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Monday, December 19, 2011
Hart honored at 2011 R.A.D. Awards

FMX pioneer Carey Hart received a diamond-studded Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2011 R.A.D. Awards last night.

Freestyle motocross pioneer Carey Hart received a Lifetime Achievement Award and Josh Sheehan won Rookie of the Year honors on Sunday night at the first annual Riders Above Dirt R.A.D. Awards, honoring both the past and future of FMX.

"I think everyone in this room has looked up to this dude at one time in their life, and if not you better recognize and learn," said Jeremy Stenberg, presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award to Hart. At the awards ceremony Stenberg and other riders credited Hart with landing the first backflip on a full-size motocross bike and inventing some of the most iconic tricks in FMX, including his signature Hart Attack and some of the first seat grab tricks.

"Motocross is my life and it's given me everything in my life: my best friends, all my friends up here, my wife," Hart said, accepting the award. He is married to the pop star Pink and, as co-owner of the Hart and Huntington tattoo shop, is the star of the A&E series "Inked." "It's been a great journey. I love being involved in the sport still and I'll always ride."

Sheehan's Rookie of the Year award acknowledged a breakout performance by the Australian rider in 2011: Sheehan won a bronze medal in the Moto X Best Trick competition at X Games 17 with a double backflip, won the Red Bull X-Fighters event in September in front of a hometown crowd in Sydney, Australia, and won a string of four events in a row on the 2011 FIM Freestyle MX World Championships tour.

Mike Mason and his "Stepping Up The Game" Award after the 2011 R.A.D. Awards finished up on Sunday.

Stenberg won the Fan Favorite award, based on votes tallied before the event, and other R.A.D. Awards winners included Nate Adams ("Biggest Steeze"), Robbie Maddison ("Biggest Nuts"), and Mike Mason ("Steppin' Up the Game"). Andre Villa won the dubious achievement "Biggest Getoff" award for the year's gnarliest slam, physical trainer Charles Dao of Icon Sports Alliance won the "Behind the Scenes" award, Dirt Shark won "Sickest Viral Video," and regular contributor Chris Tedesco won the "Money Shot" award for a photo of Robbie Maddison.

The R.A.D. Awards, held at the Pala Casino in Pala, Calif., fill a void left by the now-defunct American Freestyle Motocross Association's AFMXA Awards. Proceeds from the event, and the $1.99 live webcast, went to the Chris Ackerman Foundation, a spinal cord injury awareness and assistance organization. In a night mostly devoted to ribbing and roasts from emcee Jason Ellis, Ackerman -- a Metal Mulisha team rider who is in a wheelchair after suffering a spinal cord injury eight years ago -- provided one of the night's most serious pauses for reflection.

"Take a minute to remember our friends Jeff 'Ox' Kargola and Jim McNeil," said Ackerman. "We miss you guys."

Kargola died in April while participating in the Rip to the Tip ride in Baja, Mexico. McNeil died in November while practicing for an exhibition at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, grim reminders of the level of risk involved in the sport.