Off-Road culture is about the people. From the racers, to the fans, to the photographers, to the land advocates, to all the volunteers. It really is an amazing community comprised of intelligent, passionate people. The Off-Road Motorsport Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony has grown into a recognition of all those people, not just racers. A few hundred of off-road’s finest packed the Grand Ballroom at the South Point Hotel to gather in celebration and recognition of people who had significantly contributed to the sport and culture of off-road. Hosted by Ryan Arcerio and Emmy Hall, the night was full of fun and great memories.
Off-Road – Andy McMillin
Short Course – Kyle LeDuc
Rock Sports – Erik Miller
Advocate – Todd Ockert
Industry – Charlene Bower
Motorcycle/ATV/UTV – Sara Price
The prestigious Louis Unser “Never Give Up” Award was awarded to Charlie and Linda Engelbart for their tireless contribution to SCORE-International. The award is named in honor of legendary racer Louis Unser. Despite major health challenges, he compiled an impressive list of wins, including nine Pikes Peak Hill Climb titles. Louis’ wife Laverne was on hand to make the presentation in honor of her late husband. The Engelbarts’ join Rod Hall as recipients of this prestigious award.
2016 Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame Inductees were Tracy Valenta, Larry Ragland, Jim Ober, Bud Feldkamp and Don Amador. The night was particularly rewarding for me, as I was given the opportunity to join one of my best friends, Chad Ragland, on stage to induct his father off-road champion, “Lightning” Larry Ragland.. When I look back at the reason I fell in love with off-road racing as a kid, one of the primary reason was the rich characters of our sport. From the chest forward man with a cowboy hat named Walker Evans, to the flashy beach boy zeal smile of Ivan Stewart, it seemed to make off-road larger than life. Larry Ragland however was a humble soft spoken killer. He was they guy who showed up seemingly unnoticed with a smirk of confidence and would quietly creep up and walk away with the win. Not interested in bragging, more focused on performance, Larry Ragland spent his career stacking up incredible performances:
Larry Ragland (five time Baja 1000 winner)
It would be impossible to tell the history of off-road racing without Larry Ragland. Larry stepped off a dirt bike and into a Class 1 unlimited FUNCO built rig, racing into an off-road career that has spanned four decades. Larry and teammate Jim Halford won the 1981 Parker 400 overall followed by wins at the Baja 500 and Mexicali 300.
Larry started his own team in 1982, winning the SCORE Championship in Class 1 in both 1983 and 1984. In 1987, Larry moved to the Chevrolet team in a Class 7 mini truck. From 1986 to 1989, Larry won multiple races including the Class 7 Championship in 1988. In 1990, Larry moved to Class 8 where he won two more championships and his first Baja 1000 overall. 1995 marked the beginning of the Trophy Truck era and Larry was ready. He won four more overall Baja 1000s, including an impressive string of three consecutive victories.
Here is a list of Larry’s wins and significant stats:
1981 1st career race win at Parker 400. (with Jimmy Halford)
1981 1st SCORE Baja 500 win, and 1st SCORE San Felipe 250 win (class and overall). (with Jim Halford)
1982 SCORE Baja 500, winner (class and overall).
1983 Barstow Desert Classic, and SCORE San Felipe 250 winner (class and overall).
1983 SCORE Class 1 championship.
1984 SCORE Baja 500 and Frontier 500 (class and overall).
1984 2nd consecutive SCORE Class 1 championship.
1985 Frontier 500 2nd consecutive win (class and overall).
1986 Mint 400 winner (class and overall).
1987 Riverside Off-Road World Championships (short course) winner.
1988 Parker 400, Mint 400, Nevada 500 and consecutive Riverside Off-Road World Championships (short course) champion (class and overall).
1988 SCORE Class 7 championship.
1989 Barstow Fireworks 250 winner.
1990 Mid-Winter Championships, Phoenix World Championships, and the Parker 400 winner (class and overall).
1991 SCORE Baja 500, Parker 400, SCORE San Felipe 250, Nevada 500, and Gold Coast 300 winner.
1991 1st SCORE Baja 1000 win (class and overall).
1991 SCORE Heavy Metal and SCORE Class 8 championships.
1992 Mint 400 and Nevada 500 winner (class and overall).
1992 2nd consecutive SCORE Heavy Metal and SCORE Class 8 championships.
1993 Gold Coast 300 (class and overall).
1995 San Felipe 250 winner (class and overall).
1995 SCORE Baja 1000 winner (2nd career)(class and overall).
1996 SCORE Baja 1000 winner (3rd career)(2nd straight)(class and overall).
1997 Pikes Peak Rookie of the Year.
1997 SCORE Baja 1000 winner (4th career)(3rd straight)(class and overall).
1998 Atlas Rally and Pikes Peak Super Stock Truck-Hill Climb winner.
1998 Pikes Peak Super Stock Truck winner (class)
1999 Pikes Peak Overall Fastest Vehicle up the Mountain – honors.
1999 Pikes Peak Super Stock Truck-Hill Climb – winner (class)
1999 SCORE Baja 1000 winner (5th career)(class and overall).
2000 SCORE Baja 500 and Parker 400 – winner (class and overall).
2000 Pikes Peak Super Stock Truck-Hill Climb – winner (class and overall) King of the Mountain
2002 SCORE Baja 500 – winner (class).
2005 SCORE Primm 300, BITD Terrible’s Town 250, SNORE Buffalo Bills 400, and BITD Nevada 1000 – winner (class and overall).
2006 BITD Vegas-to-Reno – winner (class and overall).
2006 SCORE Baja 500 – winner (class and overall).
2007 SCORE Baja 500 – winner (class and overall).
2008 SCORE Baja 1000 – 3rd overall with son, Chad Ragland
Don Amador (land use advocate)
Don currently serves as the Western Representative for the Blue Ribbon Coalition and is owner of Quiet Warrior Racing, a recreation consulting company. Don has designed political and legislative strategies on both the state and national level to combat unnecessary restrictions on off-road sports.
He has ridden thousands of miles of roads and trails to better understand the needs of enthusiasts who love motorsports. His mastery of the administrative, legislative and political processes that make this country run is unmatched in the off-road world. Don attends countless meetings, writes official comment letters on hundreds of issues every year, blogs nearly daily on off-road issues and updates, and sets a standard for other land use activists to follow.
Bud Feldkamp (racing pioneer)
To a whole generation of off-road racers, the combination of Dr. Bud Feldkamp and Malcolm Smith represented the pinnacle of the sport in the late 1970’s. In his blue and white Funco SS II (aka The Belray Bullet), Bud Feldkamp not only posted overall wins in two Baja 1000’s, three Baja 500’s and two Mint 400’s, but he also earned two consecutive desert championships, along with two Bilstein Madonna awards.
Since motorcycles were Bud’s first passion and ultimately what brought him to desert racing, it is fitting that he has taken that passion to Glen Helen Raceway where, as president, he has created a world class off-road venue, hosting such events as the AMA U.S. Motocross Nationals, FIM U.S. Grand Prix of Motocross and Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series.
Jim Ober (Trackside Photo)
Trackside Photo pioneered off-road photo journalism, and is where dozens of photographers got their start in the industry. Trackside Photo photographers not only captured great images, they were also taught how to shoot safely and to respect the land. There was a time when photography was something only a few could do, and Trackside Photo was exceptional at capturing dynamic action shots of off-road racing in both the U.S. and Baja.
In the early days of off- road, the only coverage of the sport was in newspapers and magazines. Photos were rare, good ones even more rare. Trackside Photo was awarded SCORE Photographer of the Year a remarkable 17 times. Without Trackside Photo’s photographic record documenting 40 years of off-road, much of the history of the sport would be lost forever.
Tracy Valenta (Racing team innovator)
Tracy Valenta began off-road racing in 1971 and soon his passion for the sport exploded. One of his many significant impacts on the world of off-road motorsports was his promoting a foundation of a Team concept and a professional image for his drivers and as a team owner. Tracy and his Party Ice team were considered the premier off-road racing organization of the 1970s and ‘80s by the media, race promoters as well as by his competitors. He promoted his team to increase publicity to not only put fans in the stands, but to help his competitors as well harvest sponsorships and grow the sport.
Tracy’s team consisted of some of the most talented drivers in off-road racing including legendary Malcom Smith and Bud Feldkamp, Rick and Roger Mears, stunt drivers Bobby Ferro and Kitty O’Neal, rock legend Ted Nugent and motocross superstar Bob Hannah.
Blue Ribbon Coalition Receives ORMHOF Donation for Land Use Advocacy
Each year the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame pledges a portion of the funds received from corporate partnerships to an organization dedicated to Land Use Advocacy. Last year the donation was presented to the American Lands Council. This year ORMHOF is pleased to donate to the Blue Ribbon Coalition.
ORMHOF Chairman Mark McMillin surprised Blue Ribbon Coalition representative Don Amador with the news while he was on stage being recognized as one of the newest members of the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame. Chairman McMillin went one step further, matching the ORMHOF donation with a personal donation. For more information on the Blue Ribbon Coalition, click here.
ORMHOF Presents Inaugural Volunteer Award to Tom Heyl
Tom Heyl is one of many unsung heroes of off-road that ORMHOF is looking forward to recognizing over the coming years. The Volunteer Award came as a complete surprise and a bit of a shock to Tom, who is used to working behind the scenes at ORMHOF with Rod Hall. Congratulations to Tom on receiving this well-deserved recognition, and thank you for all you do for the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Dignitaries from Baja, California Attend Induction Ceremony
Dignitaries from the State of Baja, California were honored guests at the 2016 Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The visit was coordinated by ORMHOF Inductee Nico Saad. Nico is a former Federal and State Director of Tourism for Baja, California. He is also recognized for working with NORRA and SCORE to bring off-road racing to the Baja Peninsula.
The Secretary of Tourism for Baja, Oscar Escobedo, received a warm welcome from the audience. His comments were greeted with a round of applause, when he announced that he and his delegation will do whatever it takes to ensure that off-road racing has a great future in the State of Baja, California.
Other dignitaries in attendance included the incoming Mayor of Ensenada, Marco Novelo; the President of the Ensenada Chambers of Commerce, Marco Coronado; the President of Proturismo, Amador Arteaga; and the President of the Ensenada Development Industrial Program, Octavio Sanchez Ramonetti.
Celebrate the past. Be part of the future. Help support The Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame by joining today!
The Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame was established in 1978 by racing promoter and NORRA founder Ed Pearlman to recognize and honor those individuals and organizations whose lifelong contributions to off-road motorsports have set a standard for others to follow. In 1995, legendary off-road racer Rod Hall began working to find a permanent home for ORMHOF. The Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame display in the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada is the result of Hall’s efforts.
ORMHOF is funded through donations, individual memberships and industry partners, including BFGoodrich, FOX, Glen Helen Raceway, Jackson Motorsports Group, NORRA, Skyjacker, Best in the Desert, Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series, McMillin Racing, South Point Hotel Casino and Spa, Rod Hall Drive, Ultra4 Racing and the National Automobile Museum.
The Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.