You know a boy is a talented motorcycle rider when at age seven, a six-by-eight foot storage shed needs to be cleaned out by his dad to accommodate hundreds of trophies he has won.
But that's what Anthony Castanenda Sr. and his wife Misty had to do three years ago due to the skillful riding of their son, Anthony Jr. Even with the shed, it's hard to walk through the family home outside North Fork without seeing trophies and plaques crammed on every bookshelf in almost every room in the house.
Anthony, now 10, has more than 200 trophies, cups and plaques including more than 100 first place trophies from motorcross races.
Although he just finished the fourth grade at North Fork Elementary School, Anthony already has eight years experience riding dirt bikes. He has progressed from riding a PW 50cc with training wheels at age two, to winning the Western Region Championship race in the American Motorcross Association Series in May in Las Vegas on his 65cc Kawasaki.
"He grew up watching his dad and friends riding and thought it was the thing to do," Misty said. "He was very much in love with riding from the day he was born."
By the time Anthony was four years old, the training wheels came off his mini motorcycle and he entered his first race just before his fifth birthday. According to his parents, he was hooked on racing after that race.
"All he wanted to do was race that bike," Anthony Sr. said. "Although he has had some tough crashes, he's managed to escape any major injuries."
Anthony Sr., who rode recreationally for 20 years, resigned from a good paying job on a helicopter crew with the U.S. Forest Service, and spent five years travelling to races with his son.
"I realized how good he was getting when we'd show up and races and I'd hear other dads say 'darn, that Castaneda kid is here.'"
"The sport definitely keeps him busy and out of trouble," Misty said. "He races in about 30 events a year."
Anthony races all over the west coast and rides every chance he gets on the motorcross track that takes up half of the families six acre property.
He loves the quarter-mile motorcross tracks with their sharp turns, double jumps and other obstacles and straight-always where Anthony hits a top speeds of 40 m.p.h.
A big smile comes over Anthony's face when anyone mentions the jumps.
"Getting high in the air on the jumps is the best part of racing," Anthony Jr. said.
After his first place finish amongst 50 other 10 and 11-year-old riders at Fresno's Save Mart Center on Feb. 12, he went on to place third in his division at the American Motorcycle Association's Arena National Finals in Las Vegas on May 5 against riders from all over the country.
He also just finished the 2012 Pacific Coast Pro-Am Championship series, finishing the season as the series champion.
He races at Little Oakie Raceway in Madera which is a sanctioned CMA motorcross track where it is not uncommon to see him with a large lead in his races. He has many championships at Little Oakie including the 2011 gold cup series, 2011 summer series, 2011 spring series and the 2010 summer series. The overall champions are based on a six-race series.
He also raced at the Dodge Nationals 2011 at the Hang Town Track in Sacramento and holds two championship titles in the Top Gun AMP/GFI motorcross series in Los Banos and Hollister.
Two brothers, Gabriel, 8, and Danny, 5, are fans of their big brother.
"They don't really care if Anthony wins or loses, but they are at all his races to give him support," said Anthony Sr.
Although Anthony receives support from North Fork businesses including Center State Trucking, Mountain Boy Customs, The Buckhorn Saloon and Restaurant and Smoky's Diner, his parents still spend plenty of money annually in travel expenses, food, lodging and for the upkeep of Anthony's motorcycle.
Anthony is quick to answer when asked what he wants to be when he grows up ... "a professional motorcross rider."