Five Ways to Make the Most of UTV Takeover
Sun, sand and serious fun were on deck at this years UTV Takeover in Oregon.
While the number of events focused around UTVs continues to grow exponentially each year, not all are created equal. Organizers are working harder and harder to create the ultimate action-packed fun experience for off-road enthusiasts of all ages, and UTV Takeover is one that consistently brings more to the table year after year!
UTV Takeover is held at the southern portion of the Oregon dunes near Coos Bay. In just three years it has grown significantly, and is vying for the title of Oregon’s premier UTV event. While there are some familiar activities that UTV Takeover and other events share, this event has put its own spin on some old favorites, and seems to be striking a chord with attendees.
Rather than give you our play by play of the week at the 2018 UTV Takeover, we thought we’d focus on a few of the must see activities to ensure you know exactly what to expect should you decide to attend next year. These are our top five ways to get the most out of UTV Takeover.
EXPLORE THE AREA
While there’s no shortage of things to do during the event, to spend a long weekend at the Oregon dunes, only to camp out in the activities area would be tragic. Especially when you have as much accessible land to explore as this particular area offers.
The Coos Bay sand dunes are the southernmost portion of three separate dune riding areas that make up the Oregon Dunes National Recreation area (ODNRA.) Coos Bay offers the largest (and in our opinion) most diverse area for exploring thanks to its combination of open dunes, sandy trails and of course the beach.
Top off your fuel tank and make the trek from the event area at Box Car Hill Campground all the way to Spinreel Hill, the northernmost point of the dunes. Make a left from there and head southwest out to the beach where you can either ride the entire 7 miles back down the coast or weave your way through the coastal vegetation back to the main dunes. You’ll encounter plenty of scenery and numerous freshwater lakes, something you definitely won’t find in Glamis.
CATCH THE SHORT COURSE RACE
Like most events, UTV Takeover incorporated a number of racing events in the schedule including drag racing and barrel racing but probably the one that drew the most attention was the UTV Short Course race.
Rather than a traditional race where several competitors duke it out and whoever gets the holeshot generally leads all the way to the checkers, this event was run in a single elimination, head to head format. The unique thing about it, is that the drivers were actually racing on two separate courses that crossed at one point. Each driver would have to complete a lap on each course before making it to the finish line.
If you’re thinking “that’s terribly dangerous, what if they collide” don’t be alarmed. One course was significantly shorter than the other and the point at which the two course merged was early in the lap for one racer and late in the lap for the second racer.
It really made for interesting racing as neither driver had any idea where they were in relation to the other until the final 100 yards or so of the race. At this point, both courses came down a straightaway into a sweeping right hand turn that lead to the finish. If the two drivers were side by side, the inside driver had it every time. But because this is the first place either driver could gauge how close they were to each other, it made for some spectacular finishes and some wild driving.
Props to the course creators for thinking outside the box and coming up with such a unique course, and a format that really levels the playing field. Last years Huckfest champion Al McBeth who made the trip down from Canada ended up taking top honors.
ENJOY THE LIGHT SHOW
One of the highlights of riding in the dunes is venturing out at night under a starry sky and watching thousands of LEDs dart across the dunes. We’ve seen some nighttime group rides in our day but the folks at UTV Takeover take it to a whole new level.
As the sun begins to set, hundreds of UTVs line up in Vendor Row and along the entrance to the dunes waiting for “the signal.” It’s not supposed to be a race but you’d have a hard time convincing some people that, as they jockey for position while darting in and out of line.
The trail of LEDs snakes its way through the dunes before pausing to regroup a few miles from where it started. We picked an elevated spot to observe the whole thing and we’d liken it to an army of ants scurrying about a morsel of food dropped on the ground. If you’ve ever witnessed Oldsmobile Hill in Glamis at night, it’s kind of like that, maybe better.
GET A GOOD SEAT FOR THE HUCKFEST
As the saying goes, if you build it they will come, and when it’s time to line the hillside for the Humbolt Motorsports Huckfest, people come out in droves. It’s hard to say whether the crowd enjoys a big crash or a huge jump more, but from a thrill factor, this is probably the most popular event of the week.
After setting a sand to sand world distance record at last years event, Al McBeth was the favorite to win again this year. Unfortunately windy conditions stifled the jumpers a bit and the event was nearly canceled. However, after a practice run, a few drivers threw caution into the wind (literally) and went for it. Each jumper was given three jumps and when it was all said and done, Cole Freiday launched his Can-Am Maverick X3 137 feet for the win. Though not quite as eventful as the previous year, the wind really upped the sketch factor and there were a few close calls to keep the crowd on its toes.
TAKE IN THE VENDOR ROW
What’s a UTV event without a host of industry companies showing off their latest and greatest products? The Monster Energy vendor row at UTV Takeover was very impressive, with both local and national companies onsite. To add to the “family” aspect of the event, a BBQ contest that doubled as a potluck was held on Thursday night, with the winner taking home a brand new smoker from Green Mountain Grills. Anyone could participate in the potluck by simply bringing a dish to share. It may be 2018, but this nod to “the old days” when everyone knew their neighbors and got together for community meals put a smile on our faces.
Vendor row is also where attendees could score some major prizes as more than $20,000 worth of product was given away throughout the weekend. Everything from T-shirts to radios, tires, wheels, winches and performance goodies.
The moral of the story is, if you can’t find something to enjoy at UTV Takeover, you probably don’t have a pulse. It was clear as day that fun times were being had by all, every day, and all throughout the event. With thousands of acres of accessible sand dunes, cool coastal temperatures, and scenery that is unrivaled by any other dune location in the country, this section of the Oregon dunes is an ideal place for an event, and UTV Takeover definitely does not disappoint.