The National ATV Jamboree has been around now for 16 years having just completed its sixteenth season of outstanding family adventure. In times past there has been some controversy with other groups who misunderstood how devoted these people are to using existing and approved forest trails and roads. No such controversy existed this year. If there were any antagonists around, they made no noise or visible evidence of their presence.
The City of Fillmore which sponsors the event cooperates fully with the jamboree with only minor restrictions. There are designated routes through the city which permit the use of ATV traffic. The ATV speed limit in town is 15 MPH. ATVs are to use the outer four feet of paved surface while in town. Of course all operators must be certified to participate if under the age of 16 or older for those with no valid driver's license. Certification courses are offered by the Jamboree staff for those who may need the certification
These folks start right out, come rain or shine on the last week of June every year. This year it was a much appreciated rain. The overnight ride began on Monday and braved the high altitudes and snow with amazing grace. Only two of the two dozen riders abandoned the effort due to inclimate weather. The other rides scheduled for Tuesday were also conducted with the highly recommended rain gear adopted by all. Some participants braved the cooler temperatures and rain from the safety of their RV's or hotel room.
This event was attended this year by about 12 dozen families with only a few, but very welcome individual riders.
The organization of the event has been turned over to the Millard County ATV club, the Sand Rock Ridge Riders. President Sherry Shepherd and her committee have worked tirelessly to bring together a complete and enjoyable experience for all. This year's smaller numbers made it possible for everyone to receive personalized attention. The local and national sponsors have endowed the event with copious gifts and prizes, so that every participant was recognized and received a gift in one form or another.
The riders themselves participated fully in the charitable effort by attending the progressive dinner where each course of the meal was found at different picnic sites as you progress up Chalk Creek Canyon. The proceeds from the dinner were donated to Utah Shared Access Alliance (USA-ALL) in recognition of their efforts to keep Utah's lands open for multiple use.
The focus and purpose of any jamboree is the rides. The National ATV Jamboree offered 14 separate opportunities for excitement and enjoyment of mountain and desert grandeur.
For the desert advocate the Clear Lake (bird refuge) and Lace Curtains ride was a must. This ride extends west into the desert some 40 miles and loops around to various locations including some fascinating petroglyphs. This ride is hosted by the local BLM officers who know the history of the area.
A second desert venue is also offered. This is a ride out to the lava tubes that offers a fascinating opportunity to explore natural caves formed by ancient lava flows.
For those with higher aspirations in mind
the Jamboree offers many rides that will take your breath away for their
beauty and enjoyment.
For the beginner there are the Meadow Bench, the Lakes, Robbins Valley and the Mountain Sheep rides. These were excellent opportunities for folks who were just breaking in the use of an ATV.
More advanced rides are also possible. The Fillmore Loop, Big Oaks, Coffee Peak, Devil's Arm Chair and Kimberly rides were excellent opportunities to see spectacular vistas.
Only two of the rides required a trailer to a distant trail head. The Kimberly and Gooseberry rides required a jaunt with a trailer, but both very worth the effort. The Gooseberry ride was new this year and offered the maximum in ATV trail riding enjoyment. This trail could very well be the best ATV opportunity anywhere on the planet.
For the black diamond crowd the White Sage Flats and Pioneer Trails were a test of their medal. For the first year, White Sage Flats claimed no airborne antics.
In all of this riding there was but one minor mishap. A man from Oregon rolled his ATV near the end of the Gooseberry ride. He reportedly suffered only bruised ribs, but gingerly declined future rides during the week. He's okay with no lasting adverse affects.
The social event for all participants had
to be the Poker Run conducted on Friday. Everyone left early and
made their way from Fillmore up to where breakfast was served at White
Pine Flats near the junction of the Fillmore cut off from the main Paiute
Trail. The Millard County Search and Rescue patrol helped out as
the cooks and made sure that everyone got plenty to eat. From there
the tour went to Richfield where those with poor card choices won their
prizes at low ball. Back on the trail again Lunch was served at the
same location as breakfast on your way back to Fillmore.
The rain earlier in the week made a big difference in the amount of dust you would eat. While dust is an ever present companion, even during many rainstorms, this one soaked the hills and valleys quite well and even the large group activities were enjoyable.
The events for Saturday included one last ride to Kimberly, the ATV biathlon, mud bog and pull. These events were characterized with wonderful camaraderie and enjoyment of the fellow attendees from States that included: Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Colorado, Wyoming, Nevada, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and of course, Utah.
Hats off to the volunteers, the members
of the Sand Rock Ridge Riders, who selflessly gave of their time and effort
to make this event a tremendous success. Even though the numbers
were small this year, the event brings in amazing tourism dollars, not
just from the jamboree event, but from those who will come to try the trails
used in the event. It is a wise investment to the community to host
such an event on an annual basis. Everyone benefits from the increase
of cash flow that results from this event and others like it. You
simply won't get a better bang for your recreational buck anywhere else.
Keep in mind that participants of these events are not the lawless rascals one normally associates with motorized gatherings. For the most part these are grandparents and families who simply enjoy the opportunity of off road vehicle recreation. These events are as uniquely American as the fourth of July and Veterans day. These people are, for the most part, those who would not have had the opportunity to enjoy the mountain and desert venues without motorized assistance. One couple who attended were in their eighties. John Kosart and his wife, from Tennessee made a unique couple on the trail. John is a Viet Nam vet who lost both legs and his left forearm while a Marine on active duty. He was not deterred even one bit by ferocious trails and road them with the best. They were the personal hero of all fellow participants.
I hope to join the crowd of annual participants
of this event for many years to come.
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