King Crawlers look toward the possiblity of a challenge park
|Members of the King Crawlers organization enjoy climbing steep hills and cruising rocky roads. The group is now seeking support to construct a challenge park in Carbon County.|
A couple of months ago a group calling themselves the Castle Country King Crawlers approached the county commission about possibly setting up an OHV/4X4 challenge park near the fairgrounds.
As the commissioners began to question what they really wanted, the members of the club realized that what they were asking for wasn't what they really wanted at all; they wanted more.
The commissioners told them to come back with a concept plan based on having enough space to do what they want and to look to build something that would be world class. So the president of the club, Scot Edwards, and some of the members got together, looked around for a piece of suitable real estate, found what they needed and drew up a plan. It was that design that they brought to a meeting with Commissioner Mike Milovich last week in hopes of gaining county support.
Unveiled on the computer screen in the commission chambers, the map of the layout was impressive for those in the know: hill climbing, a tank trap, mud bogging, a car crush course, a log course, a rock garden, an FTI ramp, a vehicle teeter totter and even a tug of war track. No venue in the state, much less in the country minus one in California would be able to sport all of those challenges.
"This would be a national class, maybe a world class venue for people to come to," said Edwards. "In this state various places have certain pieces of this puzzle, but we would have it all."
That could be a boom to Carbon County, both in terms of fun and money. Rock crawling and the related events tied to it are big business in many places, and with this type of facility lots of dollars could roll into Carbon County.
"We envision two meets a year," stated Edwards. "The first in the spring would be regional, more local for us to compete with each other and those in the local area," he explained. "In the fall we would have a national event. We have already had contacts on this that if it is built there are some big interested parties."
And besides the money that would come into town through the purchase of food, fuel and motel rooms, parts would be a big deal. People who roll their machines over rocks and logs, push them through mud and up hills and pull weights much greater than the weight of the vehicles tend to break things on those vehicles; all kinds of things.
"There tend to be a lot of broken parts on the rigs when we do this," noted Edwards.
But first it must be totally designed and built and that is why the group was approaching the commission.
"We have found 40 acres north of the airport that the county owns and have laid out a course on paper there," Edwards told Milovich.
From there the club members proceeded to show Milovich photos of the different challenges they could picture constructed on the property and how those various venues would work.
Of course there is always that famous sticking point of everything: money.
"We don't have a lot of money, but with the county's help, many of these venues can be constructed without much out of pocket expense," Edwards told the commissioner. "And we have a lot of people to do lots of labor."
In actuality the club didn't want much to set up the course, just the use of the land and some help with heavy equipment, but as the discussion went on, it was obvious some more concept work needed to be done. For instance, the club wanted to put some type of sled together for the weight pull on which blocks could be stacked as weight was increased. But the photo they used to illustrate what they wanted came from a park in California that uses a specially designed trailer that increases in weight the farther down the course the vehicle pulls it.
"Why use a sled with blocks when you could have a trailer like that one," Milovich asked the group. "I know you are trying to keep the cost on this down, but I have learned something over the years about building these kinds of things. You should design it as good as you want it and then adjust down. What we have found that is if people come to the facility and are impressed they will return. If they are not they will not return."
Milovich also brought up the fact that the design should meet some type of national or international specifications for safety and performance. The club members were not sure if such things existed, but said they would do further research.
"What we envision is an open park where people can use it when they want," said Edwards. "This could grow the sport locally as well as give us a place where people from all over would want to come to for competition."
It was also pointed out that this park could be used for more than just four wheel drive vehicles and modifieds, but also for trials motorcycles, a sport that has been popular in Europe for decades and is growing quickly in the United States.
In the end those attending could see more planning needed to be done before the idea even began to reach a state of reality. Yet the concept is viable and could be a big plus for the Carbon area.