W.E. Rock presented by Maxxis
Last weekend, we kicked off the W.E. Rock season in Bagdad, Arizona. A little company town we respectfully call the largest cul de sac in Arizona. One road leads in, the same road leads back out. All the property is owned by Freeport-McMoran, Inc. FMI is a great host! They not only help us by providing the property for us to put on this event, but they make sure we have everything we need.
2020 is the third year we have been making the trip to Bagdad, we’ve been in the area for years, previously residing in Congress at Thompson Ranch. When the matriarch of the family, Gayle Thompson, passed away from cancer at the end of 2017, the family decided they were done hosting events. We understood, but it made us sad to leave Jim and the land that was so beautiful.
Aaron Armstrong, electrical supervisor at the FMI-Bagdad facility, contacted us in January 2018, after hearing we were looking for a new location. He and his friends cleared some brush, and we were in business less than six weeks later. The next year they built a new road. This year they finished the road and cleared three football field size areas for us to park.
2600 people descended on this little town that houses 800 on a good day. We filled every available space for parking and camping. In places, we were five deep on Saturday. The spectator turnout was spectacular. Apparently, we aren’t the best-kept secret in town. There was a lot of guerilla marketing going on. From the parade at Gold Rush Days in Wickenburg to Off-Road Night at Costa Vida in Glendale, everyone was talking about the rock crawl before the event and after the fact, even more so.
Congratulations to the winners in all the classes of the Fly-N-Hi Performance Center W.E. Rock Western Round One presented by Maxxis: Cody Waggoner and Randall Davis in the Lasernut “Pretty Penny” in the Unlimited Class. Craig Allen and Nate “Chickenwing” Reed in their final win in the JuicyWhip ProMod car. Nick Melby and Tyler Harper won Sportsman A, Nic is a first time competitor. Uriel Varela and James Pierce captured the championship in the newly formed Sportsman B class, and the perennial favorites, Nate Hurst and Ryan Maxfield drove the 2410 to the top of the podium in Sportsman C. Mike Welch and Eric Welch won the UTV class, and five-year-old Jax Bernal took the Mini-Buggy division.
Jason Childs and Jill Justice didn’t leave Paradise, California, until Friday morning, after working non-stop to get the car running. The weekend before, they found an engine needed rebuilt and got to work. Filling in hours after their day jobs, it was finally rolling and good to go. They arrived on Saturday a bit after noon and jumped right in. Most of the Unlimiteds had already finished, so they had no time to watch or walk the courses. They grabbed a map and went to work. They ended the weekend in 4th place.
National champion, Jesse Haines and his spotter Chris Poblano arrived with a brand new car. Not unusual for Jesse, as he seems to build new every year. They got through their first course with a decent score, and then she failed. The car refused to start from that point forward. Finally, getting towed back to the trailer, Jesse discovered an electrical gremlin that couldn’t be trail-fixed. He valiantly offered to help on Sunday morning instead of compete, that’s a true sportsman right there.
Team Boober, Justin Anderson from Delta, Utah, is one of our favorites. He made the trip with family and connected with his spotter, Eric Ogburn, part of A Little Off Racing and imploded on gate three of the first obstacle of the day. The entire front wheel assembly got jammed and broke off under a rock. You’d think that would ruin your day, Boober just got the truck off the course and continued to smile through the weekend.
It was fitting to see Craig and Nate at the top of the podium for the ProMod class. The car had a potential buyer coming into the weekend; we saw the post on the following Tuesday with the new owner driving away with it.
The UTV’s were on the same challenging courses as the other Sportsman classes. Joe Whitcomb, with his spotter, Travis Leach, thought they’d test the rollcage. Three full revolutions as he barrel-rolled down the mountain to land on his side.
Not to be outdone, Cody Waggoner went into the shoot-out in second place, 8 points behind Justin Keilman. After having scooted through bonus gates 1 and 2, he did regular gate 3 and then set up for the down bonus number 4. Randall had connected the spotter-strap to slow him down on the descent, at one point it got too steep, as Cody started to tumble, Randall threw off the spotter-strap, the car rolled right off the side of the mountain and landed square on its’ wheels. Cody quickly threw it in to reverse and made for the finish gates. He won by 3 points.
All-in-all, there were 52 competitors, the most we’ve seen at a W.E. Rock event in years. 39 in the Sportsman classes, that bodes well for the continued growth of the sport. Looking forward to being back in Bagdad in 2021.
About W.E.ROCK Events, LLC.
W.E.ROCK Events, LLC. based in Blackfoot, Idaho, sanctions, promotes, and hosts specialty off road events, including the W.E.ROCK World Extreme Rock Crawling Championships, Dirt Riot Endurance Racing and numerous international sanctions. Attracting thousands of spectators to each event, W.E.ROCK reaches a broad demographic of off-road enthusiasts and casual motorsports fans. Rock sports has grown by giant leaps in the last decade and is now host to over 300 registered national-level competition teams. Major competition supporters and partners include MAXXIS Tires. With the off road industry exceeding 6 billion in sales annually, the sport of rockcrawling and rock racing leads the way in print media and advertising for the sport’s major publications. For more information, visit www.werocklive.com