BLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, issue 520

Hill Climbs and Sand Drags at Dumont

a sand drag racer kicks up a rooster tail of sand as spectators watch

The line was drawn in the sand on Presidents Day Weekend at Dumont Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Area … as to who could climb Banshee Hill the highest, the fastest -- and the slowest. More than 30 participants from the Las Vegas Jeep Club competed in the hill climbs on Saturday, celebrating the annual event for the 40th time.

To help speed up interest in the competition near the end of the day, the participants actually slowed down… w-a-y down… to a "Snail-Race" in which participants go as slow as possible but must maintain constant motion up the hill. The last one up the hill is crowned the winner. Saturday night consisted of a potluck and video show celebrating "The Big 40" with a tribute to the Pioneers of Sand Racing at Dumont Dunes OHV Area. (text continues below)

an off-road vehicle climbs a sand dune as drivers watch from beside their Jeeps
Jeeps waiting to do the steep hill climb competition at Banshee Hill

four Jeeps kick up rooster tails at the bottom of a sand dune
Snail Racing at Banshee Hill

With nice sunny weather on Sunday morning, participants moved from the hill climbs to the sand drags on the flat terrain at the base of Banshee Hill.. Spectators lined up to watch sand fly high during the drag races, as participants in high-horse-powered vehicles competed for the best time down the 100 yard track.

Awards were given out for the hill climbs and sand drags, as well as best engineered vehicle, best appearing, a hard luck award, a fools award, and a longest distance travelled award.

The Las Vegas Jeep Club was formed in the mid-1960s by various off-road enthusiasts, some of them members of the Sheriff's Jeep Posse. As popularity of the club grew over the next several years, the club opened the competition up to all four-wheel drive vehicles, not just Jeeps. Because the majority of the vehicles are modified with bigger tires, modified chassis, and high-horse-powered engines, the vehicles are not street legal, which drew the club to Dumont Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Area.      

Jeeps lined up in the sand
Jeeps lining up waiting for their chance to take the lead spot in the Sand Drags

trailers and vehicles arranged across a wide expanse of desert
An estimated 15,000 people traveled to play in the sand dunes at Dumont over Presidents Day Weekend. Numerous Barstow BLM Staff, along with staff from California State Office, California Desert District Office, Needles, Eagle Lake, Arcata, and Twin Falls, ID, Field Offices were busy assisting the public with safety education contacts, fee compliance, enforcement contacts, and medical calls.

Presidents Day Weekend is the unofficial end of the riding season at Dumont, as temperatures can exceed 120 degrees F in the summer. Dumont Dunes is located approximately 35 miles north of Baker, California on Highway 127, adjacent to Death Valley National Park.

two women stand outside a low building among the sand
Debbie Flores, BLM Barstow Field Office budget technician, visits with Cathi Bailey, BLM California state lead outdoor recreation planner, outside Dumont's New Visitor Center -- which was a surplus FEMA trailer that was recently remodeled into the new Visitor Center. 

four people stand near a temporary stop sign
Tim Hough, Jim Shearer, David Roan, and Cathi Bailey were kept busy through the weekend doing fee compliance checks near the fee station.

a small all-terrain vehicle tows a sand drag rail
A different form of a jeep drag!

- Rusty Gates, outdoor recreation planner, BLM Barstow Office (Feb. 22, 2012)

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 520 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.