The long line of motorcycles and motocross riders that snaked through Polk County on Wednesday night bore witness to the lives Clayton Sain touched. Friends and family all came together to remember a life lost too soon.
Teenager Tryon died Tuesday from injuries sustained in a crash Saturday at Muddy Creek Speedway in Blountville, TN. A regular competitor on area tracks, 16-year-old Sain was training for a race when he injured himself. He was taken to a nearby hospital, but never recovered.
His bike remained in Tennessee until Wednesday, when a group of Sain’s friends traveled to collect it and bring it home, where they gathered to remember a life so well lived.
“Clayton Sain was larger than life,” said Tisha Stott, whose son, Brilee, called Sain her best friend. “When you saw Clayton, you just smiled. Clayton never seemed to be having a bad day. He never seemed to be sad.
“There aren’t enough words to describe Clayton Sain. He was just the best.
The local motocross community is a tight-knit group, bonded by their love for the sport and the hours many spend training together as well as traveling to and from competitions. Sain was one of many Polk County teenagers who had run side by side for years, and many of those young men were part of that solemn procession on Wednesday that finally ended in Sain’s backyard.
“Insane Sain, they all called it,” Stott said. “He was so close to all of them. He just had a big heart and a great love for life.
And this passion touched all those who knew him.
“Clayton was always smiling,” said Michaelbrooke Reid, a close friend. “He was like a brother to our group of friends. His laughter was contagious.
“Anyone who met him fell in love instantly.”
Frankie Mullinax met Sain through his work at Creative Motorsports in Forest City. Sain frequented the store weekly, Mullinax said, and the company often planned to attend events where Sain competed.
“Clayton Sain was a special kid,” Mullinax said. “Great Christian values, polite, considerate and always full of life. The kid had an infectious smile and an attitude that would brighten anyone’s day.
“Clayton Sain holds a special place in my heart. “He was just a good boy.”
“He loved the Lord. He was a big believer in God,” Stott said. “Even on Clayton’s notepad on his last run it said ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’.”
As a competitor, Sain found success. Earlier this month he won the King of the Classic award at the Mad Skills Motocross Vurb Classic, the honor given to the rider who wins the most motos during the three-day event. A number of top riders from across the country traveled to Simpsonville, SC to compete in the Classic, but Sain turned out to be the best of them all.
“The talent was incredibly deep, as deep as it gets,” Vurbmoto’s Jeff Simpson said in a post-event vlog. “All these big names, kids out of nowhere, beat our mercenary. . . what more do you say?”
“He could ride a dirt bike like no other,” Stott said. “When he was on his bike, he was something fierce. He gave it everything he had. He gave life everything he had.
Sain is survived by his parents, Jason and Carla, and five siblings, Madolyn, Olivia, Josiah, Phoebe and Andrew.
“He was just an amazing kid, and it’s a huge loss,” Stott said. “It’s a huge hole he leaves behind.”
By Andy Rhinehart