Memorial Day weekend is quickly approaching. With The John Penton being the last race before Memorial Day (May 30th) a lot of riders will be paying tribute to family members and friends that have died in service to our country, defending our freedoms. Kyle Shouse is one of those riders. But Kyle doesn’t stop there. Like many GNCC racers, Kyle has many irons in the fire. From involving himself with Non-Profit Charities, paying tribute and raising money for a Veteran’s family, to being a business owner and… even finding time to create amazing GNCC Hoosier bomber jackets.
Let’s go back to the beginning. When did you start riding? What was your first bike or ATV? When did you eventually start racing GNCC?
I first started riding when I was 11 years old. Never raced in anything competitive, and then my son approached me one day and told me he wanted to race. So, we went all in and got him a YFZ50 & a Can-Am 90x. He then wanted me to race with him, so I made the big investment and went all in with my YFZ450R. My first GNCC race was Ironman 2021. Had a 1 lap finish after I busted a tie rod.
You’re racing the 35+ C Class this season. How is the season going?
I had a late start to the season due to being extremely busy with work and started Round five at Camp Coker. At the start line the quad was dead for about 8 minutes. We ended up working on it at the side of the start line and got it fired up finally, but I was very far behind at that point.
Third place at the Hoosier, a solid finish! Is this an indication of what we can expect to see moving forward?
The Hoosier was absolutely gnarly. I’ve never been stuck so many times in a two-hour period of my life. I was even stuck to the point where I had a side by side pull myself and six other guys out of the mud pit. After the first lap I just called it “Quicksand Blvd.” My quad was overheating for 50% of the race, which seems like it was just running it at higher RPM’s for an extended period of time. I’ve been feeling really good each race I go to. Building more confidence, riding more during the week, and working on my weaknesses. My goal is to be at the podium at every race for the end of the year.
You’re involved in some pretty awesome things off the track. Talk about the “Reach Out Worldwide” non-profit you work with down south.
ROWW is an organization I hold very dear to my heart. It’s one of the few places where you can directly make an impact in other people’s lives. For people that do not know, ROWW is a non-for-profit organization that responds domestically and internationally to natural disasters. ROWW was founded by Paul Walker (the Actor) and is now run by Cody & Felicia Walker (Paul’s brother). When we have a natural disaster, we look into how we would be able to help, and what impact we could make. If we feel that this would be good to respond to, we will create a deployment for that and respond. We typically responded within 24 hours of a natural disaster and work in very small teams, so we can be mobile and quick with the work we need to carry out. We are also targeting small communities that do not have the resources as Chicago or New York would.
What is the latest area/projects you’ve been working on with Reach Out Worldwide?
So currently we are filming a television series with the Weather Channel. We are remodeling/rebuilding homes for families that we have already had contact with/helped from a natural disaster within the last six months to one year. The home that I was just at was in Dawson Springs, Kentucky. An EF-⅘ went for over 100 miles and it destroyed everything it touched. 75% of Dawson Springs was destroyed, and the homes literally exploded. The ground zero area looks like a bomb went off. Everything to the north of the home that we work on for filming is gone, and everything to the south is still there.
How can people get involved to help? Either financially or physical helping?
There are so many ways to get involved, and I would encourage our racing community to do so. You can go to ROWW.org and click the donate button to contribute what you are able to. It all goes directly to help support ROWW. Lowes is the biggest contributor to ROWW. Physically if you want to volunteer, you can go to the site and click the volunteer button and sign up. We currently have 1,800 volunteers across the country. That ranges from firefighters/paramedics, veterans, heavy equipment operators, arborists, and even volunteers that have no experience and want to do their part.
It’s no secret GNCC takes our Veterans and those currently serving in the Military Service, seriously. We added the Warrior class a few years back, and we’ve got the Moto Hero Award we give out every race to our Veterans, Military Servicemen and Servicewomen, and our First Responders. With Memorial Day coming up at the end of May, I know a lot of riders will be honoring their family members and friends who have died serving our country and defending our freedoms this weekend at the Penton. You’re doing something pretty cool in that respect. Tell us about your tribute this weekend?
Every racing season, I want to pay respects to a local veteran, close to where I am from, that has died while defending our country. This year I am riding for Sean Maher from Gurnee, Illinois. He served as a USMC from 2003-2005. He was supposed to come home 2 days before he was killed. He was always the Gunner in the Humvee, but he requested that he drove that night since it was one of the guys birthday and wanted to allow him to sleep. They were attacked just outside Fallujah, and Sean was killed instantly. The Humvee veered off the road and completely tipped over. The other three marines were all shot, but Sean was the only one to die. I have Sean’s memorial in the front wheel well of my quad, and a jersey that was specifically made for the race at John Penton. After the race is over, the jersey is being given to the family. Nielsen Enterprises and I (my local powersports dealer) are also donating money to the family and letting them pick what veteran group that would like to donate money to in Sean’s’ name.
Alright, so how on earth do you find time to do all these charitable things while balancing racing and a day job?
My wife complains to me about this all the time. I currently own my own solar company and have sales reps that I manage. I work very closely with ROWW and try to get as much time in with riding as possible. On top of that, I also have four children, so it makes things interesting. We are in a good position in our lives, and I want my children to realize that life is very precious and that you should always be doing something to make someone else’s life better.
A selfish plug, you helped create that majestic Hoosier GNCC Bomber jacket I wore at the last race. First of all, THANK YOU! Second, any chance you can make another one for Ironman? I’ll wear the pink to support Breast Cancer Awareness. You’ve inspired me, I may just have to auction that thing off on Sunday at the Pro Podium to raise a little money for The Faith Alliance, held at the Montgomery County Community Foundation. Hmm, got the wheels turning in my head now!
It’s funny you mention that cause we are already in the process of making that jacket! It will be a light toned pink bomber, with the Ironman logo on the back. I love the idea of auctioning it off. We can make it with or without your name, whatever you think is best.
Love this idea! Last question, who are the sponsors and people you’d like to thank?
Yamaha bLUcRU has been great and supportive. Fly racing always has me looking Fly. Huge thanks to Nielsen Enterprises (local dealer). I am very close to Jeff Nielsen (owner) and have become very close to him. He is very supportive for my racing and my family wanting to race as well. He is involved with ROWW and we actually made a deal with Polaris where Nielsen’s and Polaris are donating a Polaris P2300iE for every episode that ROWW has with the Weather Channel. ROWW is very supportive of my racing career as well. They are not able to support me financially, but Paul and Cody are very involved in the racing community and race themselves.