BILLINGS – It’s a hillclimb weekend outside of Columbus and racing is already underway.

The Nitro Nationals Hillclimb is Friday and Saturday with a lucrative purse up for grabs. Between $25,000 – $30,000 is what’s said to be at stake in this 12th year.

But casual fans don’t always consider the money racers put into their motorbikes, or the commitment it takes to cash in.

“My brothers and I, we all race,” said Billings rider Tyler Cardwell. “I have two older brothers, and it’s just a lot of stress on my dad out here working on our bikes, helping us, making sure we have everything to do to compete at this level. It’s definitely not easy, it’s definitely tough, but we make it happen.”

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Rider Jay Sallstrom doubled down on that thought

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s good,” he said. “It’s fun, everyone enjoys it you know, but bikes can be pretty expensive. My bike, to build it from the ground up, it’s a total custom deal, it’s probably about 20 grand to make it.”

Friday’s competitors raced in a light evening rain. There are scheduled to be fireworks after Saturday night’s action. Tickets are $20.