At the ripe age of 9 years old, Gray Leadbetter is no stranger to going big. Whether it’s two wheels or four, this blonde haired North Carolina native lives her life wide open, and she’s definitely not afraid to hang it out there. Our Lil Maiden Who Rides is already jumping over cars on her dirt bike, banging bars with the boys on the track, and handling her dad’s Land Cruiser like a pro.
We caught up with Gray and her dad Steve over the weekend to find out more about this little dare devil and we were shocked by Gray’s story.
“Honest to God, Gray came by all of this honestly,” Said Steve. “I never did any of this stuff. Never raced, nothing. And her biggest handicap is me because I have no knowledge base as far as what the heck to do to help her. All of this basically got started because she wanted a Barbie Doll 4-wheeler when she was 2 years old and I refused to get one because we have a gravel driveway. So instead of that, I bought her an electric 4-wheeler that had suspension and rubber tires. It had a little switch so that it would go either 0-6 MPH or 0-18 MPH, and I just had it set on the slowest setting since she was only 2 years old. She wore that thing out! She’d go wide open and roll it over on top of herself and there was a point where I was like wow this is really dangerous.”
“Then one day her sister broke to charging port on it, so I decided to just go buy a real 4-wheeler. I went up to the local motorsports dealership not thinking anything of it and explained that I wanted to buy a 4-wheeler for my 2-year-old daughter. All fricken hell broke loose! They wanted my name and told me they were going to report me to Child Protective Services, and I was like dude, calm down, what is going on?! Well apparently in North Carolina they can’t sell 4-wheelers until the intended rider is 9 years old. Finally I got them to calm down and explained to them my situation and they told me that my only option was to buy her a dirt bike. So I went home and told Gray that she couldn’t have a 4-wheeler and she cried and cried. But then I told her what she could have is a dirt bike with training wheels but only if she got potty trained. So in 2 days she was potty trained! We got her a dirt bike for her 3rd Birthday and now here we are today.”
After getting Gray’s entire back-story from her dad, Steve handed over the phone to Gray and we asked her a few questions of our own.
Maidens: When did you start riding?
Gray: I started riding 4-wheelers when I was 2 and dirt bikes when I was 3. Then I started racing dirt bikes when I was 4
Maidens: What kind of dirt bike do you ride now?
Gray: I have a KTM 65
Maidens: What’s the coolest race you have done so far?
Gray: I got to race the KTM Junior Supercross Challenge 2 years ago and that was awesome!
Maidens: Wow! So you got to ride on the same Supercross track as the pros! What was your favorite part of the track?
Gray: Probably the whoops. They were really deep, but I liked them the best!
Maidens: So at 9 years old you are already jumping over cars! Doesn’t that scare you?
Gray: Nope. I’m just having fun!
Maidens: What do your classmates think about you riding dirt bikes and racing?
Gray: Umm they don’t really say anything. They know that I ride, but they don’t say anything about it.
Maidens: Have you ever had a bad crash?
Gray: Well I broke my arm at Muddy Creek a few years ago. The gate didn’t drop all of the way so I just gave it all of the gas and didn’t think about the gate or the ruts or anything and I ended up running into the wall and breaking my arm.
Maidens: Do you usually race against the boys or the girls?
Gray: The boys. I really don’t have a choice because there aren’t any girl classes, but I like it.
Maidens: Have you ever thought about doing any freestyle tricks?
Gray: Umm not really, but maybe in the future.
Maidens: Who’s your favorite Metal Mulisha rider?
Gray: Vicki Golden! I love the whips that she does. She is awesome!
Maidens: What else to do you like to do besides race dirt bikes?
Gray: I like riding go-karts!
Maidens: How did you do you get into riding karts?
Gray: My dad found an indoor kart track last summer because it was so rainy and wet that I really couldn’t ride my dirt bike. So we went there and it was really fun! Then I started beating everyone there so we just decided to make it a thing and do it all of the time.
Maidens: Do you just ride karts for fun, or do you race them too?
Gray: I race them! I actually have a race tomorrow.
Maidens: Are you racing in a kart series this summer?
Gray: Yeah I’m racing in the Micro Max class, which is for 7 to 11 year olds. I missed the first race in the series because I didn’t get enough practice in, but I’m racing the rest of them.
Maidens: Are there any other girls in your class?
Gray: Yeah there are two other girls. They are faster than me right now because they have been racing longer than I have, but I’ve been working on my speed and I’m getting faster and faster.
Maidens: What do you like better, dirt bikes or go-karts?
Gray: I like both, but I like dirt bikes better because I’ve been racing them longer.
Maidens: What do you like best about being a Lil Maiden?
Gray: I like the clothes! I love how they all have the symbol of Metal Mulisha because that’s my favorite part. I really like the skull!
Maidens: Well good luck at your race tomorrow! Are you going to kick some butt?!
Gray: (Laughs) I hope so!
We have a feeling that this is only the beginning for Gray Leadbetter! Be sure to check back to our website for more updates and follow Gray on Instagram @grayleadbetter.