By Mike Henle

The KC HiLites sponsored Midnight Special off-road race is again in the books after its journey into the darkness of Southern Nevada July 24-25, and as usual, the Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiast (SNORE) group went home feeling good about themselves – and for good reason.

You see, while off-road racing is difficult to predict and even worse to complete, the KC HiLites sponsored event went to work early and came home late in Jean.

However, that’s nothing new to off-road racers, who show up early and leave late for one of America’s most fascinating motorsports presentations in Southern Nevada.

For the past several years dating back to times when some off-road races were run only in the daylight, the latest Midnight Special updated the world of off-road racing by watching the KC HiLites’ entry into a sport that started as a journey and continued as a example of what people can do when brilliant minds work together.

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By Mike Henle
www.mikehenle.com

Many years ago, the Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts had a good idea as it was related to off-road racing. The group decided to take its off-road race under the lights, thanks to an uncanny and invaluable sponsorship created by SNORE and KC HiLites.

Scheduled this year from July 24-25, the Midnight Special is the result of a conference many years ago. With soaring temperatures during the period of time, it was determined that the race should be run in the evening hours.

With 115 degree weather not uncommon in late July, the old-timers of the sport met at John Herda’s Sawdust Saloon to discuss what could be done with regards to the high temperatures. Thus, a marriage made in heaven was created.

SNORE picked up an excellent sponsor and KC HiLites picked up the best way to sell top-notch lights.

SNORE’s leaders made one phone call -- that’s all, and the rest was history.

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By Mike Henle

Caliente, Nev. -- The Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts returned to Caliente for the SNORE Skull Rush May 29-30.

One of the oldest sanctioned auto racing bodies in the country – and the oldest off-road racing faction in the nation – SNORE once again assembled its troops and headed some 180 miles to the north for yet another flawless efforts that will go down in SNORE history as one of the club’ best-ever-efforts especially when considering the factions that included last-minute adjustments such as environmental challenges that have rocked the world since early March.

Simply put, nobody does it like SNORE when the group of dedicated souls hits the ground running. In fact, with the changes, limited available hospitality and living quarters, SNORE simply seems to shrug off every challenge every year in what has become the greatest group of volunteers every year.

Indeed, the show had to go on no matter what the local or world-wide challenges.

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By Mike Henle

Caliente, Nev. -- The Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts returns to Caliente for the SNORE Skull Rush May 29-30.

With a field of about 100 entries, the Skull Rush 250 is invading a home-away-from-home for the umpteenth time with the continued beauty of an area adored by SNORE’s competitors.

This small town of about 1,000 residents is good for off-road racing and anyone with any kind of business in Caliente welcomes the event with open arms every yearthat is about 180 miles north of Las Vegas.

While so many off-road races take on the desert for annual events, this particular showdown is multi-purpose considering that (a) it’s a small town and (b) the uniqueness of this particular race includes water that drivers must contend with in the mountain terrain along with (c) a fascinating layout on “Oh My God Hill” that requires all vehicles accepting a wild challenge while remembering that this particular challenge especially tests crew members to make sure the brakes on their vehiclesare in save working condition.

Also unique about the race in Caliente is an annual autograph session at the elementary school that is patronized by fans every year. 

To say that the race in Caliente is met with open arms is a definite understatement, whether you’re fascinated by the history of the race or the history related to the town considering that even the hard ware store has been a part of the town for more than four decades.

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By Mike Henle
www.mikehenle.com

By day, Jeremy Walters is the Community Relations Manager for Republic Services in Las Vegas. Since he was a youngster, he’s been riding motorcycles in the desert, and keeping the desert clean is vitally important to the long-time Las Vegan.

Each year for the past four years, Walters and his fellow employees at Republic Services have played a big role in cleaning up the desert by calling for help from the many environmentalists of Southern Nevada to present the fourth annual Mint 400 Desert Clean-Up.

Together, Walters, his friends and fellow competitors will kick off the fourth annual Mint 400 Desert Cleanup presented by Republic Services Feb. 29 in Jean, Nev., scheduled from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. in Jean. The clean-up site is situated near the collection of colorful statues on the east side of northbound Interstate 15.

Walters also explained that the biggest source of trash left in the desert is items left after shooting enthusiasts finish using targets for practice.

The goal of the event is to unite the off-road community and clean up waste dumped illegally in the Jean area, as well as promote sustainable habits and responsible public land use to improve Southern Nevada’s pristine desert landscape.

The Mint 400 Desert Clean-Up event is presented by Republic Services, and held in cooperation with the Southern Nevada BLM Office.

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By Mike Henle
www.mikehenle.com

JEAN, Nev. -- As the motorsports world hit another high recently in Southern Nevada, the 51st Annual PCI Race Radios SNORE 250 presented by Terrible’s rocked this valley about 40 miles south of Las Vegas.

Some 90 entries started the event on a glorious day highlighted by an event that has been part of the Southern Nevada auto racing climate for more than 50 years. In fact, the SNORE 250 once participated on the grounds of what is now a very posh Spanish Trail, where huge custom homes dot the southwest Las Vegas Valley.

The scenery may have changed over the years, but the competition has remained at a very high pitch about 40 miles from where the legendary Fritz Kroyer once captured one of the most memorable off-road racing victories after rolling his car on the first lap.

For those working the I-15 freeway on this weekend, off-roading was glued to the competition making the sport of off-road racing a popular experience in an area that also includes a motorsports Mecca collection of vehicles that make up a fascinating collection of vehicles.

No one has ever accused Southern Nevada of sleeping late, especially when talking about off-road racing, a sport that offers its own collection of special terrain and special people.

Las Vegas is once again at a fever pitch whether you’re talking about NASCAR weekends at Las Vegas Motor Speedway or off-road racing at one of Southern Nevada’s designated course layouts.

While the off-road racing industry is ideally rough and tough, there’s an element of the sport that creates long-term friendships no matter what the class or category. The sport offers never-ending challenges in a sport that remains endless in memories and challenges.

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By Mike Henle

Jean, Nev. -- The Grand Daddy of Southern Nevada off-road racing is set to kick off the 2020 season complete with a strong contingent of competitors in the PCI Race Radios SNORE 250 presented by Terrible’s Road House Feb. 14-16.

The 51st annual SNORE 250 showdown brings together families that have been around since the first SNORE 250 on the grounds of what is now the the Old Spanish Trail in the southwest valley.

Jean provides an interesting environment with many off-road enthusiasts traveling hundreds of miles each year to support SNORE in its efforts to present quality events.

Jean awaits its turn every year while off-road racing remains a kingpin of the sport in Southern Nevada. Jean and SNORE go together like the perfect reunion.

Wherever SNORE carries on the tremendous enthusiasm and top-notch machinery for the SNORE 250, the event also has a full house from one end of the valley to the other. With about 90 entries ready to roar over the desert floor, the latest SNORE battle will again prove to be the perfect venue for a heavy collection of fire-breathing off-road marchinery.

In typical SNORE off-road fashion, a strong field is expected in numerous categories. This year’s series is being sponsored by Patrick’s Signs.

SNORE is also kicking off the year with a new president, native Las Vegan CJ Hutchins, who takes over for former president Kenny Freeman, who will hop back into his Class 1600 entry where he’ll have the time of his life in a rock-solid race.

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By Mike Henle
www.mikehenle.com

Long-time Las Vegan Bob Jensen is among a long list of off-road enthusiasts that recall the days when a hearty group of Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiasts gathered each month at John Herda’s Saloon on South Highland Avenue.

Jensen’s job with SNORE was to drive an old school bus with the timing crew to and from race sites throughout Southern Nevada in the 1960s and 1970s.

A group of off road lovers including Jensen’s wife, Ruthe, and Denny Selleck’s, wife, Wauna, were among those supporters who scored each race during the year.

Jensen was – and still is – renowned for his untold skill of keeping the school bus running throughout the year. Leaving Las Vegas High School – he was drafted out of school in 1942 – had to be a big eye-opener for a teenager headed for the South Pacific and the Philippines and the Battle of GuadalCanal on Solomon Islands that lasted until February of 1943.

While riding his Caterpillar tractor one day, Jensen looked up to see Dwight D. Eisenhower, the five-star general in the Army.

One of Jensen’s biggest disappointments arose when he learned that the American government dumped D-4 Caterpillars over board rather returning them to American soil. During his stay, Jensen was entrenched in riding Caterpillars and dump trucks.

Now 96, Jensen turns 97 in May. He lives in the same single-story house where he and wife, Ruthe, lived for more than 40 years raising four children including daughters Merle, Judy and Sherl along with son, David.

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By Mike Henle
www.mikehenle.com

LAUGHLIN, Nev. -- Veteran SNORE enthusiasts have seen their share of standout fields over the years and the latest gathering at Laughlin was one for the books.

From buggies to trucks and in-between, SNORE’s year-ending Patrick’s Signs/McKenzie’s Rage at the River event especially impressed everyone during the event run Dec. 13-15.

In fact, rumor had it that the gaming executives of Laughlin were already planning for a repeat performance in 2020 complete with more seating; not to mention another record field of entries so big that reading the results might require the help of an executive with Harper and Row.

From the available hotel rooms to the view of the Colorado River and more than 350 race vehicles, the only element missing was aerial views like the ones seen from the seats ofa Collins Brothers helicopters that featured prominent off-road enthusiast and South Point Casino owner Michael Gaughan, whose 44 year-old son, Brendan, lured TV cameras and nationwide publicity when he flipped his NASCAR Sprint Cup car at Talladega SpeedwayOct. 14.

If there is such a thing as gluttons for punishment in the desert, the Rage at the River offered everything from good straight-aways to tight-turns on a 12-mile course that challenged anyone who wanted to experience a little of everything.

Laughlin will never be considered a boring off-road course, and not paying attention to the terrain can lead to quick mechanical failures for the best of drivers.

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By Mike Henle
www.mikehenle.com

LAUGHLIN, Nev., ---Off-road racers have no reason to slow down as the Christmas season continues.  As it has been the case for the past several years, off-road racers will invade this community along the Colorado River with vengeance during the first week of December.

Laughlin has such rich history that its annual return to the area founded by Don Laughlin has become an automatic on the six-race SNORE schedule.

The Patrick’s Signs Championship Series, which started with the PCI Race Radios 50thSNORE 250February 15-16 in Jean, Nevada, will culminate with the McKenzie’s Rage at the RiverDecember 13-15.

In fact, the main brass of the SNORE board of directors has become so confident of the event that this year’s showdown is expected to draw about 300 entries featuring a very fast short course. Not to mention a view from the starting line that is so picturesque that professional photographers seemingly mark the event down on their calendars.

Among the highly regarded competitors is Class 1 charger Joe David, an aggressive member of the off-road racing industry whose father, Tom Koch, won the Mint 400 more than twenty years ago.

The colorful 34 year-old David is the perfect example of a fun-loving personality combined with a lead foot to create what is undoubtedly the ideal combination in a race car driver with arace machine.

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