This campground, RZR, and pop-up were my home for a week during UTV Takeover (photo by the author).
Have you ever had a vacation so fun, and did so much with it, that you needed a vacation from your vacation when you got home? That’s how my last week went.
I know I had fun. I know I worked each day from 8:00 AM to about 11:00 PM from Tuesday to Sunday. I know I met more people than I can remember. I know that I drove my RZR in the dunes A LOT.
The UTV Takeover in Coos Bay, Oregon, was a blast. Whip It Light Rods had a booth on Vendor Row and I was there to document everything on social media (I can’t count how many times I said “Follow us on Instagram and Facebook”). I also flew a big Whip It Light Rod flag off my RZR and went on many group rides and watched lots of events. In all, last week at the Takeover was the most awesome, most draining, and most intense week I have had in a while.
I have worked for Whip It Light Rods for about five months but have never met Don, my boss, the owner of the company. In another example of the weird world we live in, this whole business relationship has been conducted long distance through email, phones, and video conferencing since I live in Idaho and he lives in Wisconsin.
Coos Bay was the first time I was able to meet him, his family, and the other members of the Whip It Light Rod team. My wife and I were thrilled to find they were much like us and we all got along great. In fact, my wife spent a lot of time in the booth selling light rods even though she wasn’t on the payroll!
It was the Wisconsin crew’s first trip to Oregon, so they enjoyed the sun, sand, and weather. I took all of them on their very first trip on the sand dunes in my RZR and I am happy to say I have ruined another group of people with off-roading. Within a few days, Don was taking demo rides from the Polaris booth. If I had to bet, he will have a side-by-side by the next Coos Bay trip.
I grew up in Canyonville, Oregon, and spent many weekends on the Coos Bay sand dunes. I can count on one hand how many great weather weekends I ever had at the coast. This week, for six days, we had sun and perfect weather. The coast fog would come in a little bit in the morning and show up again about nightfall, but the sun was out and the weather was great at all other times.
This weather made for a great time at the UTV Takeover. Everyone, no matter where they were, was having a good time. From the vendor booths, to the racing events, to the beach rides, to the food booths — everyone was smiling.
The group rides were the highlight of our trip. Every day at 10:00 AM and every night at 9:00 PM, UTV Takeover led a ride. During the day, we would stop and see a couple of sights and end up at the beach. One day, the beach was bright and sunny and made for some awesome pictures. The rest of the days it was completely fogged in. However, just 200 yards inland, the sun would be shining.
The night rides were something else. People would fire up their LED light rods, rocks lights, stereos, and go fast between Boxcar and Hauser. I can’t even guesstimate how many rigs were on the night runs. What I do know is it was some of the most fun and most intense driving I have ever done. It was like being caught in a whirlwind and a race. People would come flying by you, blow off valves popping like firecrackers, and others would cut people off at full speed.
At one point during a night ride, Lynette tried to tell me something. I didn’t answer. When we stopped at Hauser and I caught my breath, I had to explain to her that I couldn’t answer — I was using all my bandwidth just to drive and not wreck us. I wasn’t being rude; I just couldn’t do one more thing. It was chaotic enough that all I could do was drive. Talking would have to wait while I worried about driving hard.
Along the way, each night, I would see different UTVs wadded up. As the week went on, I figured out that the first five or six guys really were fast and really could drive. However, after that level, the next 50 cars all thought they were fast and thought they could drive. Those were the scary ones. I stayed in the next level down, and drove my speed and stopped when I wanted to take pictures and videos. I could pass some of them and they could pass me. It was a much better fit for my driving style.
Unfortunately, social media is full this week of videos and pictures of wadded-up UTVs from the week at the dunes who did it wrong. It is pretty easy to get into trouble unless you are paying attention and driving within your limits.
There is something for everyone on these group rides. I can’t wait until next year so I can ignore my wife and completely focus on driving so I don’t end up smashed up on social media.
I spent the majority of my time driving around and taking pictures of the races and events. There were many types of races: sand drags, barrel races, hill climbs, obstacle courses, wheelie competitions, and jump contests. And there was even a monster truck called Titan — who bought some 7 foot LED Whip It Light Rods and flew them during his exhibition run.
The drivers and UTVs were pretty awesome to watch compete. Whether going fast in a straight line or going fast around obstacles, one thing remained constant: Going Fast! Some of these rigs and drivers were sponsored and some of them were just the local speed guys from Coos Bay. Whatever the background, the competitions were intense all week long.
The competition culminated on Saturday with the Huckfest. The premier event attracted the most spectators and did not disappoint. This UTV jump competition even included a 12 year old crashing his UTV and winning instant fan-favorite status.
UTV Takeover is like a cross between a county fair, an off-road event, a rock concert, a Supercross event, and a day at the beach. The food was awesome, the tunes were cranked, the clothes on sale were fire, the people watching was excellent, there were awesome products and companies to support, and there was a ton of money to be spent by all.
Whip It Light Rods enjoyed the opportunity to meet and educate people about our product. We can’t wait until next year at Coos Bay. Sign us up!