Kiana is the world’s first female adaptive motocross racer, professional snowboarder, and an Evolution Dog Wash sponsored athlete.
Kiana Clay has been racing dirt bikes since she was just seven years old. “I’ve had a need for speed as long as I can remember,” she says. “My dad noticed immediately and brought me home a dirt bike one day…when I first rolled that throttle, I was instantly hooked.”
In 2006, while competing in a motocross race in Texas, Kiana’s life changed in an instant. She crashed her bike and another rider landed on her neck, instantly paralyzing her right arm. “It’s hard to put into words,” she says. “It was so sudden. To go from a fully abled healthy kid to a disabled one in less than a second is just insane.”
Kiana suffered a brachial plexus injury to her right side, and while she was able to gain back some bicep muscle, further injury in a car accident just a few months later left her without any chance of ever regaining movement or feeling. Kiana and her dad were hit by a drunk driver, flipping his truck multiple times.
“I quickly overcame it because I was forced to,” she says. “Having one hand is very challenging. I just quickly developed a tough mentality and learned that you can’t think about the ‘what ifs’ and just have to look at the facts of ‘what is.’ From there, you take emotion out, and come to steps that lead to a resolution for whatever you are facing.”
Today, 25-year-old Kiana is an adaptive athlete, competing in both snowboarding and motocross. While racing her dirt bike has always been her passion, snowboarding is something Kiana had dabbled in since she was just four years old. Her parents were avid snowboarders and when they saw a Burton toddler kit at the snow shop, they knew it was for her. “They suited me up, took me to the mountain and I actually enjoyed it, which my parents didn’t expect,” she says.
In 2018, Kiana started competing in snowboarding and went pro in 2020, after signing with Burton as their first adaptive athlete. She’s been working with the company to develop the StepOn bindings and other modifications of snowboarding gear. (Read more about that here.) “It’s been awesome!”
Kiana has her eyes set on becoming the first female snowboarder with an upper-limb disability to represent the United States in the 2026 Paralympics. She is training in boardercross and banked slalom. “The next four years, my goal is to also bring inclusion of adaptive classes to slope style and big air since they’re currently non-existent.”
In all of her training and traveling for racing, Kiana spends much of her time alone with her Golden Retriever, Harley. “I named him after Harley Davidson because he loves motorcycles as much as I do,” she says. “Any time I load my bike up, his tail wags and he loves going to the track with me.” Harley is her constant companion while on the road. “He helps keep me company, keep me moving and keep me smiling knowing I’ll always have a buddy.”
One day, while riding her bike at IMI Motorsports in Colorado, Kiana crossed paths with Evolution Dog Wash owner, Matt Ogden. “Kiana’s dog, Harley, basically introduced us,” Matt said. “Harley was so friendly, and I could clearly see the bond between Kiana and Harley.” After getting to know her and her story of perseverance and determination, Matt wanted to do something to support Kiana so she can continue spending 100% of her time training in mx and snowboarding. Evolution Dog Wash is proud to align with an athlete who never gives up and appreciates the support of others in our lives, including the unconditional love of our pets.
Matt introduced Kiana to our convenient and easy-to-use dog wash machines. Keeping Harley clean after a day at the track is a priority for Kiana, and our machines make it easy for her to bathe him. Her favorite features of the Evolution Dog Wash machine? “How easy it is to use and affordable! I also love the drying feature because drying him with one hand has always been challenging,” she says.
We are so inspired by Kiana’s grit and determination to adapt to whatever challenges life throws her way.
To other young, aspiring athletes, Kiana says, “Chase your dreams and don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t achieve something. You can’t just talk about what you want to do…you gotta put it into action. Break barriers and do it!”