Annual two-person ride grows to 150 participants
What started out as a two-person annual ride for a future AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer and his mentor has grown into one of the top trail-riding events in the United States.
The Motion Pro Nevada 200 Trailride takes place annually in the small town of Caliente, Nev., and attendees get to enjoy some of the most scenic and technical trail riding in the nation, while supporting the Caliente community.
The event, started by Hall of Famer Scot Harden and his mentor Casey Folks in 1985, is now organized each year by Harden, with Casey’s son, Daryl Folks.
The 2020 edition of the event, sanctioned by the AMA, takes place April 17-19. Each day features riding a small portion of the thousands of miles on mostly single-track and Jeep trails in the region.
The Motion Pro Nevada 200 Trailride website says the event has brought an estimated $500,000 into Caliente’s economy and has raised more than $50,000 for the community.
Scot Harden took a few minutes to tell us about the history of the event and what participants can expect at the 2020 Nevada 200.
American Motorcyclist Association: Tell us about how you and Casey Folks got this started.
Scot Harden: Casey and I were lifelong riding partners, business associates and friends. He brought me under his wing as a teenager and taught me the ropes of off-road racing. My first desert racing support ride was through his shop in my hometown of Las Vegas, Sportsman Cycle. In 1982, I moved from Las Vegas to Southern California to start my career in the motorcycle industry, [and] it was my first time living away from my Las Vegas home. I missed the racing and weekend rides we used to do together. In 1985, I suggested we set a date to get together to ride in our favorite area in the remote mountains northeast of Las Vegas, near the rural town of Caliente. Because we both had very busy schedules—and to make sure we remained committed to the dates—we invited a few friends. That way, neither one of us could back out.
AMA: Tell us how the event has grown.
SH: At the first Nevada 200 we had about 20 friends join us. It was a two-day “follow the leader style” event, 100 miles each day…. It was such a hit with everyone that word of mouth spread and when it came time for the 1986 event almost 35 friends showed up and it grew from there.
By 1987 we were attracting almost 75 riders…. We discussed this and decided to go through the extra work because so many riders enjoyed it. By the 10th Anniversary we expanded the event from a two day to a three-day event and more than 125 riders showed up…. Over the last three years we are averaging right around 150 riders. Until recently it was invitational only. It’s only been in the last two years we have opened it up to the general public.
AMA: What are some of the charitable causes the Nevada 200 supports?
SH: For the first 15 years, [the event] donated a portion of the entry fees to the Town of Caliente where it was used to make improvements to the local parks. Later, we spread the money around to the Volunteer Fire Department, the high school sports program and the local senior center. In addition to well over $50,000 in donations, we have also had an economic impact of well over $650,000 over the 35 years we have held the event in Caliente and other establishments in Lincoln County, Nevada. This includes direct economic impact from the event and return visits from riders who discover the area from participating in the Nevada 200. It has been covered by every major off-road publication.
AMA: How many riders participated in the Nevada 200 in 2019? How many are you expecting for 2020?
SH: 150 riders last year, and it looks like we may have a few more this year.
AMA: What goes on at the event?
SH: The Nevada 200 Trailride features three days of trail riding, featuring a lot of single track in the high desert and mountains. We ride from 4,700 feet up to 7,800 feet in juniper pine and cedar trees. We have a welcome party at the conclusion of the Friday ride and a country breakfast Saturday morning at the local VFW Post, followed by a 100-mile ride, with a catered lunch served along the route.
We also offer a Poker Run on Saturday, where the winner wins back his/her entry fee and second and third place take home money, as well. Saturday evening, we host our world famous Easter egg hunt, followed by a cocktail reception, barbecue dinner and our world famous Whistle Dick Awards. Sunday morning, we have a 45-mile ride, followed by a brunch. The Nevada 200 is about fun and fellowship off-road.
AMA: What made you decide sanction the event with the AMA?
SH: We want to support the AMA and the great work it is doing to preserve our sport. We also wanted to take advantage of the great insurance rates the AMA has. We hope we can increase membership through our efforts.
AMA: What else would you like to get across?
SH: We have riders from all over the western United States and even back east attend the event each year. We have AMA Hall Of Famers like myself, Jack Johnson and Ty Davis ride, as well as families and weekend warriors. Women riders have become an ever-increasing segment of the ride, as have families. In fact, we have several families that attend each year and ride it together. Off-road legend Max Switzer has ridden 33 of the 36 years and still comes out and rides at the front of the pack at 80 years of age.
The Motion Pro Nevada 200 Trailride receives tremendous support from the motorcycle industry with KLIM, Beta USA, Rocky Mountain ATV/MC, Seat Concepts, 100%, Best In The Desert and of course, Motion Pro supporting the event. Each company has representatives and product on hand to support the riders and make sure everyone has a good time.
For more information and to signup for this year’s Nevada 200 Trailride, visit: harden-offroad.com/nevada-200-trailride. Or contact Scot Harden at email@example.com. Entries remain open until April 7.