18 Aug

SNORE Still Going Strong In Its 47th Year

By Mike Henle

Back in the late 1960s, the Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiasts — otherwise known as SNORE — was born at the Sawdust Saloon on Highland Drive south of Sahara Avenue.

Owned by prominent businessman John Herda, the Sawdust was the perfect venue to launch SNORE, an off-road race group that is still going strong in its 47th year.

Ever since SNORE threw its first green flag, it has hosted some of the sport’s best-known names such as Fritz Kroyer, who won the SNORE 250 before also capturing the legendary Mint 400, and Rob MacCachren, who has won more than 200 championships during his racing career.

MacCachren won the 2009 SNORE points title and earned the top spot in theBaja 1000, the CORR Pro-2, the SCORE International, SODA Off Road Racing, Best in the Desert and three BorgWarner World Championships.

He currently drives the Rockstar Energy Drink Ford Trophy Truck in SCORE events and the Rockstar Energy Drink Pro 2 Unlimited in the Lucas Off Road Racing Series.

A native Las Vegan, MacCachren won the 1600 class of the 2009 Mint 400 and finished seventh overall.

“During that period of his career, Rob was honing his skills in the SNORE series,” SNORE President Kenny Freeman said. “Driving the 1600 car increased his level of intensity and helped him with the rest of his career.”

 

“Man, you’re talking about some wonderful memories,” said 93-year-old Bob Jensen, who raced in SNORE and served as the club’s sergeant at arms. He even drove a very slow former school bus to the races so that it could be used by the timing crew.

“We even had a pair of race cars,” Jensen said. “I ran a Class 1 buggy while my wife, Ruth, raced her car in Powder Puff.”

The Jensens were involved with SNORE for more than 20 years. Part of the club’s duties included repairing guzzlers filled with water for small game. When the guzzlers were vandalized, SNORE’s members always came running to help.

Without missing a beat, SNORE has survived numerous challenges ranging from the collapse of the economy in 2009 and by the federal government as it relates to environmental issues.

Former Mint 400 Race Director KJ Howe has fond memories of SNORE because he employed the group to work tech inspection, mark the 100-mile Mint 400 course and also man checkpoints each spring in the 1970s and 1980s. The Mint 400 is an annual desert off-road race that was created in the late 1960s to promote the downtown Mint Hotel.

The desert race was discontinued in 1989, a year after the Mint Hotel was sold. It was resurrected in 2008 by longtime sponsor General Tire with help from SNORE.

“I can honestly say that SNORE has always been one of the most dedicated groups of people in Southern Nevada,” said Howe, 77. “They were so vitally important to the existence of the Mint 400. Without SNORE, we would not have been as successful as the race turned out to be.”

Kids have grown into adults during SNORE’s tenure, first working as crew members and then getting their own race vehicles.

Freeman’s parents, Ken Sr. and Marian, were involved with SNORE dating back to the early days.

“I was about 13 years old when I got involved with SNORE,” Freeman said. “I started racing when I was 14 when someone sold me a car for two bucks. The car broke every time and we broke more than we finished, but we sure had fun.”

Early members of the club have also included a long list of prominent citizens including Walt Lott, who would go on to form High Desert Racing; Bert Vaughan, who went on to head Silver Dust Racing Association; and MacCachren’s father, Bob, who owns Nevada Off Road Buggy.

Through the club’s ups and downs, SNORE continues to embrace off-road racing. The KC HiLites Midnight Special was held this past weekend in Jean. However, while races used to be held solely in Clark County, events have expanded to Ridgecrest, California, for the Motion Tire 300; Caliente, about 170 miles northeast of Las Vegas in Lincoln County, for the Driven Experiences 250; and the PCI Race Radios SNORE 250 in Lucerne Valley, California.

In addition, the King Shocks Battle at Primm is presented each February and the McKenzie’s Rage at the River will be held Dec. 9-11 in Laughlin.

Bill Shapley, who turns 60 on Aug. 15, has been the club’s race steward and tech director for about 18 years.

“The reason I work with SNORE is that I have been doing it for most of my life,” Shapley said. “I have tried to give the job away to someone else, and nobody else wants it. I’d like to go to a race once and sit in my lounge chair. I love the sport and I don’t want to see it decline.

“It’s a volunteer group where nobody gets paid. We all do this because we love the sport and what SNORE has become.”

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