It doesn't matter whether you want to be a participant or a spectator or both; there are a multitude of four-wheel-drive-based events that'll satisfy your off-highway cravings. We've compiled a list of our 25 favorite events from 2008. Yeah, we have even more favorites, but we had to stop somewhere. The list is quite diverse and it runs the gamut from the hard-core to the docile. Some of the events are relatively new while others have been around for a long time. One thing that they all have in common is that they require or celebrate four-wheel drive and we'd drop what we're doing to attend 'em.
4Wheel Jamboree Series
Where it happens: Multiple locations
The basics: We've been trekking to these events for years and it's hard to beat 'em for variety. Whether you're into pimpin' your daily driver or crawling boulders, the folks at Special Events have something to trip your trigger. Tough Truck racing is one of our favs, but there's also a burnout competition, show 'n' shine, Performance Marketplace, and monster-truck and mud-bog racing. There are Jambos in a variety of cities, but we dig the Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, Summer Jamboree for its earthiness, and for sheer awe-factor nothing tops the massive Indianapolis Fall Jamboree.
More info: www.familyevents.com
Where it happens: Colorado (location varies annually)
The basics: This Mile High Jeep Club-sponsored event has an impressive history and it's been around since 1967. It has grown to a weeklong event that features trail rides in some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere. Over the years it has been based in Gunnison, Silverton, Salida, and Central City among others. In addition to awesome trail riding on legendary trails, the week's activities also feature a vendor show and huge raffle. The '09 show will be based in Leadville.
More info: www.mhjc.org
Tecate SCORE Baja 1000
Where it happens: Begins in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, and ends in La Paz
The basics: This event happens each November and is hands-down the granddaddy of all desert races. We like it so much we usually have at least two staffers directly involved. The race covers a wide variety of terrain at ultra-fast speeds and this combination makes this event arguably the ultimate test for man and machine. From high-dollar trophy trucks to low-buck buggies, it has something for everyone.
More info: www.score-international.com
Carlisle All-Truck Nationals
Where it happens: Carlisle, Pennsylvania
The basics: The folks at Carlisle Events pack a mind-blowing amount of truck-related activities into this three-day show. We're talkin' everything from monster trucks to a rockcrawl to lawnmower races to a mini Baja race and much more. There are even special appearances by celebrities. It's held at the Carlisle Fairgrounds each August.
More info: www.carsatcarlisle.com
Where it happens: Las Cruces, New Mexico
The basics: Hosted by the Las Cruces Four Wheel Drive Club, this event has been around since 1991 and takes place in February. It utilizes a variety of trails with the four hardest being outright nasty. In a good way. To give you an idea of how popular this event is, the Las Cruces Four Wheel Drive Club capped registration at 350 vehicles in 2008 to keep from overwhelming the trail system. In addition to trail rides there's also vendors and a huge raffle.
More info: www.lascrucesfourwheeldriveclub.com
Championship Off Road Racing
Where it happens: The '08 schedule included stops in Pomona and Chula Vista, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada
The basics: Championship Off Road Racing (CORR) puts two- and four-wheel-drive race trucks on a specially designed closed course in fender-to-fender racing where spectators can get a great view of all the action. It's great for those who dig the Baja 1000 but can't make the trip to Baja. In 2008 there were eight races featuring four Pro classes and three Sportsman classes. Trust us; the action is incredible and addictive.
More info: www.corracing.com