By Vern Hee
The Vegas to Reno off-road race is billed as the longest race of its kind in the U.S. It went off without a hitch last Friday, Aug. 13 from its starting point in Beatty.
It was the Best in the Desert Racing Association’s 17th annual race.
“We had a record entry that left the starting line. It was the largest Vegas to Reno ever. What we spend across rural Nevada is in the millions of dollars. It is the biggest day of the year for many of the rural towns where the race goes through. One town, Hawthorne, ran out of diesel fuel. It is just an incredible event,” said Casey Folks, race director.
The Best in the Desert Association has three major categories of racers for this large off-road event: motorcycle, car/truck and UTV. The winner of the motorcycle category was Robby Bell of Meniffe, Calif. and David Pearson of Panaca, NV. In the Car and Truck category, Garrick, Danny and Trevor Freitas from Tulare, Calif., along with Steve Shahan, also of Tulare, Calif., took first place. The UTV category was won by Scott Kiger of Waynesburg, Pa., Mark Holtz of Lynden, Wash., and William Yokley of Hopkinsville, Ky. All finishes are unofficial and provided by Best in the Desert Racing Association.
The race twists its way near towns like Hawthorne, Mina and Tonopah on the way up to Reno. According to Folks, the race start and finish will never change.
“The only thing that changes about this race is the middle which varies from year to year,” said Folks.
Each year the event brings much needed revenue to the hard-hit rural towns of central Nevada.
“We bring in an incredible amount of money for the small towns like Beatty,” said Folks.
“Here in Beatty the customers are non-stop from Thursday morning all the way to Friday evening just before the start of the race,” said Terri Davis, manager of the Beatty Rebel gas station. The Beatty Chamber of Commerce said businesses much appreciated the sold- out rooms on Thursday night before the race. Beatty has 350 hotel rooms and all of them were used for the event. In addition, the Best in the Desert Association donates $500 to the Beatty fire department and to the Beatty High School.