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The 2012 Chile Challenge Event

Posted in Events on August 1, 2012
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One of our favorite events to cover is the Chile Challenge out of Las Cruces, New Mexico, put on by the Las Cruces Four Wheel Drive Club. We were first invited by the local 4x4 shop owners, Jim Huff and his wife Nancy, back in the early ’90s. The trails at the time were extreme for the day and included Wolf and Guardian, which are unfortunately no longer available. As techniques, trails, and tales evolved over the past 22 years, so have the vehicles and drivers, and now hardcore choices such as Tabasco Twister and Patzcuaro’s Revenge rank among the extreme trails in the entire U.S.

This year Huff was on the vendor committee for the event, and he helped get 20 vendors and sponsors—with GenRight as the title sponsor—and a host of others who traveled far and wide to show their wares and be part of the camaraderie and killer trails. In addition, the club showcased a memorial to Jim’s wife Nancy, who passed away after last year’s event, and also for renowned wheeler and shop owner Harold Off of Off Again Off Road, who also passed away last year (shortly after Moab). The annual ice cream social was dedicated to the two, and we miss them both. But that’s one great thing about the event; it’s like a family party and everyone is welcome, from newbie to old grizzled trail riders, and it’s been that way through the years.

The last obstacle on Habanero Falls is a sneaky one. The idea is to stay left until the last moment, then do a full right lock and cruise on up. Doug McBurnie, Jason Bunch, and Walker Evans have all done this obstacle many a time, and were on hand to help spot the rest of their crew through the slot. The Saturday Spectator run allows newbies to easily wheel to the end of this trail, just so they know what to expect on a hardcore run.

As always, the forces of politics and trail closures weigh heavily on any club hosting trail events on public land. There’s always a lot of work for this type of event, and we have to hand it to the club for pulling it off yet again. If you can help with next year’s event or even do something to fight trail closures, contact the Las Cruces Four Wheel Drive Club at And make sure you register for next year’s Chile Challenge.

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