It’s been said parenthood requires love, not DNA.
That sentiment could not be more true for Chad and Kelly Leidigh of Robins.
The couple have been together nearly two decades and have built a family focused on their love for each other and their love of motocross.
Chad Leidigh is a 1995 graduate of Linn-Mar and started racing when he was 12. By the time he was in his 20s, he was traveling the world as a professional rider.
“I worked hard and rode a lot,” Leidigh said. “I also had a lot of people teach me how to set up a bike to go fast.”
That helps in the racing world and now the 44-year-old father of three is helping his kids go fast.
Twin sons Kayden and Braxton are 11 and little brother Cameron is 5.
The trio are also adopted.
“I forget that they’re adopted most of the time,” Leidigh said with a laugh.
Kayden and Braxton joined Chad and Kelly when they were just over a year old and Cameron’s adoption was finalized about three years ago.
After a few attempts at natural childbirth, the Leidighs considered other options.
“I was at a point in my life where I wanted to slow down on racing,” Chad Leidigh said. “When I received the call about the boys, it was super happy and lots of joy but also scary. I’ve done a lot of cool things in my life, but getting that call was like, ‘Oh man!’ and now you get twins. We had a room set up and we went out and bought another crib. It was chaotic for the first six or so months. We traveled in our motor home to races, which helped get naps in. It was really cool looking back now.”
As cool as it was and as much as motocross has given Leidigh through the years, he knew a new path was guiding him home.
“Racing has provided me with a lot of great things over the years, but I was ready for that time to end,” Chad Leidigh said.
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Chad and Kelly now raise their trio of mini athletes. Braxton golfs while the other two race in a community they are comfortable calling home.
“I’ve lived in big cities and I didn’t enjoy it as much as I love Cedar Rapids,” Chad Leidigh said. “It’s a safe place with good schools and it’s where I want my kids to grow up.”
Along with a loving family to provide for them, the boys also are receiving lessons through sports.
“It helps with school or whatever is going on,” said Kayden, the elder racing brother. “I just shut my brain off and focus. It’s also helping me learn not to get mad when I fall off my bike.”
Similar to the way Chad and Kelly felt butterflies in their bellies a decade ago, Kayden is learning to channel those emotions on the track.
“When I’m on the line I get butterflies in my stomach, then I think about winning and I’m fine,” he said.
Kayden and Cameron love making new friends at the track, something that has been happening at Hawkeye Downs for 35 years thanks to the Cedar Valley Club Riders. The 2020 season starts Saturday night.
“We hold anywhere from four to eight events each year with six on the schedule for this season,” Justin Neff, president of the CVCR said. “We will score all six races with individual night winners and a season champ in each class.”
Kayden races in two classes, 65cc senior and 85cc junior, while Cameron runs with the 50cc shift-shaft class.
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“The kids class is fun to watch and the fans get a kick out of it,” Chad Leidigh said. “Again, the friendships are being built at that age.”
There will not be any fans permitted at Hawkeye Downs this weekend with racers limited to six crew members, a move not made in jest.
“We’re asking people to stay at their trailers and vehicles with their crew until their participant are racing to try to limit contact,” Neff said. “We have 18 acres of space. We really need to look out for people’s safety so that our June, July and August races can go on without a hitch.”
The good news for the motocross community is they are not reliant on a massive wave of funds from the turnstiles each week.
“We can continue racing with no spectators,” Neff said. “As a nonprofit, we as a club would find a way to make it work with our members pitching together.”
Gates open at 11 a.m. Saturday with practice starting at 3:30 p.m. and races beginning around 5 p.m.