Project “I Will Walk Again”
This is Wes Bandemers story. On June 10th 2006, his life would change forever.
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
― Frank Herbert, Dune
About Wes Bandemer
I was born in San Diego California. At age two my family and I moved to Wyoming where my cousins lived. They had been racing and riding dirt bikes for as long as I can remember. My love for motocross started after my uncle and cousins took me out riding in the Badlands of Northern Wyoming. I was on an old white Z50 riding around enjoying every moment of it not knowing motocross would one day be the most important thing in my life. Many years went by with the occasional ride day, watching my cousin and uncle race, watching races on TV and building tracks in the dirt for our toy bikes.
My uncle and cousins quit racing and the motocross life dwindled as us kids just moved to the next thing that caught our attention. When I was 10 my family moved to the southern Louisiana town of Morgan City. I remember being bored one day and thinking about those days going out riding and it made me want to ride again. The next day I asked my parents if I could get a dirt bike. They said the common parent reply, “We’ll see”. My birthday or Christmas must have been coming up because not long after asking for a dirt bike, I got one! It was an old 95′ Honda XR100R that had been used as a pit bike by a racing family. Not long after that the whole family had bikes and we were going riding every other weekend or so. We would go to motocross tracks, trails, and sometimes just to a friend’s house near a levee with some nice sized jumps. I loved jumping more than anything. I knew some kids at school who raced and I decided that I wanted to get into racing.
I was getting bigger and that XR100R wasn’t the best bike for a motocross track. I ended up moving up to a 03’ CR85 Expert. That bike was crazy fast and was a huge difference from the 95’ XR100R. I adapted fast and felt that I was ready to race. My dad and I got up early one Sunday and started getting ready when it started pouring down rain. I called the track and the race had been canceled due to rain. Something about my first ever race being canceled did something weird to me. I was in Junior high school and the football season was about to get started. Dirt bikes took a backseat to football and before I knew it I was finishing up my freshmen year in high school with zero races under my belt. Before freshmen year was over my mom told me we were going to Wyoming over the summer to visit our family. We took all of our bikes with us. My brother and I rode with our cousins every chance we got on the trip. We went from different towns riding with different cousins.
One of our cousins had really gotten into racing motocross. He was in a championship series and invited us to a race just outside of the town we were staying at. After watching him race that day I realized how much I was missing out on. At the end of the day my Uncle asked me if I wanted to race the next day on my cousins KX125. I said I would just ride my 85 and didn’t want my first race to be on an unfamiliar bike. It’s funny though because I was 15 standing at 5’11” weighing 185lbs and my big CR85R had turned into my little CR85R. I felt awkward in the start gate lining up to kids who had to have blocks under their feet to hold their bike up, while I’m sitting there with my knees bent almost at 90 degrees. I ended up 4th in the 1st moto and 2nd in the 2nd moto for a 3rd overall out of a full gate in both motos.
That would be my last race for a whole year. When we got back to Louisiana I was pumped up to start racing, but definitely needed a bigger bike. My dad’s friend ended up having a CR250R for sale. My first race day on the 250 I entered the 250 C class and the 250 open class. I ended up getting 1st in the 250 C class and 3rd in the 250 open class. People from the race told me I was a natural and If I applied myself I could be pro in 2 years. So that was my goal and I started racing local races every weekend that I could.
One day I got an invite in the mail to the top dog shootout race. I had raced the top dog shootout the year before and finished 8th in the final race so I definitely wanted to do it again. The top dog shootout was a 3 moto of 5 laps each per class format. The top 3 from every class were put into an 8 lap race winner take all. In order to train harder and get as much time on the bike every race day I always entered 2 classes and this meant 38 laps for me that day not including practice. In the 2nd moto of the 250 c class I wasn’t doing to great and decided to hold the gas a little longer on the right sweeping turn before the finish line jump which put me at the far left of the jump face. That was the side where everyone who didn’t jump it, rolled it. This caused there to be no lip and when I jumped I was thrown in the air wrong. The front of my bike dropped right off the top of the jump. While I was in the air I was able to level out the bike, but when I landed I was thrown from the bike and landed on my face. My body bent over my neck backwards shattering the C4 vertebra. That was June 10th 2006.
Prior to the accident, I tried to be the best athlete I could be and live as actively as possible. Now I’m doing whatever I can to regain some movement and hopefully some day, my independence! I do use marijuana for pain and for many reasons, I’m very strict on myself cause I have to be healthy in order for my body to recover and not damage any of the stem-cells I got in India. I don’t drink alcohol, I work out every day and I’ve been vegan for the past 2 years. I take one prescription pill a day from being paralyzed for 8 years. Doctors are pretty shocked by that, this only happens in raw cases and I am one. During my last trip to India I found an article about how cannabis and it healing the brain after an injury http://www.theweedblog.com/
Hey Wes, everyone at StonerDays believes in you. We Know You Can DO THIS! Keep your eyes to the sky, never doubt yourself.
If you would like to help please follow the link: http://www.wes4one7.com/