HOME OF BEST IN THE DESERT’S PARKER “425” AND STEEPED IN HISTORY, PARKER ARIZONA HAS BEEN A CENTER OF RACING FOR OVER 100 YEARS.
2016 marks the 45th year that the city of Parker, Arizona, has hosted an off-road race from the banks of the Colorado River. It’s been a yearly tradition that has grown into a legend. Today, “The Legend Lives On” thanks to Best in the Desert’s BlueWater Resort & Casino Parker “425” Presented by Impact. But the real history of off-road racing in Parker Arizona started over 100 years ago.
In 1911, one of Parker’s leading pioneers, Joe Bush, staged a race from Parker to Wenden to promote his Colorado River ferry service. Bush won the race, primarily because he was the only one with a car.
In 1916, a cross-country road race from Los Angeles to the Arizona State Fair, included a stopover in Parker. The drivers stayed at Joe and Nellie Bush’s Grandview Hotel. Participating in the desert road rally were Billy Hutt; Louis Chevrolet; Harold Bell Wright; Barney Oldfield and Ralph Hamlin. Joe Bush accompanied the group as far as Wenden and was ahead of the field after approximately 80 miles.
Today, Best in the Desert’s Downtown Parker Experience brings thousands of locals and racers to downtown Parker to witness the latest in 800 HP Trick Trucks. We think Louis Chevrolet and Barney Oldfield would be proud!
The first three off-road events staged in the Parker area were sanctioned by the National Off-Road Racing Association (NORRA) and called the Parker Dam 500 starting in 1971. The race, which started from the BlueWater Marina, followed a 500-mile course through the Arizona and California deserts. Over the years, several organizations have run off-road races here, In 2003, Best In The Desert took over the race. With the major sponsorship coming from the BlueWater Resort & Casino, the Best In The Desert’s Parker “425” brought back the big names in off-road racing. They said “it will be like the good ‘old days!” Best in The Desert promotes the event as “The Legend Lives On” and that is exactly what they have done, keeping the race alive and making it bigger and better every year. The first year Best In The Desert promoted the event they paraded a line-up of legends that you could only dream of ever seeing in one place. Together again were the race legends Walker Evans, Rod Hall, Ivan Stewart, Manny Esquerra, Parnelli Jones, Spencer Low and K.J. Howe. Not only did the legends make an appearance but many of them brought their vintage race vehicles and put them on display in front of the Blue Water Resort & Casino. Best In The Desert has also created the “Parker Python”, a section of jumps at the Main Pit with an expanded spectator area. Racers are allowed to camp at the Main Pit and it creates a great community area for the racers and their support
The Town of Parker has opened its arms to Casey Folks and his Best In The Desert Racing Association along with all of the great off-road racers and race enthusiasts. The Bluewater Resort & Casino Parker “425”presented by Impact is a legend that will live on for as long as people want to test their skills against the elements of the beautiful and challenging Arizona desert.
Thanks to the Parker Pioneer Newspaper and the Beaver family for helping with historical data and images.
The 2016 running of the Best in the Desert BlueWater Resort & Casino Parker “425” presented by Impact runs from February 4-7, 2016.
Follow the action of the Lucas Oil Production Studios broadcasts of Best In The Desert events on the NBC Sports Network and MAVTV.
2016 Best In The Desert official sponsors: Ford Motor Company – official truck, General Tire – official tire, Lucas – official oil, Sunoco Racing Fuels – official fuel, KC HiLiTES – official light, Polaris RZR – official UTV, Beta Motorcycles – official motorcycle, Fabtech – official Suspension, Rugged Radios – official communications, 212 Performance Gloves – official gloves, Method Race Wheels, McKenzies, Kartek, Sportsman Cycle Sales, Slime, Azunia Tequila, Fall Advertising and Prerunner Maniac.