EVENTS: BUCKET-LIST  WATCH & RIDE EVENTS

EVENTS: BUCKET-LIST WATCH & RIDE EVENTS

Full-throttle OHV-lifestyle destinations and festivals By the staff of Dirt Wheels

As the popularity of OHV recreation in general and the SxS segment in particular grow, more and more OHV parks are springing up all over the country, joining long-established venues like Hatfield-McCoy, Windrock Park, Brimstone Recreation, Utah’s Paiute Trail System and now the Arizona Peace trail. More UTV and ATV racing series are being formed as well, joining iconic races like the Mint 400, Baja 500 and 1000, the Blackwater 100, Crandon International Raceway, ERX Motor Park, and Ultra4 Hammertown. As newbies gain traction and momentum, some rise to the top of the fun meter, while others are left in the dust. Here are Dirt Wheels’ top 10 bucket-list 2024 jamborees and festivals of speed that every OHV enthusiast should attend.

After changing ownership and again gaining steam, DuneFest is fast becoming a must-attend event for the summer riding season. This year, mark July 30th through August 4th on your calendar and head to Winchester Bay, Oregon, to be part of the original ATV/UTV sand event. Or, visit www.dunefest.com. We will see you there.
ERX Motorsports Park is a destination in itself, and ERX hosts Champ Off-Road on the weekend of July 12th for that series’ midpoint of the intense 2024 season.
Arguably the son of the infamous Blackwater 100, the Snowshoe GNCC carries on the tradition with its start in downtown Snowshoe, and then routing racers into mud-coated nastiness worthy of the Blackwater right down to the “mud fleas.”

 

SNOWSHOE GNCC & LORETTA LYNN ATV-MX NATIONALS

The Blackwater 100 was the original and premier round of what used to be the 100-Miler Series and is now the Grand National Cross-Country Series. External forces ended the famed toughest (mud) race in America, but Blackwater lives on with the Snowshoe GNCC, which is in the same area of West Virginia and hosted by the Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort. As round 9 of the 2024 GNCC series, Snowshoe draws racing fans from far and wide to witness the spectacle of the Blackwater-themed Showshoe on June 22nd–24th, complete with Howard Hole “mud fleas” and in-town start with five racers going off every 10 seconds. Mud bogs, huge hills, gnarly rocks, and greasy tree roots challenge the bike and ATV racers, and the mud fleas dam creek crossings and block the easier lines. The Ballhooter ski lift takes spectators up and down the mountain, and there is also dry and RV camping on the luxury ski resort property. Pit vehicles are allowed, but the trail system is off-limits during the races. Fine dining and retail shopping is a draw, as is the nearby Raven Golf Course, and Segway and Adventure Dining tours by Snowshoe Outdoor Adventures ([877] 441-4386). There is a USA ISDE golf tournament and Stacyc races on Friday, concerts on Friday and Saturday, and a fan zone. Adult ticket prices are $35–$60, and children (6–11) are $20–$35.

Racer Productions has promoted the AMA Amateur Nationals and ATV-MX Nationals at the famed Loretta Lynn’s Dude Ranch in Hurricane, Tennessee, since the beginning, and this year ATV-MX ends its 10-round series on August 10th–11th. Thousands flock to the ranch to camp for the week and race, support, or cheer on their favorite riders. Moto, fishing, and enjoying the woods and the company of fellow racers mixes well at Loretta’s, and you can be sure there is plenty of country music after the action on the track is done for the day. We have very fond memories of Big Dave Coombs and Loretta’s daughter doing duets on stage, and of Dave driving a golf cart into the woods for some of Tennessee’s best. As “Super Hunky” used to write, “A good time was had by all.” These two should be on any OHV enthusiast’s bucket list.

The 2024 UTV Invasion triple crown starts on May 18th at Utah’s Little Sahara Recreation Area and serves as a warm-up for the Labor Day weekend Invasion of the huge dunes in St. Anthony, Idaho.

 

UTV INVASION TRIPLE CROWN

Like UTV Takeover, the UTV Invasion started as a dune festival in Idaho’s St. Anthony Dunes over Labor Day weekend, and it, too, has grown so wildly popular that it can’t be contained in a single three-day weekend. The first 2024 Invasion will be at Utah’s Little Sahara Recreation Area on May 18th–20th as a warm-up for the Labor Day weekend Invasion at St. Anthony starting on August 28th. UTV Invasion highlights are much like Takeovers with group and night rides in huge dunes, wheelie and jump contests, show-n-shines and audio wars, concerts, and other contests like a UTV balancing beam. The third UTV Invasion is of Oklahoma’s Little Sahara Dunes at Waynoka on September 21st–23rd.

UTV INVASION 2024 SCHEDULE

1. May 18-20 Nephi, UT

2. Aug. 28-Sept. 1 St. Anthony, ID

3. Sept. 21-23 Waynoka, OK

Contact www.utvinvasion.com

The biggest event of the Best in the Desert racing series goes off on August 14th–17th, and the Casey Folkes Vegas-to-Reno Classic is America’s toughest race.

BEST IN THE DESERT VEGAS TO RENO

The flagship of Best in The Desert’s (BITD) four-round 2024 series sets sail on August 14th–17th with the Casey Folkes Vegas-to-Reno Classic. This 550-plus-mile point-to-point race is billed as the toughest race in America, and it starts 50 miles north of Las Vegas and ends 50 miles south of Reno. There will be an Event Expo with huge vendor row in Las Vegas at the registration and tech inspection compound all day Thursday, and tens of thousands of fans will check out the race vehicles and manufacturer and aftermarket booths. Qualifying will be on Wednesday the 14th at the BITD start area on a truncated course. Although most of Nevada is public lands, the start and finish areas and 13 pits are restricted to those that pay for access or camping. Dry camping along the course outside of the pits is your best bet.

Unlimited Off-Road ends its 2024 triple-crown season in October with the California 300, which is like racing Barstow-to-Vegas and then Vegas-to-Barstow back to back. The Mint 400 was the second leg of the season, and that iconic race was first run in 1968.

 UNLIMITED OFF-ROAD CALIFORNIA 300

Unlimited Off-Road Racing finishes its 2024 triple-crown series this October 2nd-6th with the third annual California 300, which brought back desert racing to the Barstow area. The series included the Parker 400 in January and the famed Mint 400 in March, and both are iconic events. The Mint 400 was first put on in 1968, years before the Barstow to Vegas Desert Classic, to bring more tourism to Las Vegas. The California 300 starts off of Stoddard OHV exit south of Barstow, and the start area has a fan zone with manufacturer displays and vendor row. Before the CA300, there will be a Desert Cleanup the Saturday before (September 28th), spectator pre-run ride and poker run, Contingency and Tech, an Off-Road Festival on Thursday, Youth UTV races, Qualifying, and Pro short-course race before the grand finale 300. New last year, bike and ATV classes were added to the truck, buggy, and UTV classes. Open camping is free in the desert, so spectators can camp in areas along the course and ride to check out the racing action at different spots along the extended loop. There are a lot of ridges, canyons, and sand washes, and past 300s have been on the tight and technical side, giving UTVs an edge over larger, faster trophy trucks. We’ll see if that is the case for 2024.

CHAMP ERX OFF-ROAD NATIONAL

ERX Motor Park in Elk River, Minnesota, will host the Champ ERX Off-road National the weekend of July 11th through 14th. ERX’s short-course track is in a natural amphitheater, so spectators bring lawn chairs and blankets and sit on the grassy hills for an up-close view of the truck, buggy, and UTV races, plus there are free bleacher seats on a first-come basis. ERX has a welcome center with a pro shop, lounge, and restaurant, and Polaris and CFMoto have held press events there. There are extended off-road loops in the surrounding woods for campers to explore. Spectator parking is $5 per day with shuttles to the track, and dry camping is $100 with move-in on Thursday at noon. Practice and qualifying are on Thursday, and racing is on Friday and Saturday. Open Pro pits let the spectators get a behind-the-scenes experience, and there will be a huge vendor row and Expo with top brands in the outdoor industry. The kids’ zone has rock climbing, yard games, and more family fun. For a VIP experience, check out the Yokohama Flyway Club. An adult weekend pass is $45 online and $55 at the gate, a day pass is $30 online and $35 at the gate, and military and first-responder weekend passes are $45 (day passes are $25).

ERX Motor Park also hosts other events like the biggest Snocross race in the world (ERX Snocross National on March 22nd–23rd), the Ditchbanger Snowmobile National, and the Midwest Ride-In, which is the largest antique, vintage and classic snowmobile event with swap meet, silent auction, and trail ride on the 500-acre property. ERX is at 21591 US Hwy 169 NW, Elk River, MN 55330, see more at www.erxmotorpark.com.

Crandon International Raceway is “The Big House” of short-course off-road racing, and they go big with the 31st Brush Run the weekend of June 22nd. A trip to experience the thrill of CIR in person should be on every enthusiast’s bucket list.
Saudi Arabia has the Dakar Rally for 12 days in January, but America waits to the end of January and start of February for its off-road Daytona 500, the King of the Hammers, and it grows in size and scope every year.

KING OF THE HAMMERS

Ultra4’s King of the Hammers started out as a desert and rock-bouncing 4×4 race at the end of January, and it has grown to a two-week festival of speed and spectacle with King of the Motos, Everyman Challenge, short-course qualifying, buggy/UTV Desert Challenge, and Can-Am UTV KOH before the Class 4400 KOH finale. Hammertown is set up on Means Dry Lake, and almost 100,000 spectators, racers, vendors and industry people turn the area into a small city. Manufacturers and the aftermarket conduct demo rides and display their latest and greatest products, and attendees can get merch and products at discounted prices. Nonstop racing action is projected on the Jumbotron and announced by off-road legend Ricky Johnson. At night, Hammerheads take on Chocolate Thunder, Turkey Claw, and other trails in their wildly-modified 4x4s and UTVs. It’s utter chaos, and the party lasts all night. One year, Cain and Graham picked their way through the carnage to clean Chocolate Thunder in a stock Maverick Sport.

SCORE INTERNATIONAL BAJA 1000

Fans come from across the USA to cross the border and descend on Baja California for the SCORE International BFGoodrich Baja 1000 this November 12th–17th for the 57th running of the famous 1000-plus-mile race. Tech and Contingency in Ensenada draws tens of thousands of race fans, and the tech line has a huge vendor row with many locals selling Baja merchandise, food, and drink. People camp in the desert along the race route, and there are several ranches that build spectator jumps and charge a small admission fee for camping and watching on race day. Or, watch all the racers take off of the start line and come in to the finish for live-streamed coverage and interviews. It’s not all fun and games, though, as some spectators build booby traps for unsuspecting racers, who come from all over the globe to challenge themselves and their steeds. 

UTV TAKEOVER TRIPLE CROWN

The UTV Takeover first took over Boxcar Hill of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area at Coos Bay, and it immediately exploded in popularity with its bike, ATV, and UTV Huckfest jump competitions, wheelie contests, hill-fest, sand drags, short-course races, ATC races, freestyle shows, concerts, show-n-shines, stereo wars, night rides, rock-n-roll bingo, vendor row specials, and more family fun for everyone, including UTV demos, raffles and free swag. UTV Takeover is so popular and so much an off-road spectacle that it is now a triple-crown affair every year with rounds at Coos Bay on June 25th–30th, Winchester Bay on September 3rd–8th, and Utah’s Sand Hollow State Park on October 15th–20th. Go big or go home!

UTV TAKEOVER 2024 SCHEDULE

1. June 25-30 Coos Bay, OR

2. Sept. 3-8 Winchester Bay, OR

3. Oct. 15-20 Hurricane, UT

Contact www.utvtakeover.com

The ever-popular UTV Takeover starts its 2024 triple crown June 25th–30th at Coos Bay’s Boxcar Hill before heading north to Winchester Bay in September.

The post EVENTS: BUCKET-LIST WATCH & RIDE EVENTS appeared first on Dirt Wheels Magazine.

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