— Where to ride, by Tim Tolleson —
Being a part of the ATV/UTV-enthusiast press, I’m blessed with invitations to several jamborees and riding parks across the country, with no less than nine jamborees in Utah alone. Most recently, Yamaha brought the press to Brimstone Recreation in Huntsville, Tennessee, for Brimstone’s Paragon event so we could experience the GYTR-modified YXZ1000R. We even had a backstage lounge for the Hank Williams Jr. concert on Saturday night, but you don’t have to be a magazine editor to get the VIP treatment at the many UTV/ATV jamborees across this great nation. From January through December, organizers put on multi-day jamborees to showcase their state’s OHV opportunities, whether they be private parks like Brimstone, Windrock Park or Badlands; public lands like Utah’s BLM/USFS-managed Moab trails, Paiute trails/Fishlake NF or Sand Hollow State Park, or government/private partnerships like West Virginia’s Hatfield-McCoy trails. And, there are several reasons to attend a jamboree besides riding trails. We’ll use Brimstone’s Paragon as an example.
Learning the trails: Brimstone Paragon is one of the few jamborees that doesn’t do guided rides, because the majority of the 12,091 Paragon attendees are yearly permit holders and know all of the 300 miles of trails. But, if you’re new to an OHV area, guided rides with lead, sweep and radio communications are a great way to learn new trails, and the guides also help if you break down. Brimstone has a new Brimstone Connection app for IOS and Android with features like an interactive trail map, trail news and weather conditions. Get it at www.brimstoneparagon.com or the Apple App Store. Even with this or Polaris’ GPS Trail app, having experienced guides the first few times is a great way to get up to speed.
Honing your skills: Besides tackling new and tougher trails, jamboree participants can enter various competitions like the Paragon Obstacle-Course Challenge. Tim Spreitzer, Tyee Curry, Nathan Whiteaker and Travis Skelton won their Obstacle-Course classes, and Ben and Jade Seigler showed speed in 2WD and 4WD ATV drags. Many jamborees also have rodeo events like pole bending (slalom), sled pull and blindfold races (see the Idaho UTV Invasion coverage). Competition is a great way to make new friends and learn more about your machine as well.
Trying out new UTVs and ATVs: Manufacturers sponsor and support jamborees to showcase their products, and the best part of that is demoing new rides like the 2017 Yamaha YXZ1000RSS and Wolverine 700. Arctic Cat, Can-Am, Kawasaki, Polaris and Yamaha hold demos at several jamborees, shows and expos throughout the year, so check out the schedule in this magazine and manufacturers’ or jamboree promoters’ websites for demo schedules.
Fun zones and vendor rows: Jamborees are a great place to check out the latest OHV products, participate in family activities and get great bargains on everything UTV-related. Many aftermarket companies have show pricing and even labor-free installation. Most jams have regional foods, from Tennessee’s pulled-pork sandwiches to east Texas BBQ and cajun food stands. The Paiute Trail Jamboree even has belly-flop and mud-run competitions that give kids big fun and winners big bucks. Most jams have night entertainment, like UTV drive-ins at Camp RZRs or the Yamaha concert stage at Brimstone and the High Lifter Mud Nationals. Paragon featured a Saturday-night concert with Amanda McBryde, Brandon Lay and Hank Williams Jr.
Product raffles: Besides offering great deals on UTV hardware and gear, most jamborees have at least one raffle, and vendors and sponsors give away truckloads of free stuff. Paragon had swag from Yamaha, GBC, Warn, SuperATV and Camp Chef, but the ultimate giveaway at Brimstone is the Wild Mountain Rampage (WMR). The WMR is a geo-cache competition that combines mastery of riding skills, GPS navigation or map-reading skills and trail knowledge. At each stop on Saturday’s scavenger hunt, entrants could get extra WMR points for completing physical challenges and finding the Mad Hatter. Competition winners also got extra points. The first person to complete the WMR got 30 points. WMR finishers got 10 points. Most Instagram likes at #BrimsoneRocks got five points. Competition entrants got two points, and all jamboree wristbands got a point. The top-10 points holders then got to pick a paddle on the Yamaha concert stage, and Kentuckian Blake Taylor’s paddle had the key to a brand-new Yamaha YXZ1000R Sport Shift! At 12,091 to 1, the chances are better at Brimstone than winning the Powerball Lotto, for sure. Polaris gives away a new RZR XP and Ace at the High Lifter Mud Nationals, too, and many jamborees donate raffle proceeds to organizations that fight for our UTV rights.
There are also many more reasons to attend a jamboree, like making new friends, catching up with old friends, and even having OHV family vacations. At the Rocky Mountain Jamboree in Richfield, Utah, we met a whole riding club that loaded up the 18-wheeler with UTVs and ATVs and drove 2500-plus miles to spend a week on the Paiute trail before the jamboree started. If I still lived in Roanoke, Virginia, I would be a member of that club. Next, the UTV Action crew will attend the SxS Adventure at Sand Hollow State Park near Hurricane, Utah. Stop by and grab some free magazines, and maybe go home with a Camp Chef BBQ grill.