Rain doesn’t dampen the action at 32nd annual Rhino Rally; STGnews Videocast

LITTLEFIELD, Arizona — A few miles south of Washington City near the Utah/Arizona border, motocross riders filled their tanks, prepped their bikes and geared up for the 32nd annual Rhino Rally early Friday morning.

A sea of bikes lined up for the Big Bike Race, Littlefield, AZ, Feb. 28, 2015 | Photo by Leanna Bergeron, St. George News
A sea of bikes lined up for the “Big Bike Race,” Littlefield, Arizona, Feb. 28, 2015 | Photo by Leanna Bergeron, St. George News

Despite the drizzling rain and chilly temperatures, close to 300 riders took to the starting line for the “Big Bike Race” portion of the event, which consisted of two 30-mile loops along a desert course.

A small crowd of spectators, mostly family and friends of the riders, gathered along the edge of the race to cheer on the novice, amateur and expert waves of participants as they took off and quickly disappeared into the desert terrain.

Because of the rain, the ground was damp and less likely to kick up dust. Dust can be a dangerous factor in desert racing, as it affects visibility.

“Most of the time in a desert race, it’s dusty,” Charlie Jensen, Desert Representative for the Utah Sportsman Racing Association, said. “When it’s been raining the night before, (the courses) are going to be fantastic.”

A rider preparing before the Mini Bike Race, Littlefield, AZ, Feb. 28, 2015 | Photo by Leanna Bergeron, St. George News
A rider preparing before the “Mini Bike Race,” Littlefield, Arizona, Feb. 28, 2015 | Photo by Leanna Bergeron, St. George News

The Wizards Motorcycle Club is the driving force behind the event, with members volunteering time and effort out of love for the sport and the racing community.

“It’s just a fun race for everybody,” Scott Snow, a Wizards MC representative, said. “It’s all volunteer; none of us make a penny. It’s strictly a labor of love.”

When it comes to where the race got its quirky name, Snow said the details of the event’s origins have been lost to time, but he believes the original founders of the Rhino Rally named it after a speedway race in a foreign country.

“It has to do with a particular race that they did in Africa,” Snow said. “I don’t think many of us know that; I’m probably one of the few that knows that answer.”

Pee Wee riders before the start of the race, Littlefield, AZ, Feb. 28, 2015 | Photo by Leanna Bergeron, St. George News
Little riders get ready for the “Pee Wee Race,” Littlefield, Arizona, Feb. 28, 2015 | Photo by Leanna Bergeron, St. George News

Additional races that took place in the morning were the “Pee Wee Race,” a 20-minute race on a small track for kids, and a “Mini Bikes Race,” which was a 12-mile loop.

While there was a decent sized crowd at the rally, this event is not a spectator sport.

Rider registration typically fills up quickly, Snow said, as the event continues to grow in popularity.

An awards ceremony began at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Abbey Inn in St. George, complete with drawings and prizes for the participants.

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Email: lbergeron@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

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