hong Kong

Instagram: @trailripperslord_chewington_and_985_others | Website: Rider Learning

My name is Chewy and I’m a rider, racer, bike coach – and now a dad. I have spent a lot of time and effort prior to the birth of my Daughter CC, forging a lifestyle that enables me the maximum possible amount of time with my kid.

My business is to teach 2 to 5 year old children how to ride balance bikes. I do this this on weekends when my lovely wife Carmen is off work.

As a biking “lifer” I grew up with BMX, motocross and raced mountain bikes for the past 10 years – so it just felt right to share my passion with my little students and now my Daughter.

She is now 11 months old and I have had her on the bike since I noticed she could hold onto the handlebars at 7 months. I have an unlimited amount of energy (and seemingly lower back muscles of steel) for wheeling my daughter about on her Strider. I rarely carry her, seizing almost every opportunity to take her for a quick spin, if even only from the house to the car, we do it on two wheels. I often wheel her through the busy Hong Kong shopping malls and my favorite is peoples faces when they see my Daughter on her bike. At less than 1 year old, she is so tiny, people think it’s some kind of trick.

My goal as a bike dad/coach is for my daughter to have as much fun as I do with two wheels and hopefully travel the world meeting other like minded two wheelers.

Happy Father’s Day. Ride on.

Getting started on the bike at under a year old
Father and daughter
Participating in a strider bike class in Hong Kong
You can see the smile behind the binky

Marcos Guarapo, Venezuela

Instagram: @el_shot

Being a mountain bike dad of two, Karina (4) and Marcos (8) – it’s the coolest thing that ever happened to me. It’s the ride of my life and I’m enjoying it every single day.

Our week goes between job, school, to-do lists, schedules, and all “Real life” that happens from Monday to Friday; but, when the weekend comes, we run as fast as we can to nature.

Share that passion for mountain biking with my loved ones is something a really enjoy. That precious moment when they left my hand for the first time by themselves, riding with nothing but the confidence that I made them feel, gave us that feeling of success and proud. Now they become savvy about themselves and their environment, more confident and brave. They developed that sense of facing a challenge instead of going chicken line, something that goes beyond the trails into their lives. These are the skills that will be with them for a lifetime.

Bring my family to amazing times together, ride in places they love and see their happy faces enjoying dad’s bbq on a bike park, are the things that I wanted from the moment I became a rider and now I have it. I’m planning to lead my pack to the trails as long as I can, because being an MTB family is not a destination, is a journey. I’m a Mountain bike dad and sincerely wish to my fellow bike dads around the world a Happy Father’s Day.

A mountain biking family
A mountain biking kid from Venezuela
Mountain biking dad with his kids
Just making sure the mountain bike is a good fit

Lucio Stefani, Italy

Instagram: @Armin_Bike | YouTube: Lucio Stefani

Hello! We are Lucio and Armando. We’re a mountain biking father and son from the beautiful valley of Trentino, Italy at the foot of the Dolomites. Primiero. The father many years ago, began to ride in mtb to feel good about himself and live together with nature. When Armando was born, one of the first presents was a bike without pedals.

Now Armando at 8 years old. Together we started cycling between the trails of the Dolomites and we do not stop any more, every occasion is pleasant to ride in mtb, whether it’s a walk, a workout, or a cross country race. So much joy, a lot of happiness that we share on a daily basis on two wheels even with the mother who cycles with us.

Getting the first bike
Hitting the trails
Riding mountain bikes in the mountains of Italy
Mountain biking father and son

Jason Teetaert, Canada

Instagram: @jasonteetaert

As a family living, working and playing in Vancouver, BC, Canada, how can one not bike? Both of our kids have taken to two wheels since we first introduced them to a run-bike at around age 2. Their first smiles on a bike involved taking the run bike off the beaten path – over roots at campsites or through the puddles during Vancouver’s rainy winter season.

Their passion for the bumps and puddles involved into rolls, drops, and jumps. Now at ages 9 and 12 the two brothers can seen riding with friends or with their dad – on the Northshore, Whistler or in Pemberton. Bike camping trips along the Kettle Valley, riding in Jasper are also already on these kids riding logs. I wish that one could look into the future and see where two wheels might take these kids.

As a father – we make choices in what we do with our kids. Some Dad’s will watch the ball game or play catch in the backyard with their children. Our backyard just happens to have some of best mountains in them – so we ride them! I grew up on the prairies, some of the flattest land of Canada and took up mountain biking around the same time as the kids. As they have grown, so have their skills. I have also had to learn how to keep up on the steeper, rocky, drops, and jumps. They go off to bike camp every summer for skills development, and I am quick to get them to teach me the new skills they have acquired… out of necessity to keep up.

In Vancouver on a run bike
Getting around on the bikes
Brothers attend a mountain biking event
Father and sons riding a gondola at a mountain bike park

Summer 2018 Audiobooks For Families

Audiobook selections for summer 2018

Audiobooks For Families: Moving along, we certainly hope you will be spending a lot of time in the car this summer with your family as you add to your book of mountain biking adventures. Need more suggestions on audiobooks for road trips with kids? Take a look at some other MTB with Kid Audiobook Suggestions


What audiobooks have you enjoyed with your kids? Please leave a comment below.

Fantastic Mr. Fox read by Roald Dahl

Fantastic Mr. Fox – written and read by Roald Dahl


Author Roald Dahl himself narrated his tale of clever Mr. Fox, whose escapades were turned into a movie by Wes Anderson. In order to keep his wife and children fed, Mr. Fox comes up with a plan. This plan involves complicated raids on a series of local farms owned by three men named Boggis, Bunce, and Bean.  The farmers aren’t exactly smart or nice. Thus it is no surprise when they trace Mr. Fox back to his burrow (under a local tree) and begin to dig up his home in order to get rid of the “menace” once and for all.

As you can imagine, chaos ensues. Mr. Fox teams up with his neighbors, a number of other displaced animals, in order to get their revenge. The audio version of Fantastic Mr. Fox runs for one hour, making it the perfect thing to listen to on shorter car trips. Although the book is designed for kids aged nine through 13, any child who’s seen the movie may be interested in the original version. Both adults and children will get a kick out of Mr. Fox’s antics.

To Kill A Mockingbird read by Sissy Spacek

To Kill A Mockingbird – Written by Harper Lee and read by Sissy Spacek


Heads up on this one. Just in case you’re not familiar with this book, it contains strong language, violence, and explicit material. We are listening to this as a family with our 14 year old and 11 year old. This tale of the south in the 1930s follows the narrator, a six-year-old girl nicknamed Scout (real name Jean Louise Finch). Scout’s father, Atticus Finch, is a lawyer appointed to defend an African American man accused of a crime. Harper Lee was inspired to write the book based on her own experiences growing up in a small town in Alabama during the same time frame.

Although Scout and her brother, Jem, and new friend, Dill, spend the summer coming up with theories about their reclusive neighbor, Boo Radley. The lighter story is undercut with information on the trial and race relations during the time of Jim Crow in the south. This audiobook, which spans 12 hours, is read by Sissy Spacek. Her southern drawl is a perfect complement to the tale. Although To Kill A Mockingbird is on many school’s reading lists and is designed for older children, the young narrator may draw in the interests of younger children.

Peter And The Starcatchers read by Jim Dale

Peter And The Starcatchers – written by Ridley Pearson, Dave Barry and read by Jim Dale


Peter and the Starcatchers is written by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry. This story takes place prior to the events of Peter Pan. Thanks to the many movie adaptations, most children are familiar with the story.  Characters include the boy who didn’t want to grow up, his pirate nemesis, and his friend, Tinkerbelle. Peter and the Starcatchers contains adventures, told from a slightly different point of view.

In this tale, Peter is marooned on an island with his newfound accomplice Molly. They try to protect an important treasure from roving bands of thieves of pirates. The treasure is highly sought after, as it consists of “starstuff,” not the typical gold and jewels found in similar tales. This audiobook version of the story is almost 9 hours long and narrated by Jim Dale. Your children – who are probably already aware of Peter Pan – will be thrilled to hear his origin tale. Plus, there are three additional sequels to this book, so if it’s a hit, you can add those to your car trip list.

Inkheart read by Lynn Redgrave

Inkheart – written Cornelia Funke and read by Lynn Redgrave


A visit from an unusual stranger starts off this tale of a 12-year-old girl getting swept up on an exciting adventure. Unbeknownst to the protagonist, Meggie, her father, Mo, who she knows only as a bookbinder, is a Silvertongue. This means that he can make fictional characters emerge from books. The unusual stranger, known as Dustfinger, is actually from a book called Inkheart (yes, the same name as the book itself, creating an interesting parallel) that Mo read to Meggie.

As the story goes on, Meggie finds out more about her father’s amazing ability from him. As it turns out, whenever a character comes out of a book, something must go back in. And their trip is interrupted by Capricorn, who has a sinister plan. As they try to stop Capricorn, both you and your children will recognize some of the characters that appear, thanks to Mo’s ability. Inkheart, written by Cornelia Funke, is designed for children aged eight and up who love a good fantasy tale. Lynn Redgrave narrates the 15-hour long audiobook.

The True Blue Scouts Of Sugar Man Swamp read by Lyle Lovett

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp – written by Kathi Appelt and read by Lyle Lovett


Lyle Lovett narrates the audio version of The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp. Kathi Appelt, a Newbery Award nominee and National Book Award finalist wrote the book. The book stars two raccoons named Bingo and J’miah. The raccoons are the newest members of a group called the Official Sugar Man Swamp Scouts. The Sugar Man himself has been asleep for over 40 years, although rumors of his love for sugar cane spurred his name and the aforementioned scouting group.

The group is normally tasked with taking care of the swamp, keeping things in line for all of the animals who live in it. This changes when a human named Jaeger Stitch decides that he wants to use the swamp for his own purposes and turn it into an alligator-wrestling theme park. It seems as though the best to defend the swamp from him (and a group of feral hogs who also cause trouble) would be to wake up the Sugar Man. The audiobook version of The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp is almost six hours long and is designed for kids aged eight to 12.

The Outlaw Bike Team

Three young members of the Outlaw Bike Team

Tyson Henrie is a tall, soft-spoken guy who enjoys the best Utah’s outdoors has to offer. During the winter months, he’s on skis coaching at Utah’s Sundance Resort. But as soon as the trails dry out, he’s riding mountain bikes with a group of young girls and boys as the head coach of the Outlaw Bike Team. The Outlaw Bike Team is a kids’ mountain biking team for young riders aged 7 to 18. The name of the game for these groms is gravity-based riding which focuses on the following disciplines of mountain biking: all-mountain, enduro, downhill, dirt jumping and freeride.

Based along the southern end Wasatch Front in the Utah Valley area, the group consists of three separate age/skill levels – MegaShredders, MegaSenders, and the competition team.

Three young mountain bikers near Virgin, Utah.
Luke Mallen, Alex Mallen, and Finley Kirschenmann scope a landing at the old Red Bull Rampage site near Virgin, Utah. Photo by JB Liautard.

By teaching riders the proper techniques for body positioning, braking, and cornering, members of the Outlaw team build a foundation of skills upon which advanced techniques can be applied. Riders on the team who can execute the basics with proficiency are encouraged to increase their skill sets and move on to racing where the trails become technical due to features such as the grade of slope, table and gap jumps, ladders and bridges, rock gardens, and switchback turns.

Dillon Flinders hucks a double on A Line in the Whistler Bike Park
Outlaw's Dillon Flinders tilts the Whistler Bike Park sideways as he streaks down A Line.
Dillon Flinders freeriding in Virgin, Utah
Southern Utah is a frequent destination for this pack of young mountain bikers. Photo by Steven Lloyd.

One thing that makes Outlaw Bike Team notable is the fact that the coaches are experienced, competitive mountain bikers themselves. This provides them with the perspective for guiding the kids. However, sometimes the coaches’ own competitions take a backseat. Tyson says, “With so many kids it’s really hard for me to race. I’m too competitive. So if I can’t give it everything – it’s not worth it for me. It’s tough for me to get my training in with all the kids.”

Outlaw Bike Team logo
Instagram icon
Mountain biker Finley Kirchenmann takes flight above the Wasatch Front
Outlaw team rider Finley Kirchenmann launches across a gap near Provo, Utah. Photo by Tyson Henrie.

The Outlaw Bike Team’s Three Different Levels Of Mountain Biking

The Outlaw Bike Team consists of three different levels of riders. The first of them, the MegaShredders, consists of kids aged 7 and up. Kids on this level don’t need to have a full suspension bike, but in order to race, they do need to have a USA Cycling License and a full complement of gear. According to Tyson, “We have multiple, various levels of the team. So for the younger, less experienced kids, it’s not a requirement to compete. If they want to, it’s available.”

The next level up, MegaSenders, is the intermediate group. This team has built upon the mountain biking fundamentals needed in order to move up a level and begin competing. Members of this team (which is also for kids age seven on up) need to adhere to the same regulations and licensing requirements as the MegaShredders. Fall training at this level is available for riders who want to continue to enhance their skills.

As the kids move up through the team levels, the main goal is safety and confidence. Tyson tells us, “Just focusing on those basics have helped them a lot. I’ve noticed the kids are much more comfortable in the air – and they get that part. But for them to ride a technical trail, fast, is a whole different story. That just goes back to the basics of getting them solid in the fundamentals so they can feel comfortable riding anything. My job is to hold them back slightly without letting them know that I’m holding them back so they can slow it down a little bit and be perfect, and then they can add the speed later on.”

Finally, there’s the competition team. This is the team’s highest level. It’s for kids aged nine and up, all of whom must have graduated from MegaShredders and show that they have advanced mountain biking skills. Members of this team need to have a full suspension bike and train often.

Although actual mountain bike training for the competition team lasts from March to November, many of the kids train year round. Outlaw has created an additional training program for them that consists of weight lifting and running. In addition to being a skilled coach in mountain biking and skiing, Tyson also has years of experience with coaching kids in the gym. “The kids can join our training program. They pretty much go year round. We create better athletes that way.”

Alex Mallen rides near Virgin, Utah
Alex Mallen steps up near Virgin, Utah. Photo by Liz Mallen.
Dillon Flinders - Virgin, Utah
Utah has been home to the Red Bull Rampage freeride event since its inception. Here is Dillon Flinders getting sky-high at the original venue. Photo by Tyson Henrie.
Sea Otter

The Outlaw Bike Team At The 2018 Sea Otter Classic

You can read coach Henrie’s blog article about his team’s adventures at the 2018 Sea Otter Classic here. All the riders who traveled from Utah and raced earned valuable experience at one of the country’s largest mountain biking events.

Developing Friendships Through Teamwork

One of the most important parts of coaching the Outlaw Bike Team’s competition level is the teamwork that develops between the kids. “A lot of them will work really hard to help out their teammates and bring them along. It’s been really cool to see. They have upped their game because they love the sport so much and they enjoy being a part of it. But they’ve also learned that they can do what they previously didn’t think they could do,” said Tyson.

Parent Involvement

Many of the parents of Outlaw Bike Team’s riders are very involved in the sport. Some of them are experienced mountain bikers themselves. “The parents are a huge part of the team. Biking is a great opportunity for the parents to be involved. A lot of times the dads ride with us. Unless I ask them not to! They are extremely supportive. For something like this, with how young the kids are, it’s almost mandatory that they are around or close by. Just in case something happens – you know, if the bike breaks, the kid gets hurt, or something happens – the parents are there to support that,” stated the coach.

Outlaw rider Jesse Hoopes at Colorado's Trestle Bike Park
Outlaw rider Jesse Hoopes at Colorado's Trestle Bike Park

The Best Way To “Follow” These Kids Is On Instagram

Let’s be realistic – these kids are fast. The best and safest way to “keep up” is to follow them through their social media accounts.  

River Bell | @riverbellbmx
Sam Dean | @samdean_mtb
Dillon Flinders | @dillonflinders
Carter Jefferies | @cartermtb1
Finley Kirschenmann | @finleymtb
Weston and Wyatt Lloyd | @lloydboys

Fred LaRiviere | @fred_romeo
Luke and Alex Mallen | @thosemallentwins
Ethan Maxwell | 
Dax Wells | @wellsdax
Oliver Wiley | @oliverthewiley

A mountain biker irons out something sketchy in the Provo foothills
Matt Gallard irons out something sketchy in the Provo foothills. Photo by Tyson Henrie.

Team Sponsorships

Sponsors are what keep the Outlaw Bike Team running. Some of them include Commencal Bikes, Level 9 Sports, 2nd Tracks, Demon United, Leatt neck braces, Fox Suspension, Kenda, and 6D Helmets. Of them, Commencal Bikes is the main sponsor. Coach Tyson tells us, “Recently, five of our athletes – Dylan Flinders, Fred LaRiviere, Finley Kirschenmann, along with Luke and Alex Mallen, were named to Commencal’s Junior Cartel program. That means they get a lot of support from Commencal, and then they gotta show up at races and perform as well. And on top of that, they support the rest of the team with bike maintenance at the big events we go to.”

Future Plans

In the immediate future, all three of Outlaw Bike Team’s levels will be competing in the sport. There are some big plans in place for the Competition team. “We’re hoping to get Dillon [Flinders] to World Junior Champs. Some kids are going to the Pro GRTs and we’re going to Whistler For 3 weeks. Lots of good plans. That’s our ultimate goal – to provide whatever level of coaching and riding is needed for kids in Utah. If they want to go to the World Cup, then hopefully we can provide that base for them to get there,” said Tyson.