In 2000, Petersen Events Corporation put together a little show dedicated to the sport of off-roading. It took place in one building of the L.A. County Fairgrounds in Pomona, California, and was attended by many who lamented the demise of Sal Fish's old SCORE Show a few years before. The new event was a success, slated to continue, and, hopefully, grow.
Fast forward five shows later to the 2004 Off-Road Expo. The show has become the largest off-road show in the nation, overflowing from four giant buildings at the L.A. County Fairgrounds into the surrounding 8 acres and straining for still more room. This latest event's attendance figures topped 40,000, and, because of the number of people attending, it was hard to get around at times - even outside.
The show covered the complete gamut of our sport, with everything from vintage dirt bikes and race trucks to modern-day Trophy Trucks and rockcrawling vehicles. Of special interest to us were the many exhibitors dedicated to the sport of recreational trail riding and prerunning. If you had questions about suspension, axles, gearing, locking differentials, onboard air systems, or where to go to use all this equipment, you could find the answers at the Off-Road Expo.
If your brain became overloaded from checking out all the booths inside the buildings, you could walk outside, enjoy live music, and inspect the large exhibits and off-road vehicles being displayed outside. Of course, a highlight for attendees was being able to see Off-Road magazine's Super Duty project truck in the flesh. For people wanting something different, an RC car track was set up; you could purchase a car, fine-tune it, then race it right there. The Freestyle Motocross Exhibition had riders soaring four stories into the air, doing unbelievable stunts on (and off) their bikes, before landing on the exit ramp.
Those of us in the industry have been able to enjoy trade shows such as SEMA for years. The Off-Road Expo has opened up the trade-show concept to include everyone, allowing exhibitors to reach not only the industry, but the end user as well. Everyone is welcome at the Off-Road Expo, and business was brisk for those vendors who came prepared to sell products.
The 2004 Off-Road Expo was the biggest and best yet. We're sad it was only a two-day show, as it's hard to see everything in one weekend. We can only wait in anticipation to see what the 2005 Off-Road Expo has in store for those of us in the off-road community. We can safely say one thing, though - it'll be worth the wait.
Brothers Ian and Aaron Dixon spent the 2003 season motoring through the southwestern deserts in pursuit of Class 7300 gold in Best in the Desert's racing series. Class 7300, also known as Pure Stock Mini, is a racing class, with rules so restrictive, they require stock sheetmetal fenders and a stock pickup truck bed. Since modifications are so limited, Class 7300 victory requires careful race prep and judicial use of the skinny pedal once underway. Dixon Bros. Racing prevailed in 2003 and brought the 7300 crown home to Lompoc, California. Ford Motor Company took notice and provided a brand-new '04 Ranger for the new season. The Dixons now provide feedback to Dearborn, Michigan, as to what lasts and what breaks. It's just one of those dirty jobs that someone's gotta do.