By VERNON ROBISON
Moapa Valley Progress
In its 37th year, the annual Hump N Bump event came to Logandale again last weekend, bringing with it 4-wheel drive enthusiasts from all over the globe. About 230 off-road vehicles and their crews began gathering at the Clark County Fairgrounds on Thursday night for the three-day event organized by the Vegas Valley 4-Wheelers (VV4W) club. By Friday morning, the RV camping area was at near capacity and the trail-riding fun was in full swing.
“I’d venture to say that it was our biggest year ever,” said Jeff Jorgensen of VV4W. “Every year we seem to break our previous records.”
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 the nearby Logandale Trails area to tackle the day’s challenges.
With names like Rock Bottom trails, Matterhorn, 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.
Indeed there were a few such mishaps. Jorgensen said that the VV4W recovery crew helped a couple of drivers who had rolled their vehicles over on trail rides, though no one was injured during the event.
Fame of the Hump N Bump has grown over the years and reached an international audience. This year, a film crew of nearly two dozen people came from France to film the Hump N Bump action. Also photographers and journalist from various off-roader magazines were in attendance.
Many of the participants travelled significant distances to ride in the event.
Lemuel Foster, who goes by the nickname ‘Mule’, came all the way from Austin, Texas to attend the Hump N Bump. Travelling over 1,300 miles, he brought a unique off-road vehicle he calls “Mule-zilla.”
“Mule-zilla” is a screaming, custom-built, rock-crawling buggy, adorned with the red, white and blue colors of the Texas flag where Mule calls home. Of course, the flag design with its distinctive single white star, is only recognizable by observers when the “Mule-zilla” goes into a vertical climb; which it does often and with relative ease.
Mule said that the vehicle began its life several years ago as a Ford F-350 Crew Cab truck. But you’d never suspect that from looking at it today.
“As things break or wear out, you fix them, change them and improve things little by little,” Mule said. “Pretty soon you have a whole different machine.”
Driving a more standard Jeep Wrangler were Craig and Lona McVeay who were visiting the Logandale Trails area for the first time last weekend. The couple has lived in Las Vegas for the past three years. They built and modified their rig in their previous home of northern Virginia with a very different kind of trail in mind. But they were enjoying putting their vehicle through its paces on the desert trails of the southwest.
“We are just amazed by the beauty of this area!” said Craig. “We love it. And the Logandale Trails area is so clean. We have gone out riding on trails around Las Vegas and there is just trash everywhere that people have dumped. This area has obviously been taken good care of. We definitely plan to come back.”
While the main arena of the event was on the trails, the fun didn’t end when the participants returned to camp. New to the Hump N Bump this year was a remote control (RC) 4-wheel-drive expo put on by Axial Racing and Rivas Concepts.
The empty lot south of the Logandale Fire Department was tranformed into a miniature extreme off-road course for 1/10 scale RC 4WD vehicles. The public, both young and old, could to try their hand at guiding the small vehicles through the course, free of charge.
Anthony Rivas of Rivas Concepts has made a career out of creating custom builds of RC vehicles, made to order. He also designs and builds environments and courses for the vehicles and then photographs and films the miniature vehicles in these realistic environments.
Rivas spent about six hours in advance last week laying out the course, which came complete with steep rock climbs, mud bogs, log bridges, river crossings and more. Later in the week, with the help of eight local volunteers he built what he had envisioned. Water for the course was provided by the Logandale Fire Department #73. Rock material was donated by Legacy Rock. And night lighting was provided by Overton Power District.
Rivas said that the RC hobby has become an international sensation. “It is really more than just a hobby,” Rivas said. “It is a lifestyle. It is an outdoor adventure with a tight-knit community that stretches all over the world.”
Rivas said that he often works with people who have a full-sized off-road vehicle and want to have a 1/10 scale miniature replica built of their rig.
Fellow RC enthusiast Ben Thomas, who helped Rivas in organizing the event, said that he had even known people who had started with a 1/10 scale vehicle that they loved and then built a full-size vehicle to match it.
The RC event drew a crowd all its own. RC enthusiasts Brian Mud and Chris Rappel drove 18 hours from Calgary, Alberta Canada to attend, lend their expertise and help out.
“We love to come down here, especially when the weather gets cold up north,” said Mud. “The Logandale Trails area is a fantastic place to run these vehicles. So we are here to have a good time.”
Jorgensen acknowledged community partners that helped to make the Hump N Bump event run smoothly. These included Logandale Fire Station #73, Clark County Public Works for freshly grading the road to the Logandale Trails area in the days before the event, and local contractor Bob McCormick for providing a water truck for dust control.
Jorgensen also lauded the efforts of local organization Partners in Conservation (PIC) for its work in coordinating the event.
“We appreciate all the work that PIC does in its stewardship over the area and in coordinating with the BLM,” Jorgensen said. “They are our local land use advocate and they are a valuable partner.”