The Silver State Rock Crawling Championship (SSRCC) has concluded, and was deemed a great success by all in attendance. It was a beautiful day in the mid 80s with light clouds, which may have contributed to the awesome spectator turnout. During Friday night’s tech inspections the event still had not achieved the 50 team benchmark.
The next morning several additional teams arrived to compete bringing the total team count to 59, surpassing event organizer Jesse Haines’ expectations. Teams were categorized into five classes; street stock, legend, trial buggy, pro modified and unlimited. The biggest was the trail buggy class, which had been created just six weeks prior to the event to accommodate a total of 23 teams.
The first morning consisted of a bit of confusion and uncertainty as thing began to get rolling. The ceremonial National Anthem was sung and all in attendance knew it would be a collective effort to make the event run smoothly. The event was run by over 50 volunteers, who jumped in and were assigned their various rolls.
Some were tasked for operating the shuttle from the parking lot to the main event area, others judged the various courses for the different classes. Several volunteers brought their own rigs out to assist in the recovery of rigs that had either tipped over or were unable to move due to mechanical issues.
The day’s first flop was by Austin Falerios and Brandon Glaw, in the street stock class. It happened while they attempted an obstacle that would have garnered bonus points had they made it through the gate. Most of these rigs have tube work around the driver compartment guaranteeing the safety of the driver.
The rest of the day, many other drivers from all of the classes managed to get rubber side up and needed to be righted. Several teams were able to flip the rigs back over and continue through the course. These rigs get beat on all day long enduring damage such as; bent cages, ripped brackets, and torn sidewalls. Let’s be honest, this sport can be extremely dangerous and a driver, spotter, or even a spectator can get severely injured. While there were quite a few rollovers throughout the weekend, the events medic Rachelle Rebhan, thankfully was required only to administer a few bandaids for a couple minor injuries.
These rigs see some serious abuse.
A team that caught our eye was Team Matt Barnes. Driver Kanin Prucksakorn and spotter Justin Sipe drove Barnes’ late 90s 4runner.Prucksakorn and Barnes grew up together, and a close friendship formed through a love for off-roading.
As they grew older Barnes taught Prucksakorn to weld and both would help work on each-others rigs. Sadly in October of 2013 Barnes passed away from cancer, he was 27. Prucksakorn and Sipe met in college and continued to build Barnes’ 4Runner in his memory. They both want to continue to finish Barnes’ vision for the rig and to raise awareness not only about cancer, but also to share Barnes’ love of the off-roading lifestyle.
It is truly amazing to watch a mechanical contraption traverse over rocks and boulders that few humans would even be able to. Steep drops and cracks, seemingly impossible to climb were just some of the obstacles drivers were required to navigate around. One obstacle was sponsored by Trail Gear, drivers knew about the challenge, only five attempted it with only one team succeeding on this Matterhorn like obstacle.
Trail Gear offered them their brand new synthetic winch line as a prize for completing the obstacle. The course for all the classes were certainly a challenge for all that competed. In other events competitors complained about the ease of some of the areas.
“This has to be the largest rock crawling event in the last five to ten years.” Said Nick Poudrier. The Grand Nationals in Texas for W.E. Rock had less than 20 teams. The last event in Donner, California had less than 20 teams and certainly nowhere near the amount of spectators as the SSRCC. Jesse Haines has successfully carried out the largest Rock crawling event of this decade and has plans to make it better and bigger next year.
Jesse stated he was surprised how well the event ran and appreciated the ability to be a spectator for a bit throughout the day due to all the hard work by the volunteers. Let us know if you were at the inaugural SSRCC event and if you plan to compete, volunteer, or spectate next year in the comments below.