The Northwest Raptor Rally saw nearly 200 participants gather for the collective goal of raising awareness over OHV issues as they relate to dune access.
The Winchester Bay Dunes played host to the 3rd Annual Northwest Raptor Rally that saw over 200 participants show up on the weekend of May 13-16. Yamaha
Raptor owners and other sand dune enthusiasts descended on Half Moon Bay campground and the surrounding sand for a weekend of dune-shredding fun. The event included an array of organized rides, sand drags and hillclimbs capped off with a show and shine, organized rides and a group photo that included over 150 Yamaha Raptors and their proud owners to document the gathering. The goal was to raise awareness for the ongoing battle to save OHV dune access by showing the community those enthusiasts can be a classy element. It’s not all helmetless maniacs raising hell – in reality it’s quite the opposite and the Raptor Rally is a perfect of example of how a group of ATV
users can come together and have a great time doing what they love; riding at the dunes, baby!
Overall the Raptor Rally was a huge hit with everyone in attendance, including local officials, restaurants, hotels, gas stations and, of course, in the eyes of event organizers, Chris and Georginna Tribe. As any dune rat will tell you, there just isn’t anything like tearing it up in the sand. The climbs, bowls, descents and scenery are all a factor in the allure of the dunes. Of course, the fact that there were almost 200 like-minded souls at the rally couldn’t have hurt either.
The Raptor Rally wrap-up on Sunday gave participants a final chance to hang out, eat some BBQ and win prizes.
“I would say this was the best year yet in many ways, we may never know the days of a small Raptor rally again, but I will always do my best to keep it feeling that way,” said Raptor Rally organizer and founder, Chris Tribe. “There are so many people to thank for all the help and time put into the NW Raptor Rally the list would take up pages. I must say the biggest thank you goes out to all the people that attended this rally. I know for me and my wife and I think I speak for all the others that put in time as well the reward we receive is not measured in dollars but in smiles and memory's we hope people will keep with them. I wanted to also thank Douglas County and their support along with Doug (the camp host) and his family who did an outstand job of welcoming all the people attending the rally this year.”
The schedule of family friendly events included morning rides on Friday and Saturday, led by dune-guru Chris Tribe and other’s familiar with the area. After lunch were hillclimbs on some of the steepest dunes at Winchester Bay, and then sand drags on the wide-open flats. Recent rains had the sand in perfect condition too. At the drags, dust was kept to a minimum which allowed the spectators to get really close to the action. The sounds of a half-dozen modded 4-strokes at the line, flirting with the rev limiter before dumping the clutch and charging toward the far end of the strip was drawing riders from all across the dunes. The shrieking 2-strokes, howling Thumpers and the occasional odd-ball superbike stuffed in an ATV chassis really made the drags a fun time for all.
The Show & Shine portion of the Northwest Raptor Rally included some stunning examples of tricked-out ATVs.
In addition to some of the most highly modified Raptors on the West Coast running turbos and/or nitrous, there was an assortment of specialty and hand-crafted ATVs powered by everything from big bore 2-stroke singles all the way up to a Ducati-powered V-Twin that really got with the program. Of course there was also the supporting cast of friends and family in a variety of UTV and kids quads as well as a handful of dirt bikes and hard core duners in their pick-up trucks. So just about every off-road vehicle you can think of made an appearance throughout the weekend.
If the competition isn’t your thing then the group rides offer a low-pace alternative. It’s important to remember that the Raptor Rally is intended to be a cool place to come hang out, bring the family and ride with friends – it isn’t intended to be a full blown mullet-fest full of drunken debauchery. That’s an important aspect that Mr. Tribe and his team are keen to push from start to finish. Have fun, but don’t be dumb. This event hangs in the balance of the behavior of the participants. With approximately 12,000 acres of the steepest, gnarly dunes in the United States for your blasting pleasure, and some of the most unbelievable sights supporting the route, there’s something for everyone to have fun with. The organized rides showed newcomers what they might otherwise miss without a guide.
One of the important elements of the gathering was that it offered a low-pace alternative to competitions, and emphasized having fun over competing against each other.
Sunday’s festivities included the event wrap-up BBQ-buffet following the show and shine that afternoon. The ATVs on display were unreal. Best in Show winner featured a sick maroon paintjob wrapped around a chromed-out chassis that would make Ed Big Daddy Roth envious. Event sponsors supplied swag for the final drawing hosted by Chris and the Raptor Rally volunteers. The crowd loved every minute of it and there was a real sense of camaraderie about the group. People were laughing, partying and having a great time. Their bellies were full of BBQ and a bunch of folks walked away with prizes that included a pair of Dual Exhaust from Monster Quad as well as various trinkets, apparel and miscellaneous Raptor Rally commemorative items.
Anyone who has put on an event like this will tell you that there’s a three-part key to success. First you need to have a good cause and getting a huge group of Raptor owners in one place in a show of support for the sand dune access is as good a reason as any we’ve heard of. Second, you need to have a great destination. The Winchester Bay sand dunes were made even better thanks to some great weather, it was warm and windy at night but overall the weather held up great. The last piece of the puzzle is the people. From the volunteers to the participants, you have to have everyone working together to make an event gel. It was clear that the passion for the dunes and the passion for Yamaha Raptor ATVs was enough to keep this crowd having a great time. So next year, be sure to reserve a spot early and get your Raptor polished-up because we expect the next rally will be even bigger and better next time around.
With over a third of Oregon sand dunes under threat of restriction, the Raptor Rally urges individuals to participate and voice their concerns.
Rumor is this group wants to get the most Raptors organized in one place and set a world record in the process. If that’s going to happen, you’ll need to haul your Raptor out West and add a few more riders to the 2011 Northwest Raptor Rally group shot.
Although the event bears the name Raptor Rally, it really is an opportunity to help retain OHV access to this legendary destination. These days, the possibility of actually losing our dune access is more of a threat than ever before. When the Oregon Dunes National recreation Area started in the 1970’s there were nearly 40,000 acres of sand dune available to OHV enthusiasts. Over the years that area has been reduced to a third of the size and even more access is threatened right now. So, please be sure to let your voice be heard by going to www.savetheridersdunes.com
and help save the dunes. Sand dune and OHV access issues are not only a problem for the Oregon OHV enthusiast, as other high profile riding areas including Glamis and Sand Hollow are also at risk. We urge you to do your part and help save the riding areas we have left – you and your children will be glad you did.
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