A Diamond In The Rough
By Charelle Evelyn on June 11 2013
With the roar of a bike between her legs, waiting for the gate to drop at the start of a race was the ultimate adrenaline rush for Jenna Cotter.
For almost three years the Quesnel native was consumed by competitive motocross. She changed her eating habits, worked out six days per week and trained all year round to make sure she didn’t place any lower than top three. That drive to push herself further and further ultimately led to putting Cotter on the sidelines, after crashing ripped ligaments off her knee, compressed disks in her back and neck and dislocated her wrists.
Cotter calls the period she spent recuperating and unable to ride, “one of the most depressing times of my life.” Her time on the sidelines wasn’t without its merits, though. At 22, she was approached to host on-camera interviews for a cross-country racing documentary. “It was pretty nerve wracking,” she recalled, but a challenge she was willing to dive into. And even though she has pulled away from competing, the sport never left her blood and Cotter hasn’t left the track. Her latest passion is her own clothing line, Diamonds and Dirt, which she started in November 2010 and sells at the track.
A true representation of her style, the line mixes the grimy aesthetic of riding dirt bikes and sleds with Cotter’s feminine side, calling back to the days of her youth when she would add her personal touches to the clothes she shared with her brother. While working out at camp, Cotter would use her downtime to doodle on her gloves, vests and hard hats. It caught on, and soon others were asking to put her stamp on their gear.
“I started looking into screen printing and seeing what it would take to make clothes,” she said, eventually selling her truck to afford a printer. “I wanted to make more of a go doing something I enjoyed.”
And now, after living all over the province and holding down a variety of jobs – from firefighting to painting, to mining, to trophy girl to care aide – Cotter has found a new adrenaline rush.
“Seeing someone wear my stuff, that’s as much of a thrill as racing for me,” she said.