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Casey Folks, Best in the Desert president and Pahrump 250 organizer, dies

Casey Folks, Best in the Desert Racing Association leader and the ultimate organizer of off-road events in Nevada, passed away on Jan. 12. According to Best in the Desert, the organization he founded, Folks suffered a massive stroke on the morning of Jan. 7 in Parker, Arizona.

Folks was in his early 70s, according to Russ Turner of Fall Advertising, who worked with Folks and announced his passing.

The organization said in its press release that he was doing what he loved doing, “living his passion for off-road racing, getting ready to drop the flag on the latest UTV race event.”

He was best known in Pahrump for the recent Pahrump 250 and Vegas to Reno off-road races. Both events should continue on without him. It was his Bureau of Land Management contacts and organizational skills that returned the Pahrump 250 this past Dec. 3.

BITD said he was rushed to a hospital and transported by air to Las Vegas for care. Despite efforts by the best doctors in Las Vegas, Folks succumbed to the effects of a stroke on Thursday.

The off-road racing organization said Folks lived a life most of us only dream about. He was a participant, promoter and friend to the off-road racing industry.

An ardent competitor, Folks raced motorcycles between the ages of 21 and 45. He won 16 championships in his career and in 1980, was the first to iron man the Baja 1000 and finish. He was the only person to finish every Barstow to Vegas race.

In 1968, Folks started Sportsman Cycle Sales with his racing partner, Tom Scales. Together they opened up as a Husqvarna dealer with only two motorcycles. One was Folks’ race bike and the other was Tom’s race bike. Sportsman Cycle grew into the premier motorcycle racing shop in Las Vegas. The shop and Folks nurtured many racers that went on to have very successful racing careers. In 1988, Folks passed the baton to his oldest son Daryl and he then started Best in the Desert Racing Association.

At first, Best in the Desert was just for motorcycles. Folks in 1996 introduced “Vegas to Reno”, adding cars, trucks and quads to his races for the first time. Due to hard work and sheer passion, Folks’ Best in the Desert Off-Road Racing Series grew into one of the best in the nation.

Folks was a racer and he competed in almost every type of off-road event throughout the western United States. His portfolio included over 30 races in Baja, Mexico, and the Tunisia Rally in Northern Africa. He served as the American consultant for the Incas Rally in Peru and was the event coordinator for the Nevada Rally, representing the company “Acerbis Adventure” based in Italy.

Folks was inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2012, joining the ranks of off-road racing’s greatest legends and honored by off-road racers worldwide.

His many friends at the Bureau of Land Management had respect and trust in Folks’ judgment and stated that Folks’ high standards established the rules for safety in off-road desert racing.

He is survived by the love of his life, Diane DeLauer; son Daryl Folks and his wife Sheri; his son Bryan Folks; his sister Joan Ragona-Suarez and three beautiful granddaughters: Adrianna, Morgan and Marlee.

BITD said the off-road racer created memorable moments for thousands and thousands of people.

“We thank him for a lifetime of dedication to the sport we all love,” BITD said. “As life goes on, and we continue to experience the passion of off-road racing, his legacy will live on. Remember the words he lived by, ‘Life is an adventure. Come live your adventure with Best in the Desert.’ Folks’ life was truly an adventure, and we will always treasure our memories of him.”

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at vhee@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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