SHEHEEN: Gratitude For 14 Years Of Supercross

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Ralph Sheheen Mug
Ralph Sheheen

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — I live for Supercross on Saturday night. The bright lights of the stadium, the pyro and fireworks of opening ceremonies. The enthusiastic cheers of the crowd. The amazing feats of daring, bravery, courage, determination and athleticism of the riders. The incredible bar to bar battles through the whoops and the high-flying antics as the riders soar through the night sky at eye level with the fans in the second deck.

Those are some of the reasons why so many of us love Supercross Saturday nights.

For the last 14 years, I’ve been privileged to be the voice of Monster Energy Supercross. It’s a position I held with tremendous pride. My passion for the sport of Supercross is as deep and heartfelt as yours. I love this sport! How can you not? These athletes and the level of competition are amazing!

I was devastated when I found out that NBC would not be bringing me back to work the 2021 Supercross season. No need to go into the details, but I can tell you it had nothing to do with my performance as the play-by-play voice of the sport. It’s just the nature of the television business.

My affiliation with Supercross as a broadcaster began at Tampa Stadium in 1988 on ESPN. Jeff Ward and Mike Kiedrowski were the winners that night. Over the years, I have called Supercross events for ESPN, TNN, CBS, SPEED Channel, FOX, FS1, FS2, NBC and NBCSN.

Without a doubt the most memorable and enjoyable period for me were the years with my SPEED Channel/FOX family. It was an amazing era for Supercross on TV. I’m extremely proud to have been a part of it. Those also were the years the fans, riders and the industry seemed to love the most also. There are a lot of great stories from those days and I’ll save those for another time.

Throughout the last 14 years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with some outstanding individuals in the field of sports broadcasting. Their amazing professionalism and dedication to delivering outstanding television coverage regardless of the elements has been impressive. I’m fortunate to have developed friendships that will extend long past our time together on air. I have tremendous gratitude for all of the men and women who helped make Supercross some of the best motorsports coverage in television.

Technically, I have always been employed by the television network on which the races were airing. However, I have always felt like I was a part of the Feld family. Believe me when I tell you that you have no idea how hard the folks at Feld work to put on an amazing race and experience for the teams and fans. I feel very fortunate to have been welcomed into the amazing world of Feld Entertainment. I have friendships there that will last a lifetime.

I will certainly miss visiting with all of my industry friends and buddies in the pits. Thank you all for granting me access into your haulers and entrusting me with the responsibility of taking care of your industry on television. It has been an honor to tell your stories and help promote this sport and your products in a positive light.

One of the things I will miss the most is the fans. I loved walking through the pit parties and visiting with each and every one and bench racing about favorite riders or races with incredible finishes. I will miss all of the yells, waves and positive energy sent toward the TV booth as it got closer to the gate drop. I greatly appreciate the kindness and support. It has been remarkable and something I will never forget.

My kids, Olivia and Lucas, have literally grown up in and around Supercross and many of you have met them or seen them at the races. They consider many of the Supercross racers their biggest sports heroes. Others involved with Supercross have become family and always will be. Along with my wife, Kimberly, they have always been my number-one supporters. All while being as passionate about Supercross as I am.

The sports television business is crazy. Will I ever get to call another Supercross? Only time will tell. However, I am extremely grateful for the last 14 years as the play-by-play voice of Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship.

I can promise you I haven’t called my last race. I love racing. It is my passion, my business and my life. I hope to see you all at the races again soon!