SHAMOKIN - Traci Cecco-Pickens is billed among the all-time greats in professional female all-terrain vehicle racing, having won the Grand National Cross Country an unprecedented nine times.

She also happens to be a native of the Shamokin area.

Cecco-Pickens, 36, retired this year after again winning the GNCC Women's Series. She was honored by Shamokin City Council and the mayor on Monday night, which declared the day in her honor and presented her a key to the city.

"This here is absolutely amazing," said Cecco-Pickens, who was both flattered and delighted at the city's gesture.

About two dozen people attended a reception for Cecco-Pickens at Shamokin Housing Authority in the city's downtown. The event was catered by students from Northumberland County Career and Technology Center.

"It's definitely an honor to receive the key to Shamokin," she said.

While Cecco-Pickens, a graduate of Line Mountain, calls West Cameron Township home, she has a Shamokin mailing address and she hailed the Shamokin area and its surroundings as the place where she cut her teeth on four-wheelers.

The area provided her the resources and tools it took to succeed in the world of off-road racing, she said.

Cecco-Pickens turned pro in 1999 and won the first of her nine titles one year later. In 2006, her accomplishments lead to a sponsorship deal with Yamaha.

The sponsorship provided her bikes, equipment and parts, she said, stressing the importance of that last item, and it helped keep her racing professionally into her 30s.

"The world of racing is expensive," she said, "no matter what type of racing it is."

Yamaha helped make happen Monday's celebration in Shamokin, along with placing a billboard in her honor along Route 61 near Paxinos. The racing giant will also honor her accomplishments as a racer and member of the Yamaha family with a bronze block installed at its California headquarters listing all of her achievements.

Cecco-Pickens may be retiring from racing, but not from the working world. She said she'll continue her day job as a physical therapy assistant at ManorCare in Sunbury.