So ok, while Stacie and I may be day-dreaming of the old Wild West, we really did see this happen in the famous western town of Elko, Nevada during the 3rd Annual ATV Jamboree orchestrated by the Elko Convention and Visitors Authority (ECVA). It was a blast and we were thrilled to be included.
About 100 participants came from all over to join in on the ATV (quad) fun in the deserts and mountains of Elko, NV, off I-80 in about the middle of the state. We spoke with folks from Minnesota, Montana and California, and nearly everyone said they were coming back next year to have more fun.
The ATV Jamboree is another extension of the “Explore Elko” program, the town’s motto and motor-friendly attitude. In fact, Elko boasts itself as the motorized recreation capital of the West. We have been to this high desert town many times and have found this to be totally true. Elko businesses and town fathers encourage responsible recreation of all types four-wheel drive, ATV, snowmobile, boating, and dirt bikes as well as about anything else you can think of.
Elko is an ideal place to recreate and explore. Just to mention a few amenities, it has:
Over 2,500 Hotel Rooms
2 Golf Courses to get you started.
The gunman scene above was the start of the ATV Rodeo on the last day of the Jamboree. Big Dave Tilger, Manager of Wright Motor Co. (Polaris Dealer), organized the rodeo, built the course, and included his high dollar paint gun to kick off the ride with a target shooting contest. The “mighty stead” was the nearby quad. Each rodeo contestant had to shoot the targets, jump on their machine, start it, and race through a technical course that included cones, turns, bumps, water puddles, and other fun obstacles all for time.
Ray Scissons, the first rodeo contestant, ended up winning several trophies with his Polaris 600 and smiling the whole day long. “Everything seemed to click for me, and my Polaris never skipped a beat,” he told us. There were categories for two- cycle, 4-stroke, and even events for the kids. The crowd watched from adjacent bleachers and cheered on the riders.
Pam Borda, Executive Director of the nearby Spring Creek Homeowners Association, was the organizer and on the ground leader of the Jamboree. She has led this event all three years and loves to ride. The ATV title also includes UTV’s (side-by-side), and her ride of choice happened to be the Polaris Ranger, well set up for trails and backcountry adventure.
Stacie and I were amazed at how green the desert was this time of year where Pam was guiding us. Yellow sunflowers dotted the desert and green grass poked up everywhere. Pam took us through some breath-taking country and treated us to a lovely lunch in Lamoille. From our lunch stop we could look right up to the Ruby Mountains the Nevada Alps as they are known by the locals.
“Elko believes in responsible motorized recreation and we encourage folks to visit our area any time of year. This Jamboree is just one way of us showing our commitment to riding, adventure, freedom and the great outdoors,” Pam said.
For the five days of the Jamboree, riders could choose from several different rides each day. Pam’s crew of helpers led the tours and ensured the participants had a great time. We followed Pam on the Lamoille Canyon Run in a borrowed Polaris Ranger from Big Dave. What a ball! The Ranger drove like a dream and performed wonderfully. It turned out to be ideally set up for exploring as we could drive it and still enjoy the scenery.
And scenery there was! Lamoille Canyon divides the Ruby Mountains and runs from desert floor to nearly 9000 feet elevation. What a gorgeous mountain range! Snow-covered rugged peaks reaching over 11,000 feet, laced with aspen groves and spring colors surrounded us. If you’re lucky, you can spot Mountain Goats, Big Horn Sheep and abundant Mule Deer in the majestic canyon that these critters call home.
Our adventure took us from sagebrush to snow-capped peaks, all in one easy day. Lamoille Canyon is USDA Forest Service, and they provided us a guide so we could drive our rigs on the pavement to the end of the road and enjoy the entire canyon safely.
To add emphasis to how friendly Elko is to motors, our ride to Lamoille even had a police escort all the way through town as our convoy of ATV’s motored down the pavement waving at the locals who smiled back at us and our unusual motorcade. Charlie Myers, Elko County Commissioner and ride participant, told us: “We have the support of local businesses and elected officials here in the town of Elko and Elko County so that we can enjoy riding any time of year. It’s a great place to live, shop and visit.”
We have to agree with Charlie. Elko welcomes you and your recreation. We also noticed that folks were smart about using their motors, followed good ethics and Tread Lightly principles and obeyed the rules. Respect for private property was also noteworthy. These folks like to play, but they play with manners and courtesy. And nearly everywhere you go, you’ll see American flags. This is one town where patriotism rules.
Elko’s reputation as a motorized recreation Mecca comes largely in part from the Convention and Visitors Authority efforts. Tom Lester, ECVA Tourism Director, pointed out that they had been promoting Explore Elko for years, and encouraging folks to enjoy the many and varied aspects of this unique area. “Our modern convention center is ideal for about any gathering you can think of, and the marvelous folks of Elko love to have visitors,” added Tom. Stacie and I can personally attest to that.
Tom was able to obtain some funding assistance to orchestrate the Jamboree through the program that BlueRibbon Coalition helped start the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). But more importantly, the local businesses also kicked in to sponsor this event. Sponsors and donors included every bank in town; Wright Motor Co. (Polaris Dealer); the Newmont and Barrick gold mines; Gold Country Inn & Casino; Wells Propane; Northern NV Enterprise; Dale White Motors; Riverton Elko GM Superstore, Atlas Capco and many other local businesses.
Dick and Leona Wright of Wright Motor Company (one of the main sponsors) are life-long residents of Elko, and have been in business there since 1952, selling everything from Studebakers to Ramblers to Jeeps and Polaris ATVs. “You won’t find a better place to live or recreate,” said Leona, “we love it here and the people that make up our great town.”
The 4th Annual ATV Jamboree is already in the planning stages for 2008. Put it on your calendar and make it if you can. Visit www.exploreelko.com for ongoing updates of the happenings in Elko, Nevada.
The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible use of public and private lands, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,100 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. Call 1-800-258-3742 and visit BRC online at www.sharetrails.org. Learn more about Del & Stacie at www.delalbright.com.