Early October found us making our way to Hurricane, Utah, for the 2nd Annual Trail Hero event. Set among the slickrock and sand dunes of Sand Mountain, the ORV area that’s part of the 20,000-acre Sand Hollow Recreation Area, this event offered something for everyone. During the 4-day event participants could hit over 28 different trails in 80-plus runs offered, watch the All Pro Trail Breaker Challenge, take in the Lasernut Rock Race, and attend the 1-day vendor show. This event truly had it all. The first and second days offered some very special trail runs, a Special Needs Access trail, and a Veteran’s Access run. These trail rides are tailored for those folks who might require special assistance, and/or those who have never had the opportunity to experience the Jeep or off-road lifestyle.
Many in the off-road community know that the Hurricane, Utah, area is faced with losing public lands. Rich Klein started this event in 2016 to raise awareness of these issues in and around the great state of Utah, and this isn’t just a local problem—it is a national one. Klein enlisted UPLA (Utah Public Lands Alliance) and U4WDA (Utah 4 Wheel Drive Association) to help raise funds through this event to help retain access for not only the off-road community, but also for people who have special needs¬ and can only experience the great outdoors with vehicle access. A charity raffle was held at the end of the vendor show, and those funds help keep our public lands accessible for all. Most of the event is free for the public to attend, but there is a fee to run the daily trails.
One of the best things about this event is that participants don’t have to give up a trail ride to watch the afternoon activities. The 2017 Trail Hero organizers knew that everyone wanted to experience the entire event. Trail runs were planned with that in mind, leaving early and concluding just after lunch, allowing everyone enough time to find that perfect spot to watch a different event each afternoon. Plans are already set in place for the 2018 event, and registration is open as of March 1. For additional information on the event and to find out how to register head over to thetrailhero.com.
Sand Hollow has something for everyone when it comes to terrain and trails. It offers everything in one place. You can go from surfing the dunes to a challenging crawl through the slickrock in a matter of minutes.
Spencer Noack was our trail leader on Plan B. He experienced a little issue with his TJ on the trail, but was able to get it taken care of and was back on the trail later. When Spencer isn’t out hamming it up (or is that hammering it up?) on the trail he spends his time as a helicopter pilot and EMS Captain.
Kevin and Bambi Martens came all the way from Virginia to attend Trail Hero. Kevin had a little “oops” on one of the obstacles in The Maze. With a little help from a few friends their YJ was set rubber-side down and they continued the trail. No injuries to occupant or Jeep! Bambi wisely stepped out of the Jeep prior to the attempt.
Tire pressure and throttle control are necessary when wheeling at Sand Mountain, whether you are playing on the rocks or in the sand. Knowing when to give it that little bump and when to air down just a little more can make all the difference.
Everyone was invited to try Bounty Hill. It was $10 per 10-minute attempt, and all proceeds went to UPLA. This challenge was open to all vehicles, and you had the choice of two routes: the harder “Pro” line for a chance at a $1,000 payout or the easier “Sportsman” line on which participants raced for a trophy.
Darin Doucette piloted his Desert Turtle Racing 4500 class TJ to 5th place in the Lasernut Rock Race. This race is a combination of extreme rockcrawling and high-speed desert racing on a short course. The 2-mile-long course at the Trail Hero event allowed the public to view it from multiple vantage points.
Saturday afternoon participants headed in to downtown Hurricane for the vendor show, live music, food, and the raffle. The event is held in the park next to registration headquarters at the Hurricane Community Center. More than 30 off-road vendors were in attendance.
Crowds flocked to the All Pro Trail Breaker event to see if any of the top 12 pro drivers could conquer all three lines of this untried ground. The location was kept secret until the day before, at which time drivers were allowed to walk the course and form their plan of attack. Once the challenge began only one driver at a time was allowed on the course, and the other competitors weren’t allowed to watch. Jesse Haines took top honors, with 2nd place going to Cody Waggoner and 3rd to Dave Wong.