U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
King of the Hammers, 2012
In a world known as "Hammertown," off-road royalty enthusiasts gathered at Means Dry Lake inside the Johnson Valley OHV Area from February 5-11 for a tournament known internationally as "King of the Hammers." The weeklong events consisted of an "Every Man Challenge" on Sunday, Qualifier Courses on Tuesday and Wednesday, a UTV and Motorcycle Course on Thursday -- finishing up with the main event on Friday. Numerous staff from BLM's Barstow Field Office, along with BLM staff from the California Desert District Office, Ridgecrest, Needles, Palm Springs, Redding, Boise, Idaho Field Offices, along with over 200 event staff, and several local public agencies, were busy keeping both participants and spectators safe. (text continues below)
The event in its sixth official year has become one of California's largest off-highway special-recreation-permitted events, drawing an estimated crowd of over 30,000 people. More than 100 vendors around Hammertown provided food and off-road memorabilia. The fascination with watching "Rock-Crawlers" traverse rocky canyons and then doing high speed racing through open terrain has spread across the globe. Participants and spectators travelled from all across the United States and from Mexico, Canada, Japan, Australia, and Italy to take part in the event.
Much attention to detail went into planning and preparing to keep spectators safe. The four main spectator areas consisted of Chocolate Thunder, the Backdoor, the Jack Hammers -- and the main camp where spectators could enjoy the luxuries of Hammertown and watch the event on a Jumbotron. Three temporary microwave towers were strategically placed throughout the eighty-mile course. From a media helicopter, media personnel were capturing footage of the event in progress and posting live internet feeds. Each race vehicle was required to have a GPS and a satellite phone to ensure race participants can be tracked easily and contacted quickly if need be.
- Rusty Gates, outdoor recreation planner, BLM Barstow Field Office (February 14, 2012)