By VERNON ROBISON
Moapa Valley Progress
More than 600 people gathered at the Logandale Fairgrounds last weekend for the 35th annual Hump N Bump event, presented by Partners in Conservation (PIC) and the Vegas Valley 4-Wheelers club (VV4W). This year’s event broke all previous attendance records with about 230 off-road vehicles participating.
The Hump N Bump, which features gravity-defying rock crawls and adrenaline pumping vertical climbs in the nearby Logandale Trails area, has become world famous. Media outlets from all over the world clamour to come out to Logandale to cover the event.
This year a film crew of 12 came from France to produce a TV show about the Hump N Bump. Also photographers and journalists from magazines like Action 4×4, Dirt Sports and JP Magazine were on hand to cover all of the off-road mayhem.
Event organizer Jeff Jorgensen, of VV4W, said that registration for the event had filled up early this year. The group’s permit has a limit of 200 registered vehicle participants, not including trail guide and support vehicles. In the past, the most they have had attending is 150. But this year the demand was particularly high.
“We got the word out that people needed to act fast if they wanted a spot,” Jorgensen said. “In the first week we received more than $12,000 in registration fees. We were full in the first weekend of registration.”
The participants began gathering at the fairgrounds on Thursday night. They camped in RV spots or just set up tents on the south end of the lawn.
Hump n Bump action started at first light on Friday morning. Rock crawlers, buggies and custom Jeeps lined up in the parking lot early to get a start on one of the seven trails that they had signed up to try. Then the drivers all set out to tackle the trails. With names like Rock Bottom trails, Bronco Falls and The Shedder; these trails had been rated by a system of 1 to 5 in difficulty.
Most of the trails are in the 3-4 range. But that didn’t mean they are easy going. Each of them have their “Whoa!” moments where the vehicle must be navigated down a steep grade, over extremely rough terrain or up a vertical face of rock. One wrong move by the operator could send a vehicle rolling end-over-end down the cliff.
There were some tricky moments like that over the weekend. Two vehicles experienced rollovers, though they were not on official Hump N Bump guided trails. And there were the normal number of broken driver shafts, axles and U-joints. Fortunately, no one was injured.
“It is part of the game that you play in this kind of event,” Jorgensen said. “The important part is that everyone is all strapped in and prepared for the worst and no one gets hurt.”
Jorgensen said that one of the top priorities of the event is safety. The group takes great pains to prepare for ever eventuality and keep the participants and spectators from getting hurt. Each trail challenge has at least one guide assigned to it. This person is an expert “spotter” who stands outside the vehicle and shouts instructions to the driver on how to navigate the challenge.
“We start way before the event with doing pre-runs of all the trails in order to train the trail guides,” Jorgensen said. “They become familiar with the trails they will be running and they learn the proper lines and approaches to each obstacle.”
It took a small army of volunteers to keep the event running smoothly throughout the weekend. The VV4W had enlisted around 85 volunteers from various area off-roader clubs to help on the trails and with other logistical details. Members of the Moapa Valley Rotary Club also spent the weekend out on the trails in their customary role as community ambassadors. They were extra busy, however, in encouraging safety procedures and in managing the spectating public.
“We want people to come out as spectators and watch this event,” said PIC Administrator Elise McAllister who coordinated the volunteer efforts. “The Rotarians have been a huge help out there in protecting the resource, making sure that people are staying on the designated roads and trails; and in keeping the crowds safe by marking out designated spectator areas. We really appreciate all of their efforts out there.”
On Friday evening, Logandale Fire Station 73 provided a special activity to the Hump N Bump participants as well as the community. Called “The Elegant Driver” competition, the activity tested drivers’ abilities to tread lightly in their driving habits.
The firefighters had set up a special course on the property just south of the fire station. Contestants had to navigate their vehicles through a low-speed obstacle course where they were required to avoid spinning tires, making dust or bumping into barriers and other obstacles.
About 40 contestants participated in the course competing for the top three spots which were awarded trophies and gift cards. “It was great fun and everyone had a good time with it,” said Jorgensen. “We appreciate the fire department volunteers for setting it up.”
After two days of trail riding thrills, all of the participants gathered in the Glenn Hardy Building at the fairgrounds on Saturday night for a barbecue dinner catered by John Mull’s Road Kill Grill. Nearly $7,000 in raffle tickets were sold that night in a monster raffle with a huge variety of great prizes.
Jorgensen said that once the proceeds of this year’s landmark event have been tabulated, the VV4W organization will once again send a large portion of the money back into Moapa Valley community organizations that have helped with the event. That includes groups like PIC, the Logandale Volunteer Fire Station #73 and the local Metro station. The organization also plans to give a cash donation to support the Cappalappa Family Resource Center, he said.
“We like to give back to the community that have been so welcoming and good to us,” Jorgensen said. “We appreciate all of the local support.