Moab, Utah, is THE off-road playground of all playgrounds.
Trails galore; some of the most rugged natural beauty you’ll find anywhere in the world; and an open-arms policy towards people on side-by-sides, ATVs, Jeeps, motorcycles and mountain bikes.
Which are all reasons why the 2016 Rally on the Rocks was a great place to be last week.
Rally on the Rocks is an annual event for UTV riders to experience the hundreds (and hundreds) of miles of off-road trails in the Moab area. The trails range from fairly easy-going stuff to some of the gnarliest rock-crawling routes you’ll find anywhere in the world.
The town rolls out the red carpet for all off-roaders. As a major sponsor of the event, Arctic Cat does the same carpet roll for customers who either have the brand’s machines or are looking to test ride some.
Every morning during the rally, groups line up in a staging area to experience one of the many rides on tap for the day. Once lined up, a police escort is given (on the highway and town roads!) to get to and from certain trail heads. That’s so dang cool!
The landscape of Moab is unlike anywhere except Four Corners area of the Southwestern U.S.
The riding here involves a lot of rock crawling, which is technical, slow paced and thrilling because of the ultra steep sections that you go up/down along established routes.
While red rock rules the geography around Moab and the Colorado River cuts its path through the area (think of Moab as the beginning of the Grand Canyon), the La Sal Mountains frame a stunning backdrop, especially when covered in snow.
One of my rides during the rally was with the Patriots & Heroes Outdoors crew. They’re an organization that provides outdoor experiences to military vets, as well as an affiliated television show that highlights such adventures. Arctic Cat has partnered with Patriots & Heroes Outdoors to help provide cool opportunities for vets.
Vets Ryan Pella and Amanda Almanza were treated to a couple days in Moab on behalf of Patriots & Outdoors. It was their first experience on UTVs and both were PUMPED about it.
The Cat/Patriots group poses during a lunch stop on Fins n Things.
Military vet Amanda Almanza flashes a smile during her first crawl down some rocks on the Fins n Things route.
Arctic Cat had a display of many off-road products as well as Demo Ride opportunities.
A complimentary BBQ dinner was provided to all Rally participants, with awesome food cooked up by Kenny Grundhaus and Nancy Finck and served with a smile.
Grab some goodies before leaving the booth!
The first off-road company to offer Virtual Reality experiences for its products, Arctic Cat unveiled a new VR UTV session just in time for Moab. This is a REALLY cool technology that gives users an interactive experience of “riding” snowmobiles and UTVs. The program launched this spring and an increasing number of Cat dealerships will offer VR at their stores. Definitely something to check out.
My trip to Moab also included a day on the Behind the Rocks trail, which was another perfect example of the greatness that Moab offers.
Lots of crawling on some really tricky routes, including “Up Chuck.” Here Brian Swearingen from UTVWeekly.com creeps down some steep stuff. These routes were originally created for Jeeps and other “larger” crawlers, so they’re extra thrilling on shorter-wheelbase UTVs.
Jeremy Houle from Speedwerx was roosting the heck out of the dune area by Behind the Rocks aboard a Procharger supercharger-equipped Wildcat X. This boosted rocket is an absolute hoot to hammer on, and something I’ll do a story on this summer.
See that little bit of white underneath the massive rock? That’s where we ate our trailside lunch on Behind the Rocks. Pretty rad!
The crew from Campchef.com delivered a meal that would be worthy of an anniversary dinner to appease a spouse who just learned that you bought a new UTV or snowmobile without their consent (not that I or my friends know anything about such selfish behavior).
In just one lunch sitting, I consumed 12 lbs. of slow-cooked pork and beef courtesy of Campchef. Delicious!
Three-image sequence above: Proving that even the smallest UTV is dang capable of doing some really gnarly stuff, Team Arctic racer (and Arctic Cat dealer/owner of D & P Performance) Dean Bulloch takes a stock Arctic Cat Wildcat Trail down “Up Chuck.” One false move, one too-quick blip of the gas, and this baby is in for an “exciting” ride.
Bulloch is an outstanding best rock crawler and UTV driver, so it was like a walk through the park for him.
Speaking of “outstanding”, off-road race legend (and many-time winner of the Baja 1000) Chuck Dempsey joined in the fun by launching a Wildcat Sport like it was no big deal. Dempsey also just launched Dempsey Off-Road Adventures, a UTV tour experience in Las Vegas utilizing Arctic Cat Wildcats.
Moab in general (and Rally on the Rocks) in particular is an ideal vacation option. Arctic Cat Chief Marketing Officer Greg Williamson (middle) was joined by his brothers Dave (left) and Tom for some fun. They were all smiles after a day of red rock crawling.
Likewise, it was a great trip for me (left), Chuck Dempsey (center) and Arctic Cat’s Kale Wainer. Lots of laughs, great adventure and awesome people. Chuck might still be mad that we swiped all the towels from his hotel bathroom (while he was showering) and might still be digesting two days worth of Campchef cuisine, but that’s the price they pay for the experience of rallying on the rocks.
Thanks for reading, see you at ROTR next year!