100,000 people get wild in the sand
While most of the United States is bracing for winter, the Southwest off-roading season is just getting started and in true Polaris fashion, the manufacturer kicked the season off with a bang. Camp RZR West is, without a doubt, one of the must-attend UTV events of the year and this year was no exception.
With over 100,000 people flocking to the dunes for Halloween every year, Glamis presents the perfect opportunity for Polaris to say ‘Thank you’ to the enthusiasts who have made the RZR the best selling Sport Side-by-Side in the world.
This year’s schedule of events included demo rides on all of the latest Polaris vehicles (including the newly released RZR XP Turbo 4), a photo scavenger hunt, show ’n shine, and trick or treating for the kids. Another addition that was announced just days before the event was the Terracross racing season finale.
On Friday afternoon, Mother Nature decided to liven things up with high winds, which ultimately pushed the opening of Camp RZR Village back a few hours. This actually worked in our favor as we were late to the party and by the time we arrived, any chance of getting some seat time that day had come and gone. Camp RZR Village is the central hub for the entire event where attendees can check out all of the latest vehicles from Polaris, as well as the newest products from some of the biggest aftermarket companies in the industry. They can also take a spin on the Polaris Prize wheel for a shot at over $200,000 in prizes from Polaris and other sponsors.
Mornings in Glamis are a great time to get photos, particularly after a night of heavy winds like the one we had experienced. The aftermath left us with miles of pure untracked sand, perfect for shaking down the new XP Turbo 4. Initially we were a tad skeptical about how much the added weight and longer wheelbase would affect the performance of the vehicle, but quickly realized our doubts were misguided as the four-seat version is every bit as much fun to drive in the sand as the two-seat model. Power comes on strong and is always there when you need it. The longer wheelbase helps the RZR XP Turbo 4 handle extremely well in the whoops. It felt a tad shaky around 50 mph hour, but when we blasted through the whoops again, this time with a passenger riding shotgun, the extra weight helped balance out the car and we could drive through the whoops under control at almost any speed we wanted.
After an hour or so in the sand it was time to head back to Camp RZR Village to see what Polaris had in store for the day. The jam-packed schedule kicked off with a free breakfast sponsored by Fox Shox at Duner’s Diner and continued throughout the day with Terracross racing, giveaways and much more. The involvement of the Terracross series proved to be a big hit as it provided nearly nonstop action all weekend long.
With the wind delays from the night before, Terracross started the day off running the main event for round 5 first thing in the morning, before starting all over again with qualifying races for round 6. To maximize each tour stop, organizers run two separate races at each location, allowing racers multiple opportunities to secure points towards the season championship.
During a short break in the racing action, Polaris invited a number of its sponsored racers, as well as fans, to participate in the celebrity 170 race. Apparently this year the 170 race was not merely a spectator sport as fans had the opportunity to line the course and pelt the drivers with water balloons. Adding to the excitement (or simply to make the whole experience a little more laughable), the people lobbing water balloons where dressed in banana costumes. Everyone seemed to have a good time and when the checkered flag fell, RJ Andersen, or rather Harry Potter, took the overall while the Jack Links Sasquatch looked on.
One event that is well worth checking out is the show ’n shine, where many of the industry’s most insanely built UTVs are put on display. We recognized a number of the high profile builds from the Sand Sports Super Show as well as a few new ones we had yet to see in person, including the RZR XP Turbo used in the latest XP1K video featuring RJ Anderson. Both enthusiasts and builders were encouraged to enter with the attendees themselves voting on the winners.
Pro Line Wrap’s AtomaChrome RZR XP Turbo took home the top honors as well as the $500 cash prize, which owner Andrew Madrid donated to the Warfighter Made project. In fact, all three finalists donated their winnings to the organization, which provides recreational therapy to wounded veterans. Warfighter Made has burst onto the UTV scene in recent years because of the services they provide veterans and Polaris has generously donated several vehicles to the organization to help them provide much needed support to vets and their families.
With a few hours to kill before the big finale, we managed to commandeer a YXZ1000R from Tim Berendes of SDR Motorsports and hit the dunes one last time before nightfall. The new Yamaha offers a unique driving experience and if we’re completely honest, we’re still getting used to shifting. We managed to drive a couple of different YXZs over the course of the weekend, each with a different tire and wheel setup, which we found had a significant impact on the overall driving experience.
Back at Camp RZR Village, trick or treating was in full affect as both kids and adults alike appeared in costume to collect candy on vendor row. A number of vendors played the part as well, appearing in costume and helping make it a memorable event for even the youngest among us. The entire event is family friendly with tons of opportunities for kids to get involved and win prizes.
Speaking of prizes, as the sun finally set, tens of thousands of people packed the main stage area for the premier of the new XP1K3 video and to find out if they were one of four lucky winners to take home a brand new Polaris XP Turbo. Following the video premier, Polaris invited ten individuals to take a seat on stage as they built suspense for the big giveaway. One by one, after a round of musical chairs, each of the ten finalists opened an envelope that had been taped to the bottom of their chairs revealing the four winners.
After the winners were announced, the Terracross racers took to the track one final time for the Round 6 finale under the lights. Women’s Motocross racer, Sara Price held the lead in the women’s race from start to finish, giving her a clean sweep for the weekend as well as earning her the 2015 Terracross championship crown. In the men’s class Mitch Guthrie Jr. capitalized on a first-turn mishap that stalled almost half the field and put on an impressive showing all the way to the finish line, but it was last year’s champion. Jason Luburgh. who went on to claim the title of Terracross Champion.
No trip to Glamis would be complete without a late night run to Oldsmobile Hill, so with Camp RZR Village being dismantled behind us we followed the long trail of taillights out to the popular gathering spot. The headlights, taillights and whip flags of hundreds of machines climbing every which way provided a spectacular light show as our weekend in Glamis drew to a close.
Although it was a quick trip, it served as a great reminder of why we’re glad to be a part of this industry. RZR General Manager Michael Erickson said it best from the stage just before giving away the four RZR XP Turbos. “Camp RZR is about saying thank you to all of the people who make Polaris RZR what it is.” We couldn’t agree more.