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South Dakota Rocking

Posted in Events on January 28, 2004
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Contributors: Rick Péwé
131 0401 Dako Sprlft Photo 9618618
Hal Johns is a trail for well-equipped rigs only. With eight obstacles such as Skyscraper, Too Long, Stupid, and Slimer, it becomes an all-day affair before the famous Waterfall is reached. Pat Helgeson is a regular from North Dakota, and showed us the right line over this lone boulder. Going around is an option, but what fun would that be?

The Dakota Territory conjures up images of the Old West, the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, or maybe even Sturgis for the cycle jockeys. But for 4x4 action, the place to be in this state is the Dakota Territory Challenge, put on by the Black Hills 4-Wheelers each fall. We've covered this event before in "Surf South Dakota" (Aug. '95) and "Cowbunga" (Feb. '96), but it's been a while since we've been there. New trails have been opened to 'wheel along with old favorites such as Hal Johns and Lower Buzzworm.

Limited to about a hundred entries, the runs fill up fast on trails ranging from scenic to more than hard-core. With ratings of 5+, descriptions start out with "No novice drivers, dangerous situations, maximum ground clearance, lowest gears, two lockers, working winch, and vehicle damage assured." After tagging along we can vouch for the accuracy of the descriptions, as lesser vehicles should not tread if they don't wish to be left impaled on the obstacles. We even have expanded video coverage of this event on our Web site for your viewing pleasure ( For more information on next year's event contact the Black Hills 4-Wheelers at and sign up early.

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