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This UTV event was certainly an adventure! With 100 UTV's and 200 people in participation, this first annual event was nothing short of amazing. Thank goodness for all the wonderful guides on this event or we could have been abducted for sure!
Themed after the true events of November 1975 where a local to the Heber area, named Travis Walton, was abducted for 5 days. He and five other crew members were completing a thinning project for the Forest Service on the Mogollon Rim when he mysteriously went missing. Later he was found at a phone booth that still stands there today. He recalls his experience in a book called "Fire in the Sky" and also in a movie by Paramount Pictures.
The theme boasted fun and shenanigans with aliens on board and hidden footprints along the "Abduction Alley run". When you stop along the "Chewbacca Cruise Trail" at the Gentry lookout tower, you can see first hand the remnants left from the largest fire in Arizona history. This fire was the infamous Rodeo-Chedski fire. The "Predator Pass" ride is a faster paced ride on an old race track called the Snowflake 100. This ride included rock crawling, hill climbs, and a stop at the Wild Woman Saloon and Grill in Overgaard. The "Alien Express" ride encompassed a peaceful view of Chevlon Lake. If you paid close attention you could see wild horses along any of these rides. So much to see, never a dull moment!
After the days ride were over, everyone met back at the Tall Timbers County Park in Heber for the family events. These events included a corn-hole tournament, raffles, and an auction that raised $1,800.00 to benefit the Phoenix Children's Hospital. Last but not least was the Ms. UTV contest with entrants of all ages joining in on the fun.
In this newly found world of social distancing, what a better way to get out and see the beautiful scenery of Eastern Arizona. You could still enjoy the company of family and friends from your UTV. There were UTV drivers ranging from new drivers to well experienced ones. Everyone learned how to have a close encounter in the outdoors with a great off-roading crew, AZOP leading the way.
Many special thanks to: The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, Heber-Overgaard Chamber of Commerce, Star Performance, Reality Providers, AZOP staff, and all the volunteers. These events would not be possible without all of the amazing sponsors. We hope to see you all at the next UTV event, the White Mountain UTV Jamboree! Visit whitemountainutvjamboree.com for details and information.