November 24, 2020

Extreme Dertien: 5 Things You May Not Know About Mike Dertien

Mike DertienTo say that Mike Dertien lives life full speed ahead would be a colossal understatement. It’s easy to see the fire in his eyes, whether he’s working as MaxYield Cooperative’s Fostoria location leader or waiting for the gate to drop at a motocross race.

Here are five things you might not know about this fearless risk taker, who has been honored as a member of MaxYield’s All-Star Team:

  1. Racing is an addiction and therapy for Mike. When Mike was growing up near Platte, SD, he always wanted to race motocross. He got his chance when he was 31—an age when many guys quit the sport. At competitions in Iowa, South Dakota, and Minnesota, Mike often races at four classes a day, including the lights class, open class, age 30+ class, and age 40+ class (which includes four laps and takes about eight minutes to complete). “Next year I could do five classes, because I could do the 50+ class,” said Mike, who will turn 50 soon. While Mike’s wife, Darla, calls racing his addiction, Mike describes it as therapy. “It’s just you and your bike, and you block out everything else,” said Mike, whose intense focus at the starting gate often helps him secure the all-important first-place start.
  2. Like father, like son. Mike’s oldest son, Thomey (who is named after a fellow racer), is a state champion motocross competitor who rode the pro class until two years ago. Between Mike and Thomey, the pair has won more than 400 trophies. Mike’s 11-year-old son, Levi, also races. When the April-through-October racing season ends, the Dertiens head to New Richmond, WI, to the Sandbox, an indoor motocross arena. “When people hear that we race on Saturday and go snowboarding on Sunday, they say we’re one extreme family,” said Mike, who owns a practice bike, a 250-cubic-centimeter (cc) bike, and a 450-cc bike. “My wife always says she doesn’t have a husband and three kids—she has four kids. I’m a very lucky man to have a wife who understands my need for speed and my passion for motocross.”
  3. Risk-taking extends to Mike’s ag career. When Mike and Darla were first married, they purchased a 160-acre farm in South Dakota, rented another 320 acres, farrowed 100 sows, and had 25 cows. Mike later managed a $30 million ranch for a gentleman from Michigan. One weekend seven years ago, when Mike and his family came to the Iowa Great Lakes to visit Mike’s uncle, Mike Dertienan unexpected opportunity to sell the farm in South Dakota arose. The time seemed right to make a change, so Mike closed the deal and purchased a home in Milford. “When I went to work Monday morning back in South Dakota, I told the guys, ‘You aren’t going to believe what I did this weekend!’ I guess that move proves my risk-taker personality.” After finding work at a feed mill in Ruthven, Mike later landed a job with MaxYield in Fostoria, where he has worked for the past six years.
  4. Staying in shape keeps Mike competitive. After surviving first-turn crashes, 25 broken bones, two plates, and 20 screws, Mike said he’s figured out how to stay healthy. “The biggest thing that will keep you safe in motocross is staying in shape,” said Mike, who also served in the National Guard for 11 years. While he enjoys bike riding and walking with his wife, Mike’s non-traditional exercise routine includes sprints to the top of the tower at the Fostoria grain elevator complex six times a day. It takes three minutes and five seconds to go up and down the staircase once, said Mike, who can do six repetitions back to back. “I still feel like I’m 20,” added Mike, who weighs himself daily and strives to eat a healthy diet loaded with fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.
  5. Mike remains focused on the future. Mike looks forward to racing someday with his grandson, Bentley, who is two years old. When Mike is not busy with motocross, he enjoys taking the family for rides in his speed boat at Okoboji and spending time with Levi at Arnolds Park. He also appreciates the chance to pursue his ag career at MaxYield. “Agriculture is what I know, and MaxYield has given me some very good opportunities in the last six years. I really enjoy working with our clients and other MaxYield team members.”

            Editor’s note: Mike and his wife, Darla, have three children, including Thomey, 23; Brooklyn, 20; and Levi, 11. This year’s early harvest allowed Mike to take a day off from work on October 10, so he could spend his 25th wedding anniversary with Darla and give her a new diamond ring.

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