Nevada backcountry movie premiere in Beatty

It is not often that a movie premiere takes place in Beatty.

Backcountry Discovery Routes held a first-viewing of its new DVD Friday, June 16, at the Beatty Community Center.

The movie chronicles the initial run of the newly-developed Nevada Backcountry Discovery Route, which begins in Oatman, Arizona, and ends in Jarbidge, Nevada, near the Idaho state line.

The route, designed for riders of adventure motorcycles, and formed by connecting existing public access roads, involves over a thousand miles of varied terrain, from desert sand to mountain ridges. Stops along the way include Primm, Pahrump, Beatty, Gold Point, Goldfield, Tonopah, Austin and Elko.

Nevada is the seventh state to have a Backcountry Discovery Route. In fact, Jarbidge ends the Nevada Backcountry Discovery Route and starts the one in Idaho.

What’s involved

Curtis Cummings and Jeff Anderson, from Great Southwest Moto Adventures, introduced the movie and gave an overview of the sport of adventure motorcycling and the Backcountry Discovery Route program.

Adventure motorcycles are built to be street legal but good for off-road travel. They cost anywhere from about $17,000 to $28,000.

The people who ride them are typically successful business and professional people, mostly age 50 and up.

Cummings and Anderson spoke of the economic impact on rural communities along the route. Riders come to town looking for food, fuel, and lodging. Although they carry camping gear, after a long, dusty day on the trail they look forward to a shower and a bed, neither of which have to be fancy.

They said that experience tells them that there should be 1,200 to 1,500 riders on the Nevada Backcountry Discovery Routes in the first year. Just before coming to Beatty for the premiere, they rode a second backcountry discovery route in development on the eastern side of the state.

How it works

Adventure riders are not racers. They are more into enjoying the scenery and the challenge of the ride.

They usually ride in small groups, sometimes alone. Some have already shown up patronizing Beatty businesses. The folks at the Happy Burro say that they have found them to be very nice, respectful customers.

Many of the riders, said Cummings, are foreign tourists who are in love with a nostalgic image of the Old West. They are thrilled by the wide-open spaces and the wild horses and burros.

Some in the audience were concerned about the impact on dirt roads, based on experience with off-road races in the area.

Cummings said he used to be part of the off-road racing scene, having come to Beatty decades ago to race motorcycles during the Beatty Burro Races. He and Anderson stressed that adventure motorcycle riders are not racing and that the routes they use are generally not what racers look for.

Cummings said they are interested in preservation. “I want my children and grandchildren to be able to ride these routes.”

The last part of the movie showed the riders struggling to make their way through miles of deep snow on the way into Jarbidge, and Cummings admitted that October may have been the wrong time to make the trial run.

In fact, although some riders may run the entire route in one trip, it is likely that most will ride the southern part one time of the year and the northern part another time.

Richard Stephens is a freelance reporter living in Beatty.