High turn out at Winter on the Rocks

HURRICANE – Off-road enthusiasts gathered to traverse rocky terrain and promote public land use awareness at the 2012 Winter on the Rocks off-roading event Friday and Saturday.

Winter on the Rocks commenced on the morning of Friday, with a brief speech from Hurricane Mayor Tom Hirschi. He encouraged participants to help protect the natural beauty and unique wildlife of the area.

Following the mayor’s words, the group of 4×4 riders set off, battling the uncooperative climate as they went.

“The wind was terrible the first day,” said Del Carter of the Utah 4×4 Club. “We had a Friday night ride, and only half the people showed up. Nobody wanted to get sandblasted.”

However, conditions improved on the second day of the rock crawl.

Rollovers occurred, but the crews were able to right their rigs with the help of others and no injuries were reported.

During a celebratory dinner Saturday night Sergeant Robert Dodge, a U.S. Army recruiting officer, was awarded a special plaque for the off-roader who had collected the most garbage.

The award was presented by Matt Westrich of the Utah 4 Wheel Drive Association.

Also attending were Alan Gardner of the Washington County Commissioner’s Office and representatives from the non-profit organizations supported by the event, including Del Albright of the BlueRibbon Coalition and Mike Swenson of the Utah Shared Access Alliance.

“We want to thank all our sponsors and the organizations that supported us,” said Kelly Jensen, marketing director for Utah 4×4. “Without them, we wouldn’t even have an event.”

Carter added: “We have a beautiful area out here that we’re fortunate enough to ride on and it’s our responsibility to be stewards of the land. I tell people they need to get involved, whether it’s through BlueRibbon, USA-All, or any organization. We have to preserve these trails so future generations can enjoy them as we are.”

Though the final numbers are still being tallied, 231 vehicles carrying over 400 drivers and passengers were registered, an improvement from last year’s 156 vehicles and 300 persons.

Copyright 2012 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.

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