|2014 UTV Invasion at the Idaho Dunes
By Cody Hooper
UTV Invasion has a nice ring to it, does it not? The thought of a large sum of the vehicles we work with day to day meeting up at a destination to put the hammer down in the sand was something we couldnt let go of. So for Labor Day weekend, 2014, UTVGuide.net teamed up with Idaho Dunes RV, Fullerton Sand Sports, Supercross.com, and many more to put together a huge party in the heart of St. Anthony Sand Dunes Recreation Area. The Idaho dunes are expansive- covering over 10,000 acres in a long, L-shaped layout, you can find anything from small, easily-transitioned dunes to massive, near mile-wide bowls. Idaho Dunes RVs slogan- Dont let the big dunes scare you, definitely comes to life when you roll through the massive sand hills near Devils Dune and Choke Cherry Hill. At over 5,000 ft elevation, its also a testing ground for horsepower, as the oxygen-rich air prevalent in places like Glamis and the Oregon dunes thins out to choke down some of your UTVs breathing.
The Idaho dunes are positioned between farm country and hills, offering lakes, flatlands, large hills, and trails lined with vegetation. Saint Anthony offers an expansive riding experience, highlighted by some of the massive dunes that lay to the Northeast. It is a riding area that is both beginner-friendly and challenging for even the most advanced dune riders.
Choosing your riding trails offer surprisingly easy rides- the dunes get more treacherous and steeper the farther east you go. We spend a ton of time playing in the vast sandscape, and some very interesting terrain types are prevalent. One of our favorite spots was The Staircase behind Thunder Mountain, appropriately named after its appearance as a large set of dune steps. This area is home to many fast floater jumps, which we took advantage of! While not quite as expansive as Glamis, we didnt get bored in 7 days of riding here, always discovering new spots to play in. Make sure to visit the big dunes- the scale of these monstrous mountains will astound you. Sand bowls towering hundreds of feet above the valley make the largest of sand cars look like ants running around the bowls.
The meet was hosted at the Idaho Dunes RV camping grounds, located at 1695 E 500 N, St. Anthony, Idaho. The large grounds contain 56 RV camp sites with concrete patios, water, power, and sewer (in some spots), plus another 25 acres of dry camping. Direct access to the dunes and a general store with many amenities make the stay a very pleasant one. Public restrooms and showers are large, clean, and abundant, with trash receptacles easily accessible. The grounds keepers are friendly and accommodating, going out of their way to ensure your stay is comfortable. The camp ground is clean and easy to navigate, with a hard-packed sandy soil that is easy to navigate in any vehicle. If you camp in the full hookup spots, you will be fairly close to your neighbors, but the spots are staggered as to not put campers door to door. Power and water is plentiful in the 56 hookup spots, and the cement patios help keep some sand out of your trailer or motorhome.
We started the week off early, arriving Tuesday and setting up camp. This gave us a couple days to help set up festivities, photograph some feature cars, and get out for a little dune therapy of our own. As we watched the campers and tents roll in, it became apparent that the term UTV Invasion was applicable- there were hundreds of UTVs being unloaded on the sandy grounds. Event participants were required to register at the store to receive their bracelets, which would allow them to participate in the upcoming festivities.
By the time Friday rolled around, the party was in full swing. While the turbo guys were all busy tuning and testing their cars for the inevitable races up Thunder Mountain, games began back at Idaho Dunes RV with the Teeter Totter. Two pivoting ramps were set up in the sand, where contestants had a two-minute time limit to drive their car up onto the ramps, find the balance point, and hold for as long as possible. While it may sound easy, just shifting in your seat can cause one of the ramp ends to drop, ending your time. In the end, it was Doug Tolbert, a local, in his Polaris RZR that had the longest time, taking home a set of STI HD-5 Beadlock wheels! Later that day, a large group ride took place, taking off through the dunes and ending at Thunder Mountain for some hill-shooting action. A perfectly placed launch ramp allows big-power cars to lay down a hard start before the hill. On Friday, the boys from K&T Performance and Packard were laying down very impressive hill climbs in their turbo cars.
Saturday morning, Supercross.com hosted a Poker Run with six stops. Five of them were mandatory, and fairly close to the camp ground, but the sixth stop- positioned in the middle of Devils Dune, had the guys from SLP (Starting Line Products) handing out a 6th card, or wild card if you will. Surprisingly, many of the participants made the trek through windy conditions into the heart of the big dunes to receive their wild card.
The first stop (and card) was issued at the sign up booth, hosted by Team Meyer Media. The second stop took drivers out to Egin Lake, a beautiful spot on the edge of the dunes that offers breathtaking scenery. Devious Powersports was posted at this stop with their tricked-out Wildcat, handing out the second card. The third stop was hosted by TMW Off-Road, positioned at Thunder Mountain. While the guys at TMW were handing out the third card, duners couldnt resist shooting up the steep hill before heading out!
Stop number four was hosted by HCR Racing / MCX USA, and it was positioned near the flag pole at the dune entrance. All stops had to be completed in order, so from here, it was a dash to the finish. Muzzys held the final card back at vendor row, and it was only a short jog from their booth to turn the cards in. The Supercross.com Poker Run saw hundreds of participants handing in their slips in the end.
While the festivities were going on Friday and Saturday, Dobeck Performance was on hand with a tricked-out dyno trailer to record runs in the horsepower challenge. Everything from RZR 170s to Mavericks to Hayabusa-powered turbo RZRs ran on the dyno for free, and Dobeck even offered tuning help and troubleshooting during the weekend.
The National Guard brought out a rock-climbing wall for the young and spry, and a burger stand cooking delicious cheeseburgers was running full-tilt all weekend.
More fast-paced group rides continued Saturday, but inclement weather and a rather large, looming thunderstorm postponed the Show and Shine Competition. UTV Guide, Fullerton Sand Sports, Muzzys, K&T Performance, TMW Off-Road, SLP, and many more vendors decided to call it a day and head out to the dunes for some more fun, mixing it up with the campers and stopping at key spots to shoot video and photos. At Thunder Mountain, it became an all-out war for speed supremacy. After a heated three-way battle between Boondocker, Packard, and K&T, it was the K&T / SuperCross.com Turbo RZR 900 that took top honors on Saturday in the unofficial shootout.
Sunday Morning saw another huge group ride leave at 11 A.M., with dozens of cars in tow. The crew traveled by Thunder Mountain and Egin Lake then out to the big dunes. Down Choke Cherry and then out to Devil’s Dune. A small raffle kicked in and t-shirts were given away from Ragged Edge, UTVGuide.net and Fullerton Sand Sports. And the top two winners walked away with KC HiLites LED lights.
After a little morning fun, dozens of owners started cleaning and prepping their rides for the Show N Shine competition. At 4 oclock, the judging began. Rigid Industries hosted the Show N Shine, giving out tons of great prizes for the contestants. There were four categories- First through Third, Best in Show, and Best Daily Driver. After a surprisingly unanimous judging process, the winners were decided. Third Place went to Travis Gardner and his Kombustion Motorsports XP900-4, dubbed Blue Knight. Clean skull graphics, beautiful cage and door work, and a crazy custom sound system highlighted the build. Second place went to the over-the-top QuickSand Motorsports K1, a sheet metal covered ghost of a RZR 900 complete with HCR Long-travel and a 300+ horsepower Turbo Apex engine swap. First place went to the Muchmore family at K&T Performance for their beautiful boosted XP1K-4, draped in a custom light blue metallic paint and boasting a radical turbocharged engine.
Best Daily Driver went to Tim McCollister in his 9/11 Tribute 900 XP, decked out in patriotic livery. The very clean car is a tribute to the men and women who protect our country, and it was a hands-down winner. In the end, it was Jon Wolf of Wolf Designs that took home best in show with his insanely-beautiful green metallic XP1K. The large-flake metallic vinyl wrap glistened brightly in the Idaho sun, catching the eyes of the public and the judges.
A few hour break after the Show N Shine gave way to more dune riding, as the weather began to clear up and the sun shone down on the now very damp sand. Traction was at an all-time high, meaning the turbo guys were putting down some very fast passes at the hill. Back at camp, promoters were gearing up for the huge prize raffle, where dozens of prizes were given away, including jackets, race radios, light bars, harnesses, and even an XP1K rollcage built by Buckshot Racing. Meanwhile, the Arachnaphobia Monster truck was offering rides for any takers willing to climb up into the tall beast!
Sunday Nights party ended with a live concert presented by Wolf Designs. Kole Moulton and Lonely Road played a great show on the outdoor stage, with both standing room and UTV seating available (if you brought your own). The crowd went wild for the show, making for a memorable closing to the holiday weekend. The event was a great success, and we couldnt have done it without the sponsors and attendees that showed up. Idaho Dunes RV, Fullerton Sand Sports, UTVGuide.net, Rigid Industries, 105.5 The Hawk, Supercross.com, Wolf Designs, COLDCOCK American Herbal Flavored Whiskey, Muzzys Racing, Vent Racing, Dobeck Performance, HCR Racing, UTV Offroad Magazine, Starting Line Products, Devious Powersports, TMW Off-Road, and many more awesome vendors made this possible. Even in its first year, the UTV Invasion went off smoothly, and trust us- you wont want to miss it next year!
Check back with UTVGuide.net for upcoming features on some of the insane builds that showed up at UTV Invasion- turbo cars, long-travel desert bombers, and even a 200+ horsepower, six-speed widebody XP1K from TMW are included. Photos for the event were provided by Jon Crowley of UTVGuide.net, Danny Adair from Paydirt Media, and Cody Hooper from Redline Marketing and Media.
Rigid Industries Show and Shine
In the Dunes