By Mike Henle

CALIENTE, Nev. -- Fifty-five-year-old Fred Hatch and a tightly-knit group of family members have reason to celebrate after the team captured Class 10 and overall titles June 9 in the annual Knotty Pine 250.

A veteran of motorcycle desert racing, Hatch and his team of three pit crew members mounted a lean and mean monumental charge at this venue about 150 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

Hatch, an air conditioning contractor who owns Modern Air Conditioning in Palos Verdes, Calif., has enjoyed the transition to four wheels especially considering that one accident three years ago during a District 37 motorcycle race at Glenn Helen, Calif., left him with 14 broken ribs, a broken shoulder and a punctured lung resulting in two weeks in the intensive care unit of Loma Linda Hospital. “Over the years, I broke a total of 33 bones, and just told myself that once I recovered from the surgery, I was done.”

It was time for a change, according to Hatch.

“At that point, I knew that I simply couldn’t put my family through the agony any longer,” said Hatch. “I came to the reality that I could no longer compete in motorcycle desertracing. I had raced motorcycles for 40 years.”

Knowing full-well that any kind of motorsports can easily become addictive, Hatch went to work looking for other forms of racing with fewer dangers and the idea of off-road racing led him to 30-year friend Randy Wilson, who owned a Class 10 car.

“Randy suggested that I buy his Class 10 car,” said Hatch, who is a father of five. “Ibought it about two years ago and decided this year that I was going to compete in every SNORErace that I could.”

Needless to say, the decision to leave behind the two-wheelers in favor of the four- wheelers provided the perfect fit. Hatch roared into the SNORE series last year turning in excellent performances at the Rage at the River, Ridgecrest and the SNORE 250, where he missed an overall win by only 54 seconds.

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By Mike Henle

CALIENTE -- The Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts – SNORE -- is bringing its annual Knotty Pines 250 off-road race here Friday and Saturday complete with about 120 race cars and competitors in what has become a blockbuster gathering.

From the students of Caliente Elementary to fans and the racers, the railroad town about 150 miles northeast of Las Vegas looks forward to the annual SNORE event for several reasons.

With Las Vegas temperatures expected to soar to about 110 degrees during the weekend, most everyone is looking for a cooler climate and Caliente is expected to be much cooler. 

Then there’s the history of the town complete with old railroad houses and great scenery and a collection of businesses. 

However, Caliente also provides a fascinating collection of challenges for off-road racers ranging from the traditional desert terrain to trees and water to a stretch heading back into town that racers refer to as “Oh My God Hill” that tests the talent of a every off-road competitor in the event.

In the eyes of an off-road racer and his or her co-riders, the Knotty Pine 250 has it all including a bridge that has no walls.  There is no room for what is commonly known as “brain fade” when accepting the challenges affiliated with the Knotty Pine 250.

In addition, SNORE ties a meet and greet session at Caliente Elementary School each year and the students love the interaction with the drivers, according to principal Sharon Dirks, a native Las Vegan who has lived in Mesquite for 16 years.

“The kids really enjoy it,” Dirks said of the meet-and-greet that will be presented from 9-10:30 a.m. Friday.  “They love getting the autographs of the drivers. Our school started ending earlier and the students still go to the meet and greet. SNORE has always been very generous to the kids.”

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Date: January 17, 2018
Time: The meeting starts at 5PM, you don't have to be there at 5 but by 6:30PM to sign up to comment. The comments start at 7PM. You have 3 minutes MAX to get your point across.
Location: Heritage Park Senior Facility, 300 S. Racetrack Road, Henderson, NV.


1. The secretary of the interior Stated on his 1st day of office that there needs to be more access on public lands for recreation and all Plans offered in the RMP restrict public access to public lands.

2. None of the plans have any mitigation plans for loss of public land that was used by OHV recreation.

3. None of the RMP plans have added any OHV open areas or expanded open areas for OHVs . OHV recreation is the fastest growing outdoor recreation and areas need to be set aside now for future use.

4. Changing trails from existing to designated would reduce OHV access and OHV opportunity's and be in conflict with the direction of the secretary of the interior.

5. Reducing OHV opportunity's would put more pressure on other areas and could have a negative impact on areas.

6. OHV recreation is an 11 billion dollar industry and creates jobs. Reducing OHV opportunity's by reducing trails , closing areas and reducing seasons would have an negative economic effect.

7. Solar farms on public lands add to habitat destruction of the desert tortoise and should be built outside of tortoise habitat.

8. Large solar farms add to the island heat effect with a large dark footprint.

9. Solar is much belter suited for roof top installations and is more efficient than massive solar farms miles from the power need.

10. At this time the USFW can not prove that any of the current ACECs have increased wildlife population. Adding more would not be in the public's best interest.

11. With over 85% of Nevada government owned closing off lands for wilderness would be a burden on Nevadans and counter productive.

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By Mike Henle

LAUGHLIN, Nev. -- There was a time here several years ago when employees of the gaming industry would shudder each December because business would decrease dramatically during the Christmas holidays.

However, thanks in part to some hearty souls who refused to give up when the gettin’ got tough, December is a very successful month in Las Vegas and Laughlin.

For the record, the National Finals Rodeo right-sided a miserable time of year in Las Vegas; and the Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiasts turned around a similar challenge in Laughlin along the Colorado River about 100 miles south of Las Vegas.

In a sense, bucking broncos in Las Vegas and ground-pounding high-horsepower off-road cars once again spelled the difference between ho-hum times without a paycheck and happier families with Christmas celebrations in Laughlin.

To borrow an often-used statement, “activity breeds activity” and that’s again what happened in Laughlin where more than 400 off-road cars of various sizes and horsepower ratings rattled the earth and once again kept cash flow figures in the black.

The annual visit to Laughlin Dec. 8-10 started off with qualifying and tech inspection on Friday before two days of solid competition over a 12-mile course west of the city dominated the valley. In typical fashion, the Rage at the River was highlighted by endless action that started early and went on until late in the day. 

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By Mike Henle

LAUGHLIN -- As the story goes in this part of the country, legendary real estate mastermind Don Laughlin saw a gold mine from the air back in the 1960s when he spotted a broken-down fishing village during an airplane ride over the Colorado River.

Located some 100 miles south of Las Vegas, Laughlin purchased the land and turned it into another adult playground that also turned into the home an off-road race each December when the Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiasts bring a record field to town for the annual McKenzie’s Rage at the River to the city.

SNORE’s 2017 Rage at the River is scheduled for Dec. 8-10 and like Don Laughlin many years ago, SNORE found promise in this city by landing its Patrick’s Signs/McKenzie’s Championship Series in this city.

Key to SNORE’s presence is that the group brings with it more than 400 race cars and hundreds of support members who fill hotel rooms and patronize various tourist-oriented venues for several days.  The idea was turned into reality about nine years ago when SNORE officers went hunting for a new home and as luck would have it, the marketing geniuses of Laughlin were looking for more business during what can be a slower time of year.

Indeed, the McKenzie’s Rage at the River is a win-win for all involved.

Historically, the second week in December was the second-slowest time of the year with regards to gaming and occupancy. However, SNORE’s invasion of the city changed those numbers and you won’t find an employee anywhere in Laughlin who isn’t tickled to death since the roar of auto racing equipment equates to more hours for the employees of the city.

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By Mike Henle

The“Weatherman” Memorial PCI Race Radios 48th Annual SNORE250 is in the books after being highlighted Oct. 6-8 in Beatty, Nev., about two hours north of Las Vegas.

Together with significant silt and the rest of the challenges that usually accompany an off-road race, this particular event featured a field of about 63 entries including overall winner Travis Chase, who borrowed a truck to compete in the fifth race of the 2017 Patrick’s Signs/McKenzie’s Championship Series.

Chase, of Glendale, Calif., won the event with a two lap time of 4 hours, 2.25 minutes. A 38-year-old plumbing contractor, Chase said he borrowed the truck from Brian Shaleen, a fellow off-road racer and owner of Fusion Off-Road.

“I have been trying to sell my Class 1 car,” explained Chase, adding that the SNORE 250 marked the first time he had competed in a Trophy Truck (or 6100). “Since I didn’t want to use the Class 1 car, I asked Brian if he’d loan me his 6100 truck and it worked out really well, especially since SNORE had a $2,000 bonus for winning the overall title.”

While Chase agreed that the silt was very thick on a day with no wind, the challenge actually worked out for him.

“The silt actually helped us because we were the first truck off the line and we didn’t see much of the dust until the second lap,” he explained. “The dust was very thick especially without any kind of breeze.”

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By Mike Henle

The Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts will head into Beatty about 90 miles north of Las Vegas for the Bob “Weatherman” Steinberger Memorial 48th annual SNORE 250 Oct. 6-8.

The event signals another stop in the impressive 2017 season bolstered by an excellent six race payday during a campaign that starts each February at the King Shocks Battle at Primm south of Las Vegas.

Joseph David leads the very competitive and ground-shaking Unlimited Class 1 category and considering his history with SNORE’s events, the very active competitor seems to have his race vehicle on Automatic Pilot each time SNORE dives into present another event. The owner of Sierra Auto Recycling in Ridgecrest, Calif., David is big on speed – and that’s exactly what he has going for him in the Class 1 unlimited car.

The son of legendary former Mint 400 and SNORE 250 champion Tom Koch, David is looking forward to competing in the SNORE 250, which got its start back in 1968. 

“My dad gives me great tips,” David said of his father. “I have had a lot of good tips from some good people. I bounce back and forth from Class 1 to Class 10, and I have absolutely found a home in Class 1.

“I have been surrounded by some good people during my racing career.”

David, who won the Motion Tire 300 earlier this year in Ridgecrest, the Caliente 250 and the KC HiLites Midnight Special this year, has also ridden with Las Vegas charger TJ Flores, along with James and Pat Dean.

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By Mike Henle

Jean, Nev. -- Eighteen-year-old Southern Californian Matt Miller is off to a rip-roaring start in the world of off-road racing. Thanks to the many weekends he has spent playing the desert with friends and family for the past several years, he knew he loved the open air of the desert.

The Costa Mesa, Calif., resident, a recent high school graduate from Calvary Chapel High School, will enter the mechanical engineering program in the fall at Cal State-Long Beach, and it’s obvious that he’s on the fast track in off-road racing since he won his first-ever desert race Aug. 5 south of Las Vegas.

Driving a Class 10 entry in the SNORE KC HiLites Midnight Special Miller dove into a race that has been a huge challenge for the past 40-plus years. Started at 8 p.m., the event highlighted the dusk and the darkness that follows provides even more than the typical off-road racing since drivers start the event in the dusk before finishing late at night under the stars of the desert.

With decades-old sponsorship from KC HiLites, the Midnight Special has a little bit of everything and was created by the Southern Nevada Off-Road enthusiasts because the heat of the Nevada desert is way too warm during the summer months.

While the event is a major challenge, it was seemingly a piece of cake for Miller, who teamed with several friends and family members to tame the desert during a debut that might be tantamount to another teenager throwing a shutout in his first-ever major league baseball game.

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By Mike Henle

JEAN, Nev. -- In the old days of SNORE’s continuously-running schedule that dates back to its beginning in 1969, the desert heat was more than a mild challenge. The heartiest of souls can’t handle the desert when daytime temperatures peak at more than 120 degrees from June through September.

So some of the old-timers of SNORE including Denny Selleck, Jon Block, Bob McCachren, Bert Vaughan, Ken Freeman Sr., and Don Dayton swore they were going to find a way to race without having to buck the brutal desert that prompts people to think about going to the beach this time of year.

Surely, there was a way to keep SNORE’s drivers from melting while cruising across the desert at 100 miles an hour. The key was being able to run the race at night, but the ingredient was headlights so that the drivers could see where they were going after the sun disappeared over the mountains to the west.

Selleck, the ultimate showman of off-road pioneers, was a PT Barnum-like entrepreneur whose weekdays were spent working for developers and whose weekends were saved for other outdoor festivities that ranged from fishing to building guzzlers for the Nevada Department of Wildlife and off road racing.

So when it was finally understood that off-road racing could not possible be held in the desert during the summer, Selleck did what all former soldiers do when it’s time to make things happen.

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By Mike Henle

CALIENTE, Nev. – The Southern Nevada Off Road Enthusiasts brought the annual SNORE Knotty Pine 250 here June 10 again and a good old-fashioned shootout occurred.

Thirty-one year-old Joe David won the Overall and Unlimited categories by just 43 seconds over Class 10 charger Justin Davis. David’s victory added to his family’s off-road collection of impressive victories since his dad, Tom Koch, won the legendary Mint 400 in the 1980s.

“I started fifth and passed the first two cars in front of me in the first 20-30 miles,” explained David. “Pat Dean had lower control problems. Then, I passed the other car on mile marker 40 on the third lap.”

In traditional form, the Caliente course was extremely challenging for the field of almost 100 entries. David hadn’t run the event for five years, so the all-new layout was a special challenge for the hard-running competitor.

“It offered everything and reminded me of Mexico,” David continued. “Some of the places on the course were very narrow. I was able to crawl through it without hurting the car and I was really worried wondering if I was going to get caught in a bottleneck. I had to be very careful because you cannot go that fast in the corners.”

With David and Davis running so closely throughout the Knotty Pine 250, there was an unusual communication that enabled David to keep track of his nearest competitor.

“Justin and I both run Checkers, so I could hear his chatter on the radio,” David explained. “I knew he was close to me and running hard. I just tried to keep the same path.”

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