In years past, the bulk of the vehicles that one would see at the Sand Sports Super Show were LS-powered sand cars that cost over $70,000. They had paintjobs that would make Chuck Barris proud and were made for those who called Glamis home. But the times have changed.
When we entered the 16th Annual Sand Sports Super Show at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, California, held on September 19-21, 2014, the first thing we saw was a side-by-side. Then, we saw more of them—a lot more. In fact, they were everywhere. The UTV revolution is well underway, and we love it.
Don’t get us wrong; we enjoy floating over the sand as much as anyone. But we tend to like it as a part of our off-roading experience, not the only one. Give us a gnarly trail or a fast section of desert, and we’re all sorts of happy.
That seems to be the prevailing attitude of many as the Polaris RZR, Can-Am’s Maverick, Yamaha’s new Viking, and the one that started it all, the Rhino, have changed the face of not only off-roading but outdoors activities as well. When you can get a very dirt-capable two-seat vehicle for under $30K, that’s a bargain. The new RZR XP1000 Desert Edition especially intrigues us, but outdoorsmen of every stripe seem to be flocking to them thanks to their availability in two- or four-seat configurations.
The Sand Sport show is all about the aftermarket though, and as usual the various companies had parts for all types of off-road vehicles; though many were displaying parts for, you guessed it, UTVs. It seemed that every booth had at least one of them displaying their wares, even if they were items like lights that could be found on any off-roader.
Many of the major manufacturers were on hand, with Can-Am, Kawasaki, and Toyo having huge displays of their toys, while 4 Wheel Parts, Pro Armor, Method, and KC Hilites were all well represented outside.
There are also huge halls (air conditioned!), where folks such as Berts’ Mega Mall, Chaparral, Vision X, King Shocks, and PCI gave the showgoers plenty to see and do. Ex-racers Ivan Stewart and Walker Evans also had parts to show off, and the big news is that Stewart was promoting the grand opening of his new San Diego store.
While the product focus may have evolved with the Sand Sports Super Show, the result is the same. It had a great variety of off-road parts and companies, it had Robbie Gordon and his group racing hard for two nights, and it had a throng of people who were enjoying the great venue that is the OC Fair and Event Center. Not to mention the fact that there were corn dogs.
Yes, things have changed at the SSSS, but we think that the change is for the better. We’ll be back next year.