Vicki Golden, a professional freestyle motocross rider, is one of those people who seems destined for their careers. Born and raised in El Cajon, a small town just east of San Diego, she comes from a family of moto racers. Growing up around both her father and brother ripping on bikes, she took an interest in the sport and started riding at seven years old. Through her own commitment to her passion, the support of her family, and sheer talent and skill, she turned pro at just 17-years-old and had been breaking barriers for women in motocross and action sports in the years since.

Even before turning pro, it was clear Vicki was going to carve a space for herself in the moto world. Upon realizing her potential, her parents gifted her a new bike and got her private lessons with a trainer. When she began racing, there weren’t many girls or women competing. Often, she had to race among boys because there weren’t enough girls to create a separate class. But the lack of fellow female riders didn’t deter her from pursuing the sport she loved.

Vicki claimed a lot of “firsts” in her career — first woman to break top 10 in AMA Arena Cross Lites Main, first woman in Monster Energy AMA Supercross to qualify for the Fast 40, first woman to compete in a freestyle Moto X competition (which earned her a bronze medal). But her accolades aren’t all just for being the first to do something — they’re also for being the best. Throughout her career, she’s won the Loretta Lynn’s AMA Women’s Amateur National Champion title and three consecutive gold medals in Women’s Moto X Racing at the X Games, she was named TransWorld Motocross Magazine’s Female Motocross Rookie of the Year, and she was nominated for an ESPY Award for Best Female Action Sports Athlete.

Her talent and skill on a bike aren’t all that make Vicki noteworthy, though. She’s faced some setbacks — including a 2018 injury during a freestyle accident that nearly ended in the amputation of her lower leg. But she’s the kind of person who powers through the challenges and comes out on the other side even tougher than before. And the support of her family has also been a throughline in her career. When her dad was left almost entirely paralyzed after an ATV accident, her family never wavered in their encouragement for her to continue pursuing her passion for riding.