Tyler Hutchinson will take his cycling skills to Mars Hill College in North Carolina. (Submitted photo)
Many young kids in Mississippi grow up playing baseball, football, basketball or golf.
For Tyler Hutchinson, he found his own in niche in fairly unknown sport in the south.
Hutchinson started out in motocross, but quickly turned to cycling.
"My dad has raced dirt bikes and we have always had motorcycles," Hutchinson said. "I started riding motorcycles before I started riding a bike without training wheels."
Hutchinson turned that experience into a cycling scholarship at Mars Hill College in North Carolina.
"I was looking around for schools and there were a lot of schools contacting me," Hutchinson said. "I came across Mars Hill from my coach, A.J. Beach. He was good friends with the Mars Hill coach. Me and (Beach's daughter) went up there to visit for a about a week. We just loved it up there. We went and visited a couple of more schools, but none compared to Mars Hill."
This past summer Hutchinson raced for the Indian Cycle Racing Team out of Jackson. Three years prior to that he was a part of the Absolute Racing Team.
"I didn't really know where it was going last year," Hutchinson said. "I got this break that gave the opportunity."
There came a time when Tyler and his dad decided to make the transition from motocross to cycling.
"A lot of people were getting hurt doing motocross," Hutchinson said. "My dad said 'we have to stop this.' He bought me a cheap road bike so we started doing local group rides at the bicycle shop every Monday night. That boosted up to every night. I got to where I could hang with the fast guys and then I got to where I could beat the fast guys."
Mars Hill won the 2012 national championship so Hutchinson is in a good place to be successful.
Hutchinson played other sports as a kid, but he never developed a liking for them.
"I tried all the ball sports, but I was never any good at it," Hutchinson said. "I was always good on anything with two wheels from my motocross background."
Although cycling may not be a big sport in Mississippi, Hutchinson has seen first hand how big it is in other places.
"I perceive that it's pretty big," Hutchinson said. "Not in Mississippi, but in North Carolina and in northern states, it's a big deal. If you drive around, you see people with bikes on their cars."
Hutchinson will compete in four disciplines. He will compete in mountain, track, cycle cross and road.
He is pursuing a degree in athletic training.
With this opportunity, Hutchinson has traveled over the country and will continue to do so.
"I have been all over the Southeast," Hutchinson said. "I have raced in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia."
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