Details on Schedule Changes

Schedule Changes

I love our life and our lifestyle. To bring so many people together on a weekend is an incredible experience. We get to introduce our marketing partners to our drivers; our drivers to our fans; our fans to our marketing partners. It is full circle every event. There are just a few things I don’t love, the biggest right now is working with properties.
Please don’t misunderstand, I love our owners that are invested in their properties, but that doesn’t always mean we get to do what we all want to do. There are civil servants who hold up permits, there are local communities who don’t follow through on their promises, there are just some places that are impossible to get everything rolling, no matter how much time you spend on it.

Here’s what is currently happening in our world. Changes are afoot, pay attention, so we are where you want to be.
Attica, Indiana – July 23 & 24 – this event has been cancelled. The Badlands is an awesome offroad park, we thoroughly enjoy working with Kyle and his crew. But it doesn’t make a lot of sense to go there, financially or otherwise. We took a vote with our teams at the last event in Rausch Creek and it was decided they would all rather save their travel funds for Grand Nationals in Farmington then spend them to get to Indiana. They’ve already had three events on the east this year, so they aren’t missing out on a similar schedule to what they’ve gotten the last few years.
Goldendale, Washington – August 6 & 7 – this is a go. This community and our partners, Mark and Rody Shilling are great. We are excited to be here. The city helps with advertising and it is a fun event, lots of spectators, lots of good times.

Cortez, Colorado – August 13 – the schedule has changed a little, we will only be driving on Saturday – pre-run and racing on the same day. While this is not ideal, it is happening that way for a couple of reasons. The first is that our perpetual permit that we worked so hard to get a few years ago allows for a single event day, and the county has interpreted that to be that pre-running is an “event” day. So to stick to the usual schedule means we have to go before the county commissioners again, and the risk of not getting a permit is there. The second has to do with insurance, but I’ll explain that later. This event will also be the combined final event for the Mountain and Southwest series – see below for why. Double points for those of you playing that game.
Colorado Springs, Colorado – August 20 – cancelled. Damn it. This is a place we love to race. RAM Offroad has been hosting events for years, before us, it was XRRA, always the same weekend, until 2015. In 2015, the county required our partner, Ray Mandell, to file for a new permit. He has spent lots of time, effort and money for engineering studies, to no avail. The county is still not issuing a permit, this is frustrating for both him and those of us who want to play there. C Springs has always had a ton of fans. So Mountain drivers, it is Cortez for your final event, plan accordingly.

Buzzard Canyon, Oklahoma – CHANGED – to Canyons Offroad Park, Fredericksburg, Texas. Our partner at Buzzard decided that the time of year was wrong for an event, so we looked to our friends in Fredericksburg and asked for the opportunity to come back. The course will be different then when we were there in the spring, and it should be dry, which is a definite improvement! Again, we will be doing all the pre-running and racing on a single day, this time it will be so we can participate in a parade in Fredericksburg – this will be fun!

Farmington, New Mexico – WE ROCK Grand Nationals – September 10 & 11. We have been working with BLM for ten months on our return to Chokecherry Canyon, excited to announce we have our permit! This is a big deal and a ton of work for all, but the permit is in hand. We are starting now to recruit assistance for this big event.

Bridgeport, Texas – Dirt Riot National Rampage – September 17 – so, we are a little concerned because the park is underwater. Last year, through a lot of volunteers and Barco Pump, we were able to pump the water out and in to holding ponds, I’m not sure everyone wants to go to that much work again, so we are keeping our options open. The city tells us that the top section where we usually park has sloughed off behind the pavilion. Our goal is to still be here, but we have our sights set on some nearby alternative sites if we are unable to. They are all close in proximity, so plan the same trip for Nationals.

Now a little bit about insurance, last week, our insurance company made a change for the benefit of our drivers. We are pleased to offer medical coverage for all drivers. We have always had liability coverage for the competitors, but medical for an injury to the competitor was always on you. Going forward, there is coverage for an injury. Of course, this comes with a cost, and no choices – like a typical insurance company. Our insurance costs doubled to provide this, but I think it is a positive. No changes in driver’s cost will occur for the balance of 2016, but plan on a separate insurance charge of $25/event in 2017.

Like I said, it’s a lot of work and my least favorite part of what we do – I won’t even whine about some of things we’ve had to do to pull off the events we have already had this year. Just know that we hate changes as much as you do. Hang with us, we’ll keep working hard and providing you with the best events we can, those of you who commit to be there deserve our best effort, and you’re going to get it!

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It’s a Monday…

Rampage 2015

Days of the week are a mystery to me.  Our lives don’t revolve around a standard work week, so when people complain about Mondays, I’m usually like “whoohoo, it’s a travel day today!”

When folks say “TGIF”, I’m like “WHOOHOO, it’s almost Race Day!”  I love race days!

Today is bittersweet, it’s a Monday, the last Monday before the last race of the year. This time of year, my mind is always ramped up with “Now, What?”  It’s not that we don’t have plans for the next few months, but this always feels like the end.  And I hate endings.

The race season has been accomplished, busy, challenging, dreamlike, exhausting, finished, genius, honest, inspired, joblike, kinetic, loved, magical, natural, obsessive, passionate, quiet, rewarding, successful, treasured, unique, victorious, winsome, yet, oh so zectacular!  (I ran out of ideas for letters 🙂 I am a huge fan of our racers, rockcrawlers, marketing partners, spectators and staff.  Without each and everyone of you, our lives would be less fullfulling.  Thank you for all you do for us, for supporting our dreams.

Rich has a new pitch when someone asks him what he does, he says he provides an adrenalin filled event for competitors in rock sports that want to have fun and enjoy their lives.  What do you think?  Is that an accurate description?  I know it’s only Monday, but I’m already looking forward to Thank God It’s Friday…race day cometh!

Day -133 – A Look Back at KOH

kohThe earth moves on the lakebed like nothing you’ve seen, in my mind it compares to a sand storm in the Sahara or a snow storm in the rockies, low visibility, abrasion, all in all, not so much fun.  But that’s what you can expect when you spend ten days on a dry lakebed in February.  For the uninitiated, KOH stands for King of the Hammers, it is a halo offroad happening each year in Southern California.  At one time it was an event, in current time it is bigger than that, I heard it compared to Burning Man for gearheads.

Last Friday was the eighth running of KOH, it started as a simple event, thirteen guys running for a case of beer, it has evolved in to a multiple race event covering almost an entire week.  Tens of thousands of people make the pilgrimage to take part in what is billed as the “toughest one-day off road race in the country.”  If the attrition rate is the measure, that is sure to be true.

Throughout the year, we host events all over the US to prepare competitors and their teams for this day, some years we are more successful than others.  I am proud of our Dirt Riot competitors and their accomplishments, while I would love to take credit for their efforts, the truth is it takes tenacity, hard work, perseverance, talent and sometimes, just pure luck to get through race day.

These are the folks who make every day a pleasure, who provide us with a lifestyle we love and who live their passions.  Not everyone made the podium, not everyone made the finish line, hell, not all of them made the start line, but they made us proud and they represented us well – whether that was their intention or not, we appreciate them.  Thank you to all.

The week started with the King of the Motos, not many racers or rockcrawlers participate here, it is an entirely different group of athletes that challenge the rocks on their bikes, but a shout out is well deserved to Craig Thompson, former competitive rockcrawler.

The UTV race was up next, the best finish came from Matt Enochs, in fourth place.  Matt was the 2012 UTV National Champion at Bridgeport, Texas.  Finishing seventh was Wesley Gryner, winner of two Central series events in 2013 in the UTV class of Dirt Riot.  Other competitors from Dirt Riot included Dean Bulloch, Chris Barnett, Brian Bush, Cody Nygren, Rob Usnick, Darryl Dunlap, Lindsay Syler, and Terry Kenyon. 

The next race of note was the Every Man Challenge, there were several races within the race in numerous classes on this day, we were represented in all of them.  In the 4500 class, champion rockcrawler Team Superchips Aaron Sykes placed sixth; eighth was Paul Bickerton, tenth was Alan Johnson from Letzroll, twelfth Jesse Bayne, thirteenth Jay Callaway, other competitors included Shawn Rants, WE Rock Unlimited Champion Justin Hall, Broadsword Racing’s Adam Arsenault, Daniel Sach from Olympus Offroad and rockcrawler Jeremy Eaton from Washington.

The 4600 class was represented by Matt Salyers, another member of the Letzroll team finishing ninth and Jason Kaminsky in his Superchips LJ finishing 10th.  Other Dirt Riot competitors were Victor Buness, Matt Peterson and Mike VanZyl.

The Spec class included former champion rockcrawler and former King Shannon Campbell.

The Legends class saw Brad Lovell placing first, with Matt Messer in the second place position, both are competitive rockcrawlers, Matt still competes in the unlimited class, Brad races the Moab Dirt Riot race, winning that in 2012.

And then there was the big race, Friday’s race determined who was the King…for a second time, Loren Healy won the event.  I would love to claim Loren as ours, but honestly, he was already King before he started racing with us.  We are still very proud.   Lots of other names make that very proud list, of the 154 cars that started the race, only 32 finished.  Finishers that have competed with us and hold that special place in our hearts:  Bill Baird, current National Finals champion finished third; Derek West, second place National Finals champion finished fifth; Rick Mooneyham, sixth, Andrew McLaughlin, 2013 third place National Series points, tenth; Roger Lovell, twelfth; Travis Cook, thirteenth; Wayland Campbell fifteenth; Dave Ashman, eighteenth; Brian Shirley, 2013 National Series points champion, twentieth; Levi Shirley, 2013 Runner-up National Series points champion, 21st; Hunter Sparrow, 23rd; Jason O’Neal, 29th

Others who competed and deserve a great round of applause and our respect; Spencer Murphy, Chris Hoyt, Randy Rodd, Airen Patrick, Matt Lee, Jeff McCullough, Kenneth Goodall, Jesse Haines, Dustin Isenhour, Adam Macke, Masa Tsuda, Kenny Blume, Billy Briney, Chicky Barton, Clay Gilstrap, Matt Burkett, Jeremy Hammer, Jonathan Terhune, Matt Nieman, Chris Sommer, Adam Carter, Dustin Sexton, Carl Langerhans, Shelby Gilstrap, the other Matt Peterson, Mike Nappi, Chip MacLaughlin, Greg Lundeen, Aaron Peters, Travis Leach, Peter Basler, Ben Swain, Tony Arledge, Jeremy Dickenson, Chad Wheeler, and Mike Klensin,  Congratulations to you all, each of you has a story to tell about your journey to KOH and the heartbreak that befell you there, be proud, we certainly are.

Day -10 – Gratitude

gratitudeOur lives have been non-stop since the first of February, the start of our “season.”  I don’t expect it to slow down any now that we are in the off-season, but it will definitely change.

Today, I am incredibly grateful for all that I have been given in this life.  The people, the action, the attitudes, the lifestyle, the combination of all of it.  I love my life.  Over the weekend, we had 80 entries in our final event of the season.  We ended our Dirt Riot series with a fantastic weekend in Bridgeport, Texas.  Two weeks ago, we ended our WE Rock season with a competition among all the best rockcrawlers of the nation in Cortez, Colorado.  We threw Off-Road Expo in Pomona, California in the middle of those.  It has been a whirlwind, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

The people are the best, every where we go, I think “These are my favorite.” And then we go to the next place and I think, “no, these are my favorite.” And then we get them all together and I know, “Yep, these are my FAVORITE!”  These folks are incredible, there are some who step in no matter what needs done; others you can take a minute to catch up and feel like you’ve not been apart at all.  There are dogs that know us, there are kids that high-five us; when the teams get to the podium they are always good to thank us.  I wish they understood that it is us who are grateful; us who should be thanking them.  Without this great family of racers, wives, kids and dogs; without them, we’ve got nothing.  Everyday we strive to do our best so that they can enjoy their race experience.  We are so  thankful for all of them.

 

Day 146 – Flyin’ High

IMG950272Cedar City, Utah…race week, we are setting up the race course and rock crawl for the weekend, so we’ve been on site at Three Peaks Recreation Area for a week.  I love our life.  The boys finished marking the race course today, so I was finally “allowed” out to walk the course.  Up to this point, I’ve been relegated to walking the perimeter where there was a fence I could follow.  Pretty smart, actually.

The course is well marked, Josh and Kyle did a great job, I walked 5.5 miles of it, it’s a little longer than that, I opted not to do the weaving within the county park area and beelined it to the trailer.  My phone had died at mile 3 so I was a little bit bored, no music left.  It was a great hike, but it sure seemed like it was uphill both ways, just like my dad used to claim when he walked to school.

There aren’t really very many animals at this park, we’ve seen a bunch of jackrabbits, some lizards, but not much else.  Most parks there are some deer, and a number of times there have been rattlesnakes, I don’t miss those.  What I did run in to today were two hawks that were pretty unhappy with me.  There must be a nest nearby, they squawked and squawked.  I love the sound of predator birds.

Getting back to the park, I found our friend Todd had showed up to do a little wheeling – getting ready for the weekend.  When he offered me a ride in his Wildcat I was all for it.  I climbed in through the window, no doors of course, strapped on my 5 point harness and tightened them down.  I threw on my helmet and grabbed the “oh, sh**” handle, I was ready.  Todd took off and put some speed on it, it rolled over the mounds, the rain started and was pelting us, made it a little painful, but not enough to make us stop.  We finished the last section of the race course within the County park and came around for the road crossing jump.  Todd hit the throttle and we jumped, it was awesome.  I love that flying feeling.

Thanks, Todd, for giving me the opportunity to ride in a UTV, even after all the races we do, I almost never get to ride.  It was fun to see it from a racer’s perspective

Day 237 – It’s Official

Website Both LogoYep, it’s Official, our race season has begun.  Friday’s race was the official start of the season and close of the off-season.  Since I began blogging, we’ve mostly been in the off-season, the races were pretty much done and we were just working the shows.  Now my daily life will be filled with travel and details regarding our race series.

We promote two National sanctioning bodies, W.E. Rock has been around since 2005, it’s pre-cursor was CalRocs, which still exists today.  W.E. Rock stands for World Extreme Rock Crawling.  We promote rock crawls all over the country in two series, East and West.  There are three events in each. This year’s schedule includes Congress, AZ; Cedar City, UT; and Goldendale, WA for the West – in the East we are in Dayton, TN twice and Attica, IN.  Rock crawling is a four-wheel drive trials type event.

Our second series is called Dirt Riot, it is a four-wheel drive endurance race.  We have several classes that race for one, two or three hours.  We have four series of events for that, a south-east with events in Auburn, AL; Birmingham, AL and Union Point, GA; the Central series includes Bryan, TX; Altus, OK and Fredericksburg, TX; the Southwest series includes Congress, AZ; Cedar City, UT and Cortez, CO and the final series in the Mountain series in Moab, UT, Colorado Springs, CO and Cortez, CO.

We spend the year running up and down the freeway beginning today, the season is on and I’m excited.  I love that we get to see the country that way.  The TajMaHauler (our semi truck) is ready, we are ready, the racers are ready.  Let’s get this party started!

Day 345 – Woke up in the wrong bed this morning.

Ever had one of those mornings?  Things just aren’t quite right?  Today was one of those, we had an awesome drive yesterday from Cortez to Rangley, really enjoyed it, this morning we woke up in Rangley, me right next to Rich where I belonged, in case you were wondering, We got breakfast, all set for a meeting with some guys who want to build an offroad course.  Only problem is…we were in the wrong city!  Yep, we were supposed to be in Craig, Colorado, not Rangely.  No where in all of our conversations with those guys did we figure that out.  Ninety miles later, we were in Craig.

Travel days

It is fun to visit with guys who share our passion for Rockcrawling, to listen to what they want to build and why.  There are all sorts of courses all over the US that have been built or designed by the WE Rock crew, it’s going to be fun to take from the best of those to build this course.  You can stop in Tucson, AZ; Oroville, CA; Tooele, UT, Ocotilla Wells, CA  to find some of our handiwork.  This past year we went back to natural courses for all of the WE Rock events for 2012 and 2013, but it will be good to work with this crew to get another man-made facility operational for the 2014 season.

This was just another day in the life of my 50th year, not stellar in the overall scheme of things, but some times it’s just how you get from day to day.  Check out the map of our drive this week, we covered some beautiful territory.  And don’t forget to follow this blog, either by logging in to WordPress with the Follow button on top or Follow by email on the left hand side.  Thanks.

 

Day 357 – If Racing is Rubbin’ and Rubbin’ Feels Good, then Racing Feels Good

Today I want to say THANK YOU to all the teams, families, pets, spectators, marketing sponsors, volunteers, staff, etc. who let us do what we do.  Saturday was an incredible day spent with hundreds of our friends enjoying our favorite activities, thank you, thank you, thank you.

I know I’ve said this before, but I love my lifestyle, to get to spend time in the great outdoors, enjoying the weather (and there is Always weather), making something good happen, what is better than that?

The aftermath of Race Day

Our race teams are like family, so entwined in our lives that you can’t really separate them, we feel their losses as personally as we feel our own, we share their joys as well.  All of you are why we keep doing what we do.  The new schedule is our for 2013 and we are excited, excited to be able to be on the road, excited to be able to be with all of you, excited to share another two dozen events with our friends.

And while I’m thanking all of you, thanks Dirt Riot racers for raising $1137 for American Cancer Society, you guys really are fast…and generous – I appreciate it so much.

Everyone, hang in there over the long winter, re-build those cars, get ready for next year, it’s going to be EPIC!  Racing feels GOOD!

 

p.s. If you want to keep up with us over the winter and what we are up to, click the “Follow” button at the top of your screen

Day 358 – What we do Speaks so Loud it can Never Compete with what we Say

April 1, 2000 I lost my mom to cancer, I was 36, way too young to lose my mother, I still had questions for her, still needed answers, support, there were still too many things to talk about.  In 2005, my community had their first Relay for Life event, it was the beginning of a very good thing in my life.

Relay for Life is an American Cancer Society event, it happens in over 4000 communities around the world.  It began in 1986 by an oncologist, Dr. Gordy Klatt, who wanted to run through the night to support his patients.  It has grown to the largest fundraising event that ACS does.  There are many parts of Relay that I love.  The season is awesome if you live in a small town especially, every week there is another fundraiser to attend, and they run the full gamut, from Bid for Bachelors to car washes; scrapbook crops to Bunko – I love the “season.”  This is our chance to Fight Back – raise money to help fund the cure.

The Relay event itself has some common themes across the country.  There is always a Survivor Lap – at least one lap to Celebrate those that have had cancer and made it through.  After dark, there will be the Luminaria Ceremony.  This is one of those cool things that you have to experience to really get it.  The lights are turned down and luminarias are lit all around the track, it is a solemn, heart filling ceremony, your chance to Remember those we have lost to cancer.

Luminarias

I also enjoy creating luminarias, that’s how I spent a few hours this afternoon, Remembering those who I’ve lost and Celebrating those that are still fighting.

Two weekends ago, we held our Grand National event for W.E. Rock, our drivers and teams were treated to an awards dinner and they responded by contributing $835 to our Relay for Life fundraiser.  On Saturday night this week, we will hold another fundraiser for Relay at our Dirt Riot Nationals – I bet my teams will respond as well there.

I already have my Relay page set up for fundraising, so, if you are so inclined, go on to the American Cancer Society secure donation site here and donate in the name of someone important to you that has had cancer, help us to find the cure.