It's all in the family.
For the Keylons of Brooksville — Kenny, Renee, Kyle and Kory — motocross is their way of life. It's been that way for three generations.
"It's in my blood," said Kyle, 19, the older son. "I don't even remember when I started racing. I was maybe 4 or 5, but my first race that I remember was when I was 7 or 8. It's not a lifestyle that everyone gets into.
"Honestly, though, it was never question of whether I was going to do it or not."
Kyle and his 15-year-old brother, Kory, followed after their father, Kenny, who followed after his late father, Kenneth. Even the Keylon family matriarch, Renee, rode when she met Kenny when she was 4. Her father and Kenneth, who was a multitime riding champ, rode together.
With that match made in heaven, it was inevitable that she became a motocross mom.
"Even when we were dating, we went to races," Renee said of herself and Kenny, her husband of 23 years. "I wondered how hard it would be not to have it in my life. We love it. I love it. If I'm not (at races for the boys), it's just not right."
For years, Kyle raced at Dade City Motocross in the annual Championship Series, but he turned professional last year and travels across the country to race. Kory, however, rides in other amateur races and 21 weekends of the year at DC Motocross, where it's common to see families park an RV, light up a grill and prepare for a day of races.
The owner of DC Motocross, Randy Yoho, whose son, Kenny, also followed in his motocross footsteps, says racing has always run in the family.
"Once you get hooked, you're hooked on motocross," Yoho said. "I think, as a kid, what more can you want than to get a motorcycle and then work on it with Dad? It's always nice to see your kids follow after you, and Kenny and Kyle and Kory are no different."
The family says Kenny Keylon never pushed too hard for Kyle and Kory to ride. Kyle says there was a time he wanted a break from motocross because of his dad and the competitions, but it wasn't long before he was back kicking mud. Kenny had no doubts it would be a family affair.
"Everyone has something to do, so you're like a team," said Kenny, who rode for Honda when he was younger. "Someone fixes a suit, another works on a bike, another keeps the motor home clean or makes food. Dad works the bikes, mom worries about the signups. There's always something for someone to do.
"I think I always knew we'd be that (motocross) family because that's what (Renee and I) were raised in. We knew nothing else."
Now that Kyle is professional, the Keylons — who own a commercial lighting business — split up more often than not. Kenny goes with Kyle to his races around the country, and Renee stays local with Kory.
Though motocross is now sending them to different areas of the country, Kyle realizes it kept them a tight-knit family. One that rides together at some point, no matter what.
"The family sticks together," Kyle said.
"The first thing I do when I wake up is go practice and work on the bike. I always want to ride, and so does the family. I know when I don't ride for a week, I get depressed and I have to ride. It's my life — our lives."
Kenny can't argue with that. His life has been spent at a track, in a pit with either his dad or his wife and sons. He calls it unique, watching the whole family work together, whether just cleaning goggles or loading the gate for a start.
He takes pride in watching his boys on the track. So does Renee.
"I will always go to races for my boys," Renee said.
"Motocross is our lives. My entire life revolves around it. It's pretty much all we've done every weekend since they were old enough.
"I love it, it's kept our family close, and I wouldn't have it any other way."
Community Sports Editor Mike Camunas can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 544-1771.