Rain fails to dampen fun; 4×4 jamboree kicks off popular rock-crawling event

Jeeps and other four-wheel drive rigs navigate the West Rim Trail in the Sand Mountain OHV area, Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 19, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Daniel Britton Photography via Desert Roads and Trails Society, St. George News

HURRICANE – Rain did not dampen the enthusiasm Thursday morning as several hundred four-wheel drive enthusiasts gathered at the fairgrounds and then headed out for the trails as part of the third annual “Winter 4×4 Jamboree.”

Jeeps and other four-wheel drive rigs navigate the West Rim Trail in the Sand Mountain OHV area, Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 19, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Daniel Britton Photography via Desert Roads and Trails Society, St. George News

“The nice thing about Jeepers is, this is part of Jeeping – bad weather,” Jeff Bieber, Desert Roads and Trails Society president, said. “So everybody’s here, having a good time.”

By late Thursday, an estimated 540 vehicles and over 1,000 participants had registered online and in person for the event, and dozens more are expected to take advantage of late registration to join the fun Friday and Saturday, Bieber said.

“We’ve had a few problems, but we’re dealing with it,” Bieber said. “The weather’s been a little bit of a hindrance, but everybody’s having a good time.”

Held primarily in the sand and slickrock of the Sand Mountain off-highway vehicle area, the event offers guided trail runs ranging in difficulty from 2 to 10 on a 10-point scale.

The event is hosted by the nonprofit local group, Desert Roads and Trails Society, and is based out of the Washington County Regional Park, also known as the fairgrounds.

Drivers navigate “The Squeeze” on the West Rim Trail in Sand Mountain OHV area, Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 19, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Daniel Britton Photography via Desert Roads and Trails Society, St. George News

Many of the event’s tougher rock-crawling trails are located in the Sand Mountain off-highway vehicle area, one of the only open-travel off-highway vehicle areas in Southern Utah. Other easier trail runs explore scenic views of the surrounding area.

This year’s event is proving to be bigger and better than ever with an extra day – Thursday – added to the usual Friday and Saturday schedule.

“The turnout today was way over my expectations,” Bieber said. “So I think we’re doing good. Everything was great.”

About 80 percent of participants are not from Southern Utah, Bieber estimated, with some traveling from as far away as Wisconsin. The majority of participants are from Western states, including Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, Washington, Idaho and Colorado.

Trail runs and the Saturday night barbecue dinner are reserved for paid participants; however vendor shows held Thursday, Friday and Saturday are open to the public.

Friday night will feature Vendor Bingo, prizes and food trucks. Vendors include a wide variety of Jeep, off-road, outdoor and motorsport companies and more.

Jeeps and other four-wheel drive rigs navigate the West Rim Trail in the Sand Mountain OHV area, Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 19, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Daniel Britton Photography via Desert Roads and Trails Society, St. George News

More than 100 volunteers – many local and some from Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Arizona – donate their time, energy and expertise for the event. In addition, dozens of local, regional and national sponsors make the event possible.

The Desert Roads and Trails Society – Desert RATS – is a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting the responsible use of public lands in Southern Utah and surrounding areas.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to land use organizations. Last year, Desert Roads and Trails Society donated $20,300 to Utah Public Lands Alliance, the Utah 4 Wheel Drive Association and the Blue Ribbon Coalition.

Utah Public Lands Alliance is currently working to stop a proposed land swap that would affect trails in the Sand Mountain off-highway vehicle area.

Details

  • What: Guided trail ride event for full-size, four-wheel drive vehicles.
  • When: Jan. 19-21; trail lineup starts at 7 a.m. for most trails.
  • Where: Based at the Washington County Regional Park, also known as the fairgrounds; trails at Sand Mountain off-highway vehicle area and other areas throughout the county.
  • Cost: Trails are $40 each; vendor shows Friday from 3-8 p.m. and Saturday from 4-7 p.m. are open to the public.

Many trails filled through early online registration; however, late registration is open through Saturday morning. For a detailed schedule and full information, see the Winter 4×4 Jamboree website or Facebook page.

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Email: japplegate@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

 

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1 Comment

  • outsider_100@hotmail.com January 20, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    You have to credit the photographer for documenting the “fun” in the crummy weather. Great shots!

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