The Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Rally with Less Traffic and More Scenery
The northwestern Colorado town of Rangely is hosting its third annual ROAR (Rangely OHV Adventure Rally), May 2 - 4. Photo Courtesy: Town of Rangely
In the high desert plateau region of northwestern Colorado sits one of the last areas of the West to be settled: the town of Rangely. It has come to be known by locals and visitors alike as an off-the-beaten-path utopia for outdoor recreation, and its natural topography and relatively remote location make it the ideal place for the ROAR (Rangely OHV Adventure Rally) being held there May 2, 3 and 4.
Now in its third year, the event draws riders from across Colorado and surrounding states to this destination where OHV enthusiasts can ride to their hearts’ content in an atmosphere similar to Moab, without the crowds that area is known to draw.
Off-highway vehicles (OHVs) come in all shapes and sizes. Jeeps, ATVs, trucks, motorcycles and even some SUVs can be considered OHVs. If you want to visit places that are too remote to reach by a regular road, an OHV is the way to go.
And going to those remote places in Rangely is so worth it. Among the area’s thousands of square miles of public land are prehistoric culture sites that range from 500 to 1,000 years old, and it’s also home to a wide variety of wildlife, including pronghorn antelope, coyotes, bobcats, deer, elk and wild horses. Now that your engines are fired up, here’s an itinerary for you to get the most of your ROAR experience.
Day One — Get Registered, Get Settled and Start Riding
If you register now through April 25, the cost is $65 per vehicle, and from April 26 onward it costs $70 per vehicle.
Although you’ll arrive all revved up to ride, the first thing you’ll want to do is get settled in. If you’ve come in an RV or camper, Buck N Bull, Silver Sage, Sun Light and Rangely Camper Park are great places to set up camp. These campgrounds can accommodate trailers, and you can unload your trailer and park a vehicle as well. If you’re looking for more traditional lodging, Blue Mountain Inn & Suites or Moosehead Lodge will have what you’re looking for, and the hotels also have extra parking for trailers.
Once you’re settled in and registered, it’s finally time for Open Riding! The Wagon Wheel West OHV Trails offer more than 360 miles of courses with five interconnecting loops, on public land with trail difficulty levels ranging from beginner to expert.
Day Two — An Expo, a Shrimp Boil and a Night Ride
Friday is when the rally really goes full-throttle, with registration and breakfast at 7 a.m., followed by Trail Riding at 8:30 a.m. Some of the riding courses in the ROAR event are provided by the only designated natural rock-crawling park in the state of Colorado. With more than 560 acres of natural terrain designated by the Bureau of Land Management as a four-wheel-drive park, it’s one of the largest areas in the country to climb.
It’s here that rock-crawling and four-wheel-drive enthusiasts can take on trails with tough names like the Megasaurus, Chain Break, Poison Ivy and Willy’s Way. Trail difficulty levels range from easy to extreme.
At 3 p.m. there will be a Rider’s Meeting to get everyone up to speed on the events scheduled for the remainder of the festival. Another highlight of each year’s event is the OHV Expo, which opens at 7 a.m. both Friday and Saturday. At this expo you’ll find a vendor area full of OHV-related gear, food and local crafts, as well as a raffle for attendees to participate in. Another event going all weekend will be a scavenger hunt that weaves through various local stores to get you out and exploring the town of Rangely while you hunt for the hidden items.
A delicious addition to this year’s rally is a Cajun shrimp boil that will be starting at Elks Park at 3 p.m. Then at 5 p.m. there will be a Night Ride to Kenney Reservoir for a bonfire. Due to the large amount of snow they’ve had in the area this year, it seems likely that fire bans won’t put a damper on the bonfire.
Day Three — Poker Run, Scavenger Hunt and OHV Rodeo
Saturday morning opens up the most event-filled day of the rally. After registration and breakfast at 7 a.m., there’ll be a Poker Run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. to benefit the Rio Blanco County Search & Rescue. The buy-in is $25 with additional cards available for $10, and the maps will have five stops on a course spanning 30 miles. There will be cash prizes ($200 for first place, $100 for second and $50 for third), so it’s a fun way to support a good cause while you’re already out trail riding!
At 6 p.m. there will be a family hotdog/hamburger dinner where riders eat for free, and if you’re a local who’d like to come out and enjoy the evening’s festivities, as little as $20 will feed a family of four. At 6:30 p.m. the fun will continue with a free Hay Scavenger Hunt for the kiddos, where piles of hay loaded with bunches of goodies, money and various other little trinkets for them to find will be dropped on the tracks.
Finally, the rally will culminate with an exciting OHV Rodeo at 7 p.m. where there will be five rodeo events for participants: a hide ride, a barrel race, pole bending and a new soccer ball ride. Be sure to stay afterwards, because following the rodeo they’ll be cranking up the music to have a dance for all attendees to enjoy!