HURRICANE — More than 125 professional and amateur watercraft racers are set to descend upon the red rocks and glistening blue beauty of Sand Hollow State Park Friday and Saturday for the Pro Watercross National Tour’s “Red Desert Championship.”
“We are so thrilled to bring our racers back to Utah,” Nicholas Handler, managing director of Pro Watercross said. “Sand Hollow is one of Utah’s most gorgeous state parks and is an epic site for racing.”
The natural beauty in and around Sand Hollow has attracted Pro Watercross to the Hurricane site for the second consecutive year. The location is also ideal because of the adjoining sand dunes and trails for all-terrain and off-highway vehicles.
“What a terrific experience this is for both the residents of Southern Utah and the racers in the Pro Watercross Tour,” St. George Sports Commission Director Kevin Lewis said. “This is a unique event for us and a one-of-a-kind venue for the tour. You just don’t find orange sand and blue water in too many places and the racers seem to love it. When you combine it with all of the other outdoor activity in the area it’s a neat combination.”
Celebrating its 21st year of racing, the Pro Watercross Tour is the country’s leading personal watercraft racing circuit. The races feature some of the world’s most skilled athletes and fastest machines — reaching speeds of more than 85 miles per hour.
In watercross racing, the competitors navigate buoys and obstacles as they zoom shoulder to shoulder around a closed course, which is designed to keep the high-speed excitement close to the fans on the beach.
Freestyle acrobatic competition is always a fan and spectator favorite as the pros deliver routines including maneuvers with names like the Aerial Barrel Roll, Yellow Submarine, Hollywood Corkscrew, Kilowatt Flop, Bull Doggin’ and Ride ‘Em Cowboy.
The pro races run Friday from 6-9 p.m. and again Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Amateur racing takes place before the pros each day.
To get the weekend’s events started, the St. George Area Sports Commission has set up a corporate challenge on Friday at 3 p.m. Local businesses will compete in four-person teams using high-speed personal watercraft on a course similar to the one used by the professionals.
“The corporate racing challenge is a fun way to expose the local community to professional racing,” Lewis said. “It’s an adrenaline pumping taste of what the athletes are doing and gives local businesses a chance to get to know each other.”
The public is welcome and encouraged to watch and cheer on the racers.
Admission to the Pro Watercross Tour is free; however, normal entrance fees apply for Sand Hollow State Park. Beach activities for children and families are also being provided free of charge.
St. George is the fourth stop on the Pro Watercross Tour’s seven-week circuit that culminates with the national championships in August, followed by September’s world championship. Each step of the competition will be filmed and made into a nationwide television broadcast.
- What: Pro Watercross National Tour
- When: June 24, 6-9 p.m. | June 25, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Where: Sand Hollow State Park
- Cost: Spectators, free; state park fees apply
- Pro Watercross Tour: Website