Story By: Kyle Callen
Photos by: Tom Leigh, Jason Zindroski, Jason Stilgebouer, Ricky Birks
Playing host to the 2nd Annual EFX Tires Trail Hero SXS Rally was Sand Hollow State Park in southern Utah, any off-roaders paradise. The soft sandy dunes wind their way up the mountain as a plethora of rock trails dart off in every direction. From novice to hardcore, Sand Hollow offers a multitude of trails for every skill level. If the amazing riding wasn’t enough, almost anywhere you stop on the mountain, the views are simply incredible. The colors pop off the rocks and sand as you overlook the beautiful lake and city of Hurricane on one side, and Warner Valley and beyond on the other. It truly is one of the best riding destinations on earth.
So what happens when you take a playground like Sand Hollow and invite the industry’s biggest personalities and brands, and mix them amongst riding enthusiasts from around the country? Pure magic. In true Trail Hero fashion, the event is kicked off at Sand Hollow Resort, where the off-road community takes over the clubhouse of the #1 ranked championship golf course in Utah and has a blast. We are all here to ride and have fun, but golf is a good way to take in the beauty of the location. You get to break the ice with some new friends, as well as catch up with old ones before the helmets go on and things get serious. Sand Hollow Resort would also host the opening ceremonies Tuesday night. As people rolled in to register, the drinks were flowing, food was delicious and stories never-ending. People from around the world converge to share the same passion and there is no better way to catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a year. Once the party died down, it was time to get some sleep before trails opened up and the carnage began.
Ditching the golf carts for UTVs, the time had come to do what we all came here for. Group after group left on their guided trail, some staying back to enjoy running the trails at their own pace. One of the great things about the Rally is you have so many options. Some days you can take a guided trail where you have all the guidance you need to get through the obstacles, and other days you can go off on your own or simply explore.
Throughout the week people convened at the vendor area after they finished the trails, the stories were flying. Some headed back to their rooms to get all dolled up for the Rock Gala dinner. While others wanted more dust and grabbed the ice chests, bbq, and friends, to head out to a scenic overlook. Epic views, top notch tacos, an incredible sunset, music bumping thanks to Rockford Fosgate, and amazing friends in the middle of nowhere. This was truly a special evening.
Fat and happy, the cars loaded up for a night run back to Sand Hollow. Through the rocks and down the mountain, the Dune and Destroy crew were well out of their comfort zone. Once everyone hit the sand, it was game on. Scattering to the wind, each car found its own line and put the throttle down. Along the way, Sara Price found a great sand lip where the group stopped and took their turn to hit it. Everyone was in their element and having a blast. But like all good things, it had to come to an end. At least until daylight the next day.
As more people rolled into the State Park, the event really got into full swing on Thursday. Like every day at Trail Hero, the day begins with coffee and conversation while waiting to leave on a ride. For a lot of us, this is a great time to catch up with our buddies. As cars scattered to their trails, the day was in motion and would bring some good carnage and a lot of fun. Upon return and with little time to repair, guys scrambled to prep the cars for the EFX Tires Sandcross event. With high stakes on the line, cars lined up for their chance to win a year’s worth of bragging rights. Ryan Guidus from EFX threw his big 4 seat Can-Am into a corner a bit hard; this may have been the save of the week as the car should have gone over, but he was able to set it back down and save the run. Car after car ran for time and in the end, Darren Parsons would put on a driving clinic as he took the win over the massive list of big-name drivers and talented individuals.
With a long ride the night before and jam packed day, most were looking forward to a relaxing evening at the Raceline Beach Party Thursday night. A huge firepit and refreshments on the beach of Sand Hollow Reservoir would allow time to recharge the batteries and get ready for the following day’s events. Fridays are infamously known as a fun day at Trail Hero. We get a group together and head out on a fun, not-so-well-known trail that usually includes water. When you put professional drivers in UTVs with deep water, well… you can imagine what happens next. Kalani Corn from Rugged Radios came prepared with his unicorn floaty and board shorts. Little did he know, he would become the target for drivers to submerge the unicorn and its passenger. Pretty certain everyone involved had fun and laughed until it hurt.
After a hard day of riding, UTVs not unicorns, all the groups reconvened at the KraftWerks Grudge Match. Spectators lined the course as the team from KraftWerks put on a display of power with their supercharged UTVs. Of course, Sara Price, RJ Anderson, Dustin Jones, and others had to jump in. Pass after pass, the lanes got chewed up. However, Nick Farmer of Desert Whips rolled in and pretty much dominated every car he ran against. His RZR Turbo S with the Stage 3 Trinity Racing setup was quick, and fun to watch sling sand. Once everyone was out of gas, we switched gears and enjoyed a great concert put on by Sand Hollow Resort.
Daybreak on Sturday would mean the event was coming to a close. A few last rides in the morning would give those who still had a trail they wanted to explore to do so. But the real star of Saturday was the vendor show. Manufacturers from the Motorsports and Powersports industries were on hand to display their latest and greatest products. Boxo USA brought out their new Tool Bag, which was a big hit. It was fun to watch the public pick up and play with tools, parts, and accessories that hadn’t been released yet, and get the chance to give great face-to-face feedback to the manufacturers. As dusk fell, the main stage lit up and the live music of Jagertown filled throughout the show. Attendees danced their way through the long list of donated raffle items being drawn for. As the band took their curtain call, it was time to rip through the prizes, including a $2000 gift certificate from Rockford Fosgate, sets of EFX Tires and Fuel UTV Wheels, as well as an autographed Ken Flock signature wheel from Fuel UTV wheels. The perfect item to symbolize just how special this week was.
The 2020 EFX Tires Trail Hero SXS Rally was like no other event, in every sense of the term. Obviously, the landscape and diversity of riding is fantastic, but this is really a fun social event with a ton of riding mixed in. It is truly a great experience, in a beautiful place.