Southern California is the mecca for desert off-road. Drivers, teams, and fans are all over the area. What a better way to get everyone together, then to have an event that showcases the industry?
Off Road Nights (ORN) is a local event that brings out some of the biggest names in the industry every year to show off what we all love – off-road. This year’s event took place on August 6th at the Promenade Mall in Temecula, California. Close to 10,000 people showed up with over 100 vendors on display came out to this unique event.
Of course, a successful event needs a promoter that is just as passionate about the industry as the people are. “I was very happy with the growth and success of this year’s festival,” promoter Rat Sult explained. “Once again, the event doubled in size. My favorite part was seeing all the off-road families with kids having a great time.”
Sometimes, shows can get out of hand with people tending to show off outside the gates. Sult said, “With all the craziness, there wasn’t a single problem or ticket given. It just shows how awesome the off-road community is.”
The list of things-to-do at the event was long: car crush, live demonstrations, vendor alley, kids zone, beer garden, live music, and of course, plenty of off-road vehicle out on display. For this year’s event, Off Road Xtreme was out showing off two of our project vehicles.
We had Project Redneck and Project Storm Trooper for all to see. Redneck was donning its newly completed green roll cage, and Storm Trooper was stretching its front suspension. People had the opportunity to see what we do up close and personal, because as we all know, some pictures do not do justice.
Vehicles on display ranged from 2016 Baja 500 winner Tavo Vildosola’s Trophy Truck to street-legal prerunners to Jeeps of all shapes and sizes. One of our favorite things to do is walk around and check out the rigs on display to see what the owners have done to make them unique. As we walked through the show, we could see people who still had works-in-progress to trucks ready for racing.
One vehicle that really caught our attention was sitting right inside the main gate. It was a Funco F9 sand car with a Game of Thrones theme. Everything of importance from the show was captured in this high-power sandrail.
On top of everything at the show, it was still great for the whole family. The kid’s zone stayed busy throughout the day with the help of the Wired For Sound school bus putting out some good tunes. In addition to the bus, a Temecula local band, Shoot 4 Tuezday, rocked the main stage during the evening as it played covers of all the great rock and roll jams.
This event is really two different shows, since the show crosses from day to night. The night allows owners to showcase their LED arrangements and light up the night. The ambience is definitely something different come dusk.
Under the lights, the awards for the year went out. Winners were chosen for Best Garage Build, Street Legal Prerunner, Best Race Truck, and the crowning of Miss ORN. Miss ORN is selected from a group of ladies that are active in the lifestyle and are symbolic of the off-road community. This year’s winner was Journee Richardson, who is the driver of her very own Class 1/2 1600. She races in the Mojave Off Road Racing Enthusiasts (MORE) and Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiasts (SNORE) series in California and Nevada.
“I am honored to be chosen as Miss Off Road Nights 2016,” Richardson said. “The candidates in this year’s contest were all gorgeous, beautiful, off-roading women who are highly involved in the sport and represent the community in a positive, uplifting way. I just happened to be the lucky one who gets to wear the crown. I look forward to representing the off-road community in the next year and finishing off the race season in my buggy. See y’all in the dirt!”
We caught up with Tyler Francis from RSO Performance to get his take on the show. “It is very easy as a vendor to get a spot and show off our products in a city that’s blowing up in the off-road industry,” he said. “It’s very easy to show local consumers who we are and what we do since we don’t have a street front location. Plus, we get to come out and check out a lot of insane rigs!”
“The show is fun for the whole family, cheap, easy to get to, and a way to get a sneak preview of what’s to come in the upcoming off-road season,” Francis continued. “You get to meet a lot of companies who send out reputable employees for questions and concerns about products or warranties. We’ve gone the last two years and our booth is non-stop busy.”
The highlight of this year’s show may have happened late in the night, but it without a doubt did not disappoint. Robby Gordon returned from testing in Parker, Arizona, trailering in his Trophy Truck and Arctic Cat UTV to put on a show.
Not every day do you see a Trophy Truck doing donuts in the mall parking lot. The roar of his 900-horsepower truck rang through the area, bringing everyone who remained to the rail. Gordon was able to mesmerize the crowd with his Speed Energy truck, but even more so driving on two wheels in his Arctic Cat.
The end of the demonstration brought an end to the 2016 Off Road Nights dirt lifestyle festival. We will all have to wait and see what 2017 brings. Be sure to check out the gallery below with all of the pictures from the show!