ST. GEORGE — Epic Southern Utah scenery and trails ranging from easy to nearly impossible are attracting off-roaders from around the country to the 5th annual “Winter 4×4 Jamboree.”
The jamboree is a guided trail event for full-sized four-wheel drive vehicles that will take place Thursday through Saturday, rain or shine. All activities are based at the Washington County Regional Park, Washington County Fairgrounds, 5500 W. 700 South, Hurricane.
Many of the more difficult trails are run in the Sand Mountain off-highway vehicle area while milder trails will run on dirt roads and trails throughout the county.
This year’s jamboree is shaping up to be the biggest yet – with more trails, more participants and more to offer the general public, according to a press release. About 600 registered drivers and more than 1,000 people are expected to show up for the event.
“This is the biggest event we’ve had since we started five years ago,” Desert RATS president and event chairman Jeff Bieber said in the press release.
The event started in 2015 with around 200 registered drivers and has grown each year since.
“I’m just excited for people to come and see our area and see what it has to offer,” Bieber said.
The premier rock-crawling and trail ride event features lots of options for four-wheel-drive enthusiasts, from “buggy only” trails to scenic dirt road excursions suitable for stock four-wheel drive vehicles.
While there are no viewing opportunities for the trail rides, the public is invited to the fairgrounds each evening for a vendor show, food trucks, an RC race course and monster truck rides. The activities are available Thursday and Friday from 3-8 p.m. and Saturday from 3-6 p.m.
This year, participants will have a chance to test their radio-controlled driving skills in the new RC Rock-crawling Competition course at the fairgrounds. For $1, anyone can can run the timed course. Prizes will be awarded for the fastest times. Everyone will use the same RC vehicle to run the course.
“So it’s the skill of the driver, not the truck,” Miles Kimberly of Club Krawl at Sky RC said.
The Veteran Monster Truck will be available for rides at the jamboree. Veterans can ride in the truck for free, which is specially outfitted with two rows of seats in the back.
Vendors will fill both buildings at the fairgrounds with a variety of booths offering off-road recreation merchandise and information.
“The vendor show will be the largest we’ve ever had. I’d encourage anyone who needs aftermarket off-road parts to come out – this is the place to get them,” Bieber said.
The jamboree is sponsored and organized by Desert Roads and Trails Society, a local nonprofit organization, also known as the Desert RATS, which is dedicated to promoting the responsible use of public lands. The jamboree provides a major boost to the local economy and donates all proceeds to charitable causes.
While the majority of participants come from the Intermountain West, Alaska, Florida and Indiana, a variety of other states will be represented as well.
“The Winter 4×4 Jamboree is a great event that brings in people from all over including out of the state,” Doug Boyer, Washington County sports and adventure marketing representative said. “In years past it has been a great event for good economic impact and is shaping up to have an even bigger impact this year.”
Last year the event brought an estimated $1.6 million in economic impact and raised $41,000. All proceeds from the event are donated to charitable organizations including the Utah Public Lands Alliance and Washington County Search and Rescue.
“I’m excited about the donations we are raising that will help keep our public lands open,” Bieber said.
Major sponsors for the 2019 event include Red Desert Off-Road of St. George, BF Goodrich Tires, Larry H. Miller of Sandy and Tuff Country Suspension. Many other sponsors and vendors have also contributed to the event.
Online registration for the 2019 jamboree is closed, but in-person registration will be offered at the fairgrounds starting Wednesday afternoon.
For more information and a schedule of events, click here.