High Mountain ATV Jamboree

Wallace, Idaho

Aug. 01, 2004 By Pattie Waters
It's a rare thing for us to have a weekend without some off-road event or another, so when we saw a strange whiteness to the company calendar, we made last minute plans, packed a trailer full of ATVs and all the camping gear a crew could need, and headed North - to the little mining town of Wallace Idaho, for their High Mountain ATV Jamboree.

Wallace was carved out of the valley just east of Couer d'Alene, Washington (WAY up there in the Northeast corner of the State)), by miners in search of silver, lead, zinc and gold. The profits from the ore they mined out of the mountains built Spokane, and quite a few millionaires on the way. Many of the mines remain in varying states of preservation or near collapse, but it is still easy to imagine what life must have been like in the narrow twisting canyons and steep mountain sides. You won't find many wide open meadows and rolling hills - be prepared for miles of riding, most likely on long dusty, winding roads and steep trails.

Participants in the Jamboree will find the streets of the town thrown wide-open to them on this weekend, with riding allowed right from any of the hotels or campgrounds into downtown. The Chamber of Commerce and local merchants are certainly glad to see you, and the tourism bucks you bring with you. There is a fairly new Best Western, a couple great local Motels like Molly B'Damn (gotta love that name!), a small RV park with hook ups, and even dry camping temporarily allowed by the local high school football field during the Jamboree.

The dry camping in past years has been packed with tents and full early, however, we found only two other small groups there when we arrived Wednesday afternoon, and no others came in after us. You are on a grassy/gravel parking lot, basically right next to the freeway, but the view straight up the hills on both sides is awesome, and you do have access to the high school locker rooms for showers and bathrooms, so it's a pretty good option. No reservations needed and it's free, so it was perfect for our last-minute plan. We'll take the Best Western next time though, and hope for a little more quiet and some air conditioning...

Wednesday evening we met our hosts for the weekend, the High Mountain ATV club. We had scrambled our last-minute plans with Ron Hood, the Club Vice President & Acting President. He pointed us to optimum photo spots to view the parade, and made sure we'd know where to find the pizza, beer, Kareoke and Smokey Bear's birthday cake afterwards.

Though the trail rides start on Monday, historic downtown Wallace kicks the weekend festivities off with an ATV parade through town on Wednesday evening. It's a first chance to see and be seen, meet up with old friends from previous years and make some new friends.

Thursday brought an early start and leisurely trail ride up 9 Mile Canyon, overlooking Burke Canyon. We saw the Tamarack Mine, actively worked until the 1940's; the Star Mine, with a main shaft claimed to be over 7,000 feet deep; Glidden Lake, where the mosquitos ate us so savagely that lunch was postponed and moved quickly up the hill; and the peak of Cooper Pass, at 5,802 feet, you are looking right at the head of Prospect Creek on the Montana-side of the border. A loop over and back down, and your day was complete. About 5 hours of riding, just over 60 miles. All easy riding for our Bombardier Outlander Max and new Suzuki Vinson 500 - though much was on roads very thick with dust, so our group rode fairly spread out.

Your guide for Glidden (and a trailer-out ride on Monday, Pinecrest Lodge on Tuesday, Gold Mine on Wednesday...) was Earl Castleberry. After open heart surgery set him up with a pacemaker in 1994, he certainly has set a blistering pace of his own. His 1994 Honda Rancher has over 6,000 miles on it. Another vote for Open Access via Motorized Recreation!

It was back in camp in plenty of time to take a shower (the first of many!), throw a steak on the grill and relax.

After a hearty breakfast of pancakes, eggs & sausage at the Elks Lodge, Friday offers shorter trail rides on your own and the excitement of the MadMan. Through the years at the Jamboree, the MadMan had certainly earned it's name - it demanded fast riding, over very challenging trails; some years it was timed, some years it was by map checkpoints only, without a guide. The record of injured riders and broken quads had called the ride off several years, and it was up in the air if it would even happen in 2004. Who would lead it? Would anyone ride it, after 5 days of previous trail rides already wearing them out? Lucky for the hard-core members of Team ORC and about six other willing participants, ride leaders volunteered with just hours to spare.

They hit the trail Friday morning, fast and early. We'd love to show you pictures, but we had camera technical difficulties. We even plotted it on GPS, then came home to test new upload software and lost the data. But trust us - it was fast, challenging, at times quite steep, but an all-out blast. Not for the novice or faint-of-heart, but it offers a ride worthy of an adventurer. We say, "Bring it back in 2005!"

The only clock the MadMan is up against is to get all riders back in town by 3 pm, in time for the first day of Jamboree Rodeo Events. The Rodeo is a huge part of the fun of the Jamboree each year. In fact, while there were 106 registrants for the Jamboree rides, there were more than 50 additional locals that come out to particpate in just the Rodeo events. Participants purchase tickets, and each recorded run at an event costs one ticket. You can drag race your friend for free as many times as you want, but if you want it on the clock and counted toward an event trophy, it will cost you a ticket. Same with the mud bog - you're welcome to race on in there and get yourself stuck, but give the lady a ticket first - or they're not going to measure it, and then all you have to show for your efforts is a tire off the bead and some really muddy shoes.

To keep the competition as fair as possible, all four events had plenty of categories, including PeeWee, Junior, Teen, and a whole host of adult-sized divisions.

First place Junior in the Sled Pull event was LJ Elliott. Tim Vagt braved the mud pit and earned a 2nd place in the Teen division.
Robert Fields took 2nd place for Over 500cc 2WD in the drag race competition. Barrel Racing Teen Division was won by Team ORC's Jammin' Justin. Other YFZ's spanked several divisions in the drag event as well.

After the Rodeo events wrapped up for the day, there was time to head up town for dinner or back to camp to whip up something on your own. Rodeo events started up again Saturday morning, with the faster-paced drag racing and barrel racing events. Dust was flying! It's all for fun, but after the steak feed and awards Saturday night, winners did go home with some really nice trophies - and bragging rights until next year.

Click here for a full list of the Trophy Winners

Wherever ATVers gather in larger number, you can be sure the Media is not far behind. This year's Jamboree caught the attention of ATV Magazine Television, and the crew was all over the event most of the week. They did some fly fishing, checked out the "Roll a Home" from local El Shaddai Manufacturing (our Suzuki Vinson test vehicle provided the power to make that home roll), and shot considerable footage of the rodeo events. Watch the show schedule for OLN probably just after the first of the year to catch yourself on TV - just in time to sign up for the 2005 Jamboree.

Dates, rides and rates for next year have not yet been announced (though it is generally the third week in July), so keep watching the High Mountain ATV Association web site. Though small compared to some of the Hatfield-McCoy or Rocky Mountain Jamboree events, we would certainly put this one on the "Must Attend" list. The enthusiasm and welcome you'll find are second-to-none.

Can't wait until next July for your Jamboree fun? Peak Season is June-September so you've missed some of the best this year, but here are some others upcoming - if you're lucky, there's one in your area of the world. If not, we suggest a road trip!
Outlaw Grass Drags Princeton MN August 28-29
United States ATV Jamboree Greeneville TN September 3 - 5
Arapeen ATV Jamboree Ferron UT September 6 - 10
Arizona Outlaw ATV Trail Eagar/Springerville AZ September 8 - 11
Rocky Mountain ATV Jamboree Richfield UT September 13 - 18
ATV Historical Color Tour Buena Vista CO September 22 - 25
San Juan Safari Blanding UT September 23 - 25
Fall Jam 2004 Ontario, Canada October 1 - 3
Hatfield-McCoy Trailfest Gilbert WV October 7 - 11

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